Called the Mecca of graffiti art by many, 5 Pointz (not to be confused with Five Points) is an old warehouse in Long Island City where the outside of the building is painted from top to bottom in graffiti art. With many of the NYC boroughs gentrifying, the landlord, with the blessing of the City Council suits, decided it was time make some money and put up a couple of condos so the factory will be torn down in the very near future. This is a piece of art history that you must see it before it is gone.
The history of when and how the building began attracting aerosol artists is a little murky. In the 19th century, the block-long industrial building housed the Neptune Meter Company. In 1992, a local man started a program called Graffiti Terminators to discourage artists from vandalizing buildings in the area. It later became more artist-focused and changed its name to the Phun Phactory. A deal was made with the building’s landlord to legally use the outside of the building as a revolving canvas for the artists. The building also rented out spaces inside as studios for all kinds of artists until the condition of the building became unsafe.
It’s now called the 5 Pointz Aerosol Art Center and is curated by veteran graffiti artist, Jonathan Cohen (known by his tag, Meres One). Artists from all over the world have come to paint on these famous walls and many more come to see it. Cohen tried to save the outdoor art gallery as a landmark but I guess you can’t fight City Hall. It is tragic but New York City has always been about change.
I was lucky to catch what was likely to be the final season party, which featured a breakdancing battle with crews from all five boroughs competing.