Updated 5:45 p.m. :
Although a Brooklyn judge has given 5Pointz the thumbs down, artists and supporters are still not giving up.
Judge Frederic Block of the Brooklyn Federal Court issued a ruling on Tuesday against a request of preliminary injunction by Jonathan Cohen, curator at 5Pointz, and a group of 16 other aerosol artists, which sought protection for the hundreds of unique artworks at the site. The judge also ruled to dissolve the restraining order, which was initially granted in October and then extended a few weeks later.
Lifting the restraining order means the Wolkoff family, owners of the property on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street, and developer G&M Realty can now continue with any pre-demolition activities at the site.
As of press time, according to the artists, they are no longer allowed to paint on any part of the building and any artist who does will be arrested.
The developers hope to build two apartment towers – one 47 stories and the other 41 stories tall – with nearly 1,000 rental apartments, 32,000 square feet of outdoor public space and 50,000 square feet of retail space between them.
According to Jeannine Chanes, a lawyer for the 5Pointz artists, the initial lawsuit filed by the group will still continue and they hope to get a trial. She also said they will consider appealing the ruling on their preliminary injunction request, based on a written opinion issued by the judge.
One of the important messages Marie Cecile Flageul, a 5Pointz spokesperson, hopes to get out is that although the judge ruled against their preliminary injunction, it does not mean 5Pointz will be demolished any time soon. She said the temporary restraining order was to protect the pieces of art that cover the building, not to put a stop to the demolition. She said a demolition permit still needs to be issued and things such as asbestos and rodents need to be removed from the building.
“Now we are really concerned because of the damage that can be done to the artwork. But as far as the building going down – no it’s not,” said Flageul. “You have to tell kids with tears, artists in a panic, ‘don’t panic, it’s not a done deal yet.’ At the end of the day, there are no wrecking balls at 5Pointz.”
She also said that the artists are still in the building until next month, and there are residential and commercial tenants that still have until January to move out.
“The building is not going to go down before 2014,” she said.
Developers agreed with the City Council to build and staff the two buildings with 100 percent union workers, bringing more than 1,000 jobs to Long Island City, and also increase the number of affordable housing units from 75 to 210.
5Pointz will hold a rally at the building on Saturday, November 16 at 3 p.m. to assure supporters that their voices matter and that the fight will continue, said Flageul.
“We are going to celebrate the building and show the people that as long as we are not giving up, no one should give up,” she said.