For over a decade, artists from around the world made a pilgrimage to the mecca of urban art called 5 Pointz in Long Island City, Queens, NY. This was the Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory of fine graffiti and street art, a warehouse of pure imagination where so many artists have contributed their creativity for over a decade. There was no place like it..a one of a kind outdoor museum that tourists from all corners of the globe came to see.
“5 Pointz Aerosol Art Center, Inc. is an outdoor art exhibit space considered to be the world’s premiere “graffiti Mecca”, where aerosol artists from around the globe paint colorful pieces on the walls of a 200,000 square foot factory building.
The name 5 Pointz signifies the five boroughs coming together as one but because of its reputation as an epicenter of the graffiti scene, the industrial complex has actually united aerosol artists from across the world. Legendary writers from Canada, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Japan, Brazil and all over the United States have painted on the buildings walls, including Stay High 149, Tracy 168, Cope2, Part and Tats Cru.
Over the past decade, the striking, graffiti covered warehouse has attracted several hip-hop and R & B stars, including Doug E. Fresh, Kurtis Blow, Grandmaster Kaz, Mobb Deep, Rahzel, DJ JS-1, Boot Camp Clik, Joan Jett and Joss Stone. On any given day, 5 Pointz visitors can expect to find prominent artists, musicians, deejays, Emcees (rappers) and B-boys (break dancers) on site, in addition to filmmakers, photographers and entire tour buses full of admirers soaking in the more than 350 Technicolor murals.” — From the 5Ptz.com site
Meres One, who is the founder, organizer and curator wanted 5 Pointz to be for all artists who share the passion and love for graffiti and art in general. I understand that the owner and his son want to build on the property they own, but could there have been another way? And why couldn’t the murals stay up until demolition? Instead, they callously painted over the art in the middle of the night. Even the rooftop murals, where there is no public access to, got ‘buffed out’. No longer can the people learn and gaze on a unique cultural experience not offered anywhere else.
I am personally proud and honored to be one of the alumni of artists to paint there. To all of the people who have gone there over the years and saw why it was special, well, consider yourself fortunate. For those who had not made it, unfortunately, 5 Pointz is now relegated to photographs and digital history. The white washing is just a prelude to the wrecking ball and bulldozers that are about to overrun our sacred lair. This is an end of an era and similar to the metallic MTA trains that ended the subway art era almost 25 years ago.
Thank you Jonathan ‘Meres One’ Cohen for all that you have given to us and to the world. Thank you and your right hand, Marie Flageul, for your tireless efforts to help maintain the day to day operations that kept 5 Pointz the urban art oasis of our great city, lush with color and life. Thank you 5 Pointz for being the amusement park of beautiful art and letting us go for free on the visual rides that gave all of us a ‘roller coaster’ of imagery and connections between the art and the viewer. Sadly, this ride is over and I bid a bitter farewell to 5 Pointz…the museum is now a mausoleum.