Long Island City, Queens, NY, USA

Whitewashed 2013 / Demolished 2014

The Disappointed Tourist: 5 Points, Ellen Harvey, 2021. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 18 x 24″ (46 x 61 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

Looking up from the street with my kids this summer I did my best to conjure riding the 7 around this magnificent waterfall of voice and homage that made 5 Points such a vital tattooed living body. Now it’s a frigging condo. Any idiot could see the wealth/valueof its breathing surfaces. Thanks and ouch. Paul C.

5Pointz: The Institute of Higher Burnin’ or 5Pointz Aerosol Art Center, Inc. was an American mural space in Long Island City, Queens. The building dated from 1892, originally housing the Neptune Meter factory. The property was bought by developer Jerry Wolkoff, in the early 1970s. Wolkoff started leasing the space for artists’ studios in the 1990s; the building eventually housed about 200 artists’ studios. The building’s exterior was covered with street art, and the building became renowned worldwide for the art on its walls. Originally known as Phun Factory, the building was renamed ” 5Pointz” in 2002 when the graffiti artist Jonathan Cohen “Meres One” began curating the exterior murals. In 2013, Wolkoff had the murals whitewashed overnight, which led the artists to file a lawsuit against Wolkoff. The building was demolished completely in 2014. Construction on a new building complex started in 2015 and was recently completed. In February 2018, Wolkoff was ordered by a judge to pay $6.7 million in damages to 21 artists. Jonathan Cohen is currently working on a documentary about 5Pointz. I’m not sure who took the photo on which this painting is based. If anyone knows – please let me know so I can credit them. Interestingly, this site is where I painted one of my New York Beautification Project interventions (small oval landscapes in oils painted without permission over graffiti sites) in 2001. My painting was long gone by the time the building was demolished.