The Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 requires artists of works of "recognized stature" be notified in advance so they can save the work.
When you have the sort of interests that I do, a lot of time is spent looking through the little plexiglass windows of construction fences. Back in 2008, when the economy crashed and derailed a lot of the development plans, many of these temporary barriers became somewhat permanent fixtures. That’s no longer the case, obviously, as a surge of new construction is under way all over LIC. Unfortunately, one of the historic buildings we’ve already lost to this process is the former Neptune Meter Company factory building on Jackson Avenue nearby Court Square.
It’s not John Thomson’s Neptune Water meter company that we’ll miss though, instead it’s the street artist hub which was known as 5Pointz.
More after the jump…
Today LTV Squad shared its adventure through 5Pointz, which, as you may have heard, is slated for demolition soon. LTV Squad took advantage of this prime window of time when one can get in or be given access by workers between abandonment of a building and demolition. They managed to shoot tons of interior photos. Here’s what they found inside the fabled graffiti mecca:
What we found inside was a maze of hallways and partitions, sections with solid concrete flooring and older sections with decaying wood and stairs of questionable stability. One must understand – 5ptz isn’t just one building – it’s a series of interconnected structures that together formed one large complex (like Voltron, or something). Some parts were in better condition than others.
The various parts of the building became known to us by the businesses that inhabited them. There was the sweat shop in the basement and first floor – full of boxes of fabric and a rack of cheap ladies clothing. Up towards Jackson avenue was the DVD shop – an large space filled with piles of DVDs and computer drives for replicating them. There was the Jackson Roof and the Big Roof high above the center of the complex. Then there’s the apartments. Immediately next to 5 ptz sits a series of 4 storefront buildings with apartments above them. These buildings, while not a part of 5ptz, are also abandoned and slated for demolition ( they are all empty except for the one above the former Shannon Pot bar, where an angry squatter is living and acting hostile towards anyone that enters – workers included).
The entire complex was big enough that 10 people could be exploring in teams of 2 and not run into each other for hours. If one were to listen in on our burn phone calls, you’d think we were speaking in code. Where are you? “Jackson Roof”. “The Record Room”. “3rd floor apartment over the space womb”. We spent hours here. Over a span of 2 days and nights we meticulously combed every inch of 5ptz. To the left are the photos from this adventure.
It’s worth checking out the full article for the entire story and all the awesome photos taken.
All 5Pointz coverage [Q’Stoner]
Over the weekend, a number of LIC residents posted photos of continued protest at 5Pointz, the graffiti mecca which is not long for this world. The artists gilf! and BAMN worked together to hang the yellow banner, which reads “Gentrification in Progress,” around the building on Saturday night. The building owners whitewashed the warehouse in November in the face of protest and resistance from 5Pointz artists. And after the whitewashing, six people were arrested for allegedly tagging the building with markers. Demolition started at the infamous graffiti site earlier this month; the warehouse will be replaced with two condo towers.
Artists Collaborate to Hang Banner Outside Former 5Pointz Building [Court Square Blog]
All 5Pointz Coverage [Q’Stoner]
Photo via Twitter
The Court Square Blog snapped the above photo of demolition starting at the former 5Pointz warehouse. According to CSB, “In the past week, we’ve seen asbestos abatement crews working around the construction site. It is the first major movement we’ve seen on these buildings since Wolkoff’s decision to whitewash the art back in mid-November.” Demolition was expected to begin late last year or early 2014, so work is slightly delayed. The warehouse, of course, will be replaced with two condo towers.
Photo by the CSB
Over the weekend the New York Daily News tallied up all the mega developments slated for Queens. These planned high rises will dramatically change the Queens skyline over the next 20 years. Here’s the breakdown of what’s to come:
- Rockrose Development’s plans for the tallest residential building in Queens will rise 500 feet high. 43-25 Hunter Street, dubbed “Citibank’s girlfriend,” is expected to open in 2016.
- The Wolkoff family is bringing a pair of 41- and 48-story towers to the 5Pointz site. There will be roughly 1,000 housing units.
- The Willets Point project (rendered above) is expected to bring buildings as tall as 20 stories. The site will someday house 2,500 housing units, although a mega mall is coming first.
- When the Hunters Point South project wraps on the waterfront, it’ll rise as high as 41 stories. It will hold 5,000 apartments, 60 percent of which are affordable.
- The Hallets Point project includes 2,400 apartment units across seven towers. It will rise up to 31 stories, and the project should wrap in 2022.
- Arriving in 2015, the Astoria Cove project (located right near the Hallets Point development) includes five towers (as tall as 30 stories) and 2,400 units.
- The long-in-the-works Flushing Commons development is now underway, it will bring 600 luxury condos, a YMCA and a retail complex to a former Flushing parking lot. ETA: 2021.
Thanks to the Court Square Blog for a heads up about an upcoming 5Pointz art show. On January 19th, 5Pointz will host a show at the Gold Coast Art Center in Great Neck featuring the artists Meres One, Zimad, See TF and Kid Lew and John Paul. It’s curated by the director for the Gold Coast Art Center, Jude Amsel. The event is free and also includes a cocktail reception. It’ll be held from 3 pm to 5 pm at 113 Middle Neck Road.
5Pointz Schedules Show in Great Neck on Jan. 19 [Court Square Blog]
Over the weekend Gothamist caught a bizarre Tweet issued by Jolly Rancher: the above photo, with the caption “5 Pointz untamed.” It’s thoroughly unclear to us what Jolly Rancher is trying to say about the whitewashing of 5Pointz, but it appears to be a copy of this much better advertisement/tribute. The 5Pointz folks, for one, were unhappy with the shout out. They put out this Tweet on Saturday: “such a disgrace 2 months after it happened trying to copy a cool absolut tribute wooooaaaaaw so bad.” Jolly Rancher ultimately deleted the Tweet yesterday, saying “We apologize for our tweet re: @5PointzNYC. We meant no disrespect to the area or artists. The tweet has been deleted.”
The 5Pointz story has been all over the web for the last few weeks, including here at Brownstoner Queens, and it is just sad that the structure has already been stripped of the graffiti artwork which once made it remarkable.
I guess it’s the way of things, here in New York City, and the 1892 vintage factory will be excised in the near future. Observationally, it was the single largest “draw” in LIC for foreign tourists (and even jaded New Yorkers) and it will be missed. A composition of saturated color that brightened the urban landscape, which incurred reflection in viewers, is always appreciated.
Once upon a time though, specifically before the Second World War, there was no color and the entire world was black and white. Rising out of this monotone landscape was the Neptune Meter Company of Long Island City.
The New York Times published a nice piece on Rufino Garcia, a delivery truck driver based at the 5Pointz warehouse. Garcia hated graffiti, constantly painting over any that popped up on his truck, until 5Pointz curator Jonathan Cohen (aka Meres One) painted his signature lightbulbs on the truck. Says the Times, “The truck has not been touched since, Mr. Garcia said; graffiti taggers tell him they are kept at bay by the reverence they feel for Meres One.” After the infamous whitewashing, the vehicle is now held up as a 5Pointz remnant — people stop to take pictures and ask to paint the blank roll-down gate in the back of the truck. Garcia took, as the Times states, “the unexpected role of an accidental apostle of the art form he once reviled.”