5Pointz graffiti art spotted on Astoria wall

5Pointz graffiti art spotted on Astoria wall
Photo by Bill Parry
By Bill Parry

Straphangers on the N and Q subway lines were the first to notice that the artists from 5Pointz are back in Queens.

Jonathan Cohen, the group’s curator who goes by the name Meres One, put a mural over a Laundromat in Astoria just before Christmas.

Meres One painted a half dozen of his iconic “Bright Idea” light bulbs around a 5Pointz logo with a slogan saying “Keep the Lights On” on the wall of a three-family residential building, at 30-14 35th Ave., owned by Jason Zografakis.

“It came up in a conversation with a mutual friend of ours and it seemed like the perfect fit,” Zografakis said.

Zografakis became a 5Pointz fan when he moved to Long Island City 15 years ago and got angry when owner Jerry Wolkoff had the graffiti mecca whitewashed in the dark of night Nov. 19. Wolkoff is preparing to demolish the block-long warehouse complex to make way for two luxury high-rises.

“It made me angry what happened to them. It’s a sad thing,” Zografakis said. “That was such a well-known landmark. I would take friends visiting from out of town all the time. It’s great having them back painting in Queens, especially along the subway line. That’s great exposure.”

He said Meres One would be back with other 5Pointz artists to add more murals to the wall.

Zografakis is also a partner in Marketa, a new gastropub that opened at 37-17 30th Ave.

“I have a lot of friends with bare walls who are interested, too,” he said. “They’re taking the cool out of New York, so we’re going to put some cool right here in Astoria.”

Meres One had taken his street art to Manhattan in early December, putting a temporary mural on the wall of Rag & Bone, a store on East Houston Street, and had planned tributes to Nelson Mandela in Brooklyn. The artists felt that Queens had turned their back after they moved out of the offices at 5Pointz Dec.1. They welcomed the invitation back to their home borough.

“It’s one wall at a time,” said Marie Cecile Flageul, spokeswoman for 5Pointz. “In the spring we’ll be back in business. There was a lack of support from certain politicians, but private owners are willing to support us and we’ll take them up on any offers.”

Zografakis said the new street art has been well-received in the neighborhood.

“All of my tenants love it and I see people stopping by to take pictures every day. I’ve had zero negative feedback about the graffiti,” he said.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.