By Bill Parry
A statement-in-art about gentrification and the impending end of 5Pointz appeared on the building that had hosted the graffiti display Sunday morning.
Two street-artists from Brooklyn known as gilf! and BAMN (By any means necessary) hung a banner across the Jackson Avenue side of the building that reads “Gentrification in Progress” and is fashioned after yellow caution tape often found at active construction sites.
“It’s a conversation starter,” gilf! said. “I understand the need for housing but at what cost? We’re ceding such a huge part of our culture, 5Pointz is so significant to the graffiti culture and hip hop. It’s disappointing and we can do better.”
The banner protests the demolition of the graffiti mecca, at 22-44 Jackson Ave. in Long Island City, which is set to begin this spring as soon as the asbestos abatement currently underway is completed.
The building’s owners, Gerry and David Wolkoff, plan on knocking down the block-long complex, at 22-44 Jackson Ave. In Long Island City, to make way for two luxury residential high-rise towers. They went through a protracted legal battle in an effort to evict a band of artists who created graffiti murals on the exterior walls of the warehouse complex that was known around the world for the past two decades.
When the Wolkoffs got a favorable ruling in Brooklyn Supreme Court in November, they whitewashed the estimated 350 graffiti murals under the cover of darkness. The street-art community has been seething ever since.
The spokeswoman for the evicted 5Pointz artists, Marie Cecil Flageul, said, “Almost four months after the whitewash it’s inspiring to see two street-artists from Brooklyn making a statement which is not damaging to the structure.”
Gerry Wolkoff could not be reached for comment.
The banner was removed from the building Monday afternoon.
“I had a good time and I’m surprised it lasted so long,” gilf! said.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718.260.4538.