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Court battle looms for owners of former Queens graffiti mecca 5 Pointz

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CeFaan Kim speaks to one of the artists and the owner.

For 7 train riders, 5 Pointz, the mecca of graffiti art in Queens might as well have been a stop in the area.

"It was the only legal outlet that allowed everybody to paint," said graffiti artist Meres One.

Meres One is the artist who ran 5 Pointz, but the warehouse came down in 2013 to make way for two luxury towers.


"We've always been transparent about what we were going to do with the property," said David Wolkoff, 5 Pointz owner.

The Wolkoff family has owned the property for more than 40 years, and for two decades they allowed artists to paint on the building.

"I was very appreciative to have that canvas," Meres One said.

The Wolkoffs embraced the art and the artists.

"It's meant a lot to our family. It means a lot to the area and it means a lot to New York," said Wolkoff. "We gave a lot of artists free unadulterated ways to express themselves."

But when demolition got underway, things went south.

"I guess you'd say if you had a relationship and you loved the girl for all those years, but she cheated on you in the end," Meres One said.

But today while the building is no more, the fight is still very much alive. Several artists are now suing the owners for art that was painted over just before demolition.

"The owner then comes in without any notice and whitewashes the art," said Eric Baum, the artists' attorney.

The artists say the owners were required to provide 90 days notice.

"I could have saved enough of that building that could have filled an entire museum," Meres One said.

A judge refused to grant an injunction to prevent demolition, so the Wolkoffs say they did nothing wrong. They also say when the towers are finished next year, the artists are welcome back to paint "some" of the new space.

"I got the idea to come up with a light bulb," Meres One said. "I started with one face which grew into 10 to 12."

Meres One's new space is currently a project with new condos in Chelsea, right under The Highline.

"They enabled me to put my light bulbs which has become a symbol of what 5 Pointz stood for," he said.

The two sides are currently scheduled to face off in court this October.

Related Topics:
societygraffitiartpublic artcourt caselong island citynew york cityLong Island CityNew York City
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