Photo by Mike Shain
Hundreds turned out for a hip hop fund-raising block party in Long Island City Saturday that featured a car show, break dancers, music, food and the return of a half dozen 5Pointz artists. The event took place at Francesco Teoli’s Evandro Tech Motors, located at 47-35 Vernon Blvd., and it was organized by his wife, Gianna Cerbone-Teoli, the owner of Manducatis Rustica.
The block party helped the Long Island City YMCA raise nearly $25,000 with the help of area businesses, including Douglas Elliman, JetBlue, CRE Development Inc., Metropolis International and the Eckstein Development Group.
“We met our goals to raise funds for kids and families who cannot afford YMCA memberships and programs,” LIC YMCA Executive Director Ebony Conely-Young said. “Our motto is to turn no one away for the inability to pay.”
The fund-raising continues for two more weeks with an auction of the graffiti and street art painted on wood panels by Jonathan Meres Cohen and five other 5Pointz artists.
“They took part in an art battle, donating their time, supplies and equipment.” 5PointzCreates Co-founder Marie Cecil Flageul said. “The idea was to auction it off at the end of the block party, but it was simply too hot so we decided to do it online instead.”
Anyone interested in bidding can “like” the Long Island City YMCA Facebook page and they’ll receive more information and links to the bidding online, according to Conely-Young, or go directly to Biddi
“Gianna introduced us to Meres and Marie,” Conely-Young said. “We wanted to honor the arts in LIC and they played a premier part in gathering the talent and our three honorees.”
In addition to the artists, they brought along DJ Dredle, who used to spin every Saturday at 5Pointz, as well as the Dynamic Rockers break dancers who performed and gave lessons.
“Mama Gianna reached out to us last November and asked if we’d like to be involved,” Cecil Flageul said. “At first it was really weird being back in LIC, a little awkward. But it was for the youth and so it made sense for us to be involved.”
It was the first time the artists returned for an event in Long Island City since their “Whitewash” exhibit at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery in April 2014, after they were expelled from their world-famous graffiti mecca earlier that year. The warehouse complex at 22-44 Jackson Ave. was demolished this summer by owner Jerry Wolkoff to make way for two luxury residential towers.
“We had a great time and we honored three longtime 5Pointz supporters as well,” Cecil Flageul said. Art collector Danny Simmons, rapper Marley Marl of Queensbridge, and Lady Pink, known as the first lady of graffiti, received the Frank Tempone Award given annually by the LIC YMCA recognizing those who “give back” to the community through youth development.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr