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In the Air – Art+Auction's Gossip Column

Demolition of New York Graffiti Center 5Pointz on Track Despite Community Disapproval

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On Thursday, members of Queens’s Community Board 2 voted unanimously against the planned demolition of the beloved graffiti and street art space 5Pointz in Long Island City so that its owner, David Wolkoff, could build more than 1,000 apartments at the site in a pair of buildings rising to 47 and 41 stories. Because CB2’s vote is strictly advisory — it will impact Wolkoff’s ability to build larger buildings than local zoning regulations permit — it will not affect plans for 5Pointz’s demolition, DNAinfo reports.

Wolkoff, meanwhile, reiterated his intention to set aside space for artists and graffiti in the future development. “We were the ones who allowed the artists to do their work on our buildings for the last 20 years,” he said. “It’s a way to do what we want to do, create our own art, and allow them to be symbiotic with us.”

In spite of the apparent inevitability of the urban canvas’s crushing Stephen Cooper, the co-chairman of CB2’s land use committee, offered advice to the many artists assembled at Thursday’s meeting. “If you want to stop that, you have to go and get either landmarked or have it historically designated or have the art commission designate it,” Cooper said. “You’re going to have to go way beyond this room to do that, and I encourage you, if that’s what you want, to go ahead.”

Wolkoff, however, didn’t seem too concerned. “We will always listen to what they have to say,” he told NY1. “Whether we agree with everything they say is another consideration.”

— Benjamin Sutton

(Photo by the author.)

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