The fight to save 5Pointz is not over.
Days after a Brooklyn judge issued a ruling against a request of preliminary injunction looking to protect the aerosol art on the graffiti mecca, hundreds from all over the five boroughs gathered at the Long Island City site to rally and show support.
The judge also dissolved a restraining order, allowing the Wolkoff family, owners of the property on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street, and developer G&M Realty to continue with any pre-demolition activities at the site.
The developers hope to build two apartment towers – one 47 stories and the other 41 stories tall – with close to 1,000 rental apartments, 32,000 square feet of outdoor public space and 50,000 square feet of retail space between them.
“New York is kind of boring right now, they’re overdeveloping, they’re building these glass tissue boxes that are made cheap, have no souls and they’re destroying all our communities,” said Jonathan Cohen, 5Pointz curator, during the November 16 rally. “This is the heart of Long Island City community.”
According to the artists, as of November 13 they can no longer paint on the building and anyone found doing so will be arrested.
“I’m here till the end, I’ll fight till the last day,” said Cohen. “I’m making a promise to you today. I will let you people know if the fight is over. It is not over. He won a battle in a big war and it’s far from over.”
During the rally, artists and supporters shared their favorite 5Pointz memories. Some artists also sold T-shirts, stickers and canvases with their tags and art pieces to raise money for legal and operating costs. Volunteers walked around asking everyone to fill out a “Request for Evaluation” to the City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to ask for the 5Pointz Aerosol Art Center Inc., located at 45-46 Davis Street, to become a landmark. Over 1,000 forms were signed.
“This is the most beautiful building in the world, more than the Taj Mahal, because this building is a regular building that we made beautiful,” said Angel Del Villar, one of the speakers at the rally.
“There are a million people that want this building to stay up, across the country and across the world.”
Although the day brought in a peaceful gathering of supporters of all ages and backgrounds, Marie Cecile Flageul, a 5Pointz spokesperson, said she found the police presence at the rally to be ridiculous and unnecessary as she saw squad cars, large numbers of officers and barricades being brought into the area. She also said she was told the presence was due to a call received reporting a riot or march that had to be contained.
“The profiling is getting old,” said Flageul.
The presence got lighter as the day went on and the rally went on with no disturbances.
“We were able to tell people in our own words that it’s not over,” said Flageul. “That’s our god-given and constitutional right.”
The artists hope to organize another rally at an indoor venue before December 15.
Jeannine Chanes, a lawyer for the 5Pointz artists, previously told The Courier the initial lawsuit filed by the group will still continue. She also said they will consider appealing the ruling on their preliminary injunction request, based on a written opinion by the judge, which still has not been issued.
The Wolkoffs and their attorney, who were not at the rally, did not respond to comment as of press time.