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5 Pontz-6.7 million Law Suit Award
Old 02-13-2018   #1
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5 Pontz-6.7 million Law Suit Award

6.7 Million was awarded to artists who's work was destroyed due to redevelopment.

Article described Long Island City where I lived as a "crime ridden area." LOL.

Glad I documented this area just down the block where I lived.

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Old 02-13-2018   #2
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When I lived in NYC (1990's) I worked at a Model Shop in LIC. I didn't find it crime ridden, I just got frustrated with the street system. It wasn't like Manhattan. You couldn't go to 46th and 11th, cause you had to know, was it 46th Ave or 46th Rd. Whoever came up with that should have been shot.

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Old 02-13-2018   #3
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Interesting. I can see were this is going. For example railroads had better stop washing/cleaning/painting their railroad cars for fear of being sued by graffiti "artists".
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Old 02-13-2018   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
When I lived in NYC (1990's) I worked at a Model Shop in LIC. I didn't find it crime ridden, I just got frustrated with the street system. It wasn't like Manhattan. You couldn't go to 46th and 11th, cause you had to know, was it 46th Ave or 46th Rd. Whoever came up with that should have been shot.

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Tim,

LIC use to have Crips and Bloods fighting turf wars in Queens Plaza Pre-Guilani and a bit Post-Guiliani. The sex trade when cleaned out of 42d Street in Madhattan prostitution migrated to LIC and Queens Plaza.

I lived in a run down historic row house on 23rd Street near 44th Road. Pretty much the Citigroup skyscrapper bordered my backyard, and because the Citigroup building is a terrorist target, Citigroup had 24 hour foot patrols, and in the winter if it snowed Citigroup would shovel my sidewalk for their foot patrols.

The journalist conflated the crime. About 25-30 years ago it was bad. My neighbor, Jimmy, told me that street walkers use to patrol right in front of our house. Truck drivers use to come, park and get their pipes cleaned.

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Old 02-13-2018   #5
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I was there during daylight hours, must have been 1993, didn't seem bad to me then. Maybe it was much worse at night.

Also worked in Brooklyn that year, by the Navy Yards, that was kind of dodgy. I remember walking to work on a winter day, past deep snow piles plowed from the streets, and on the way home that night, the cops were pulling a murdered body out of one of the snow piles. And one of the bodegas got shot up, a block from our shop. Otherwise, it seemed pretty safe.

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Old 02-13-2018   #6
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Is there a link to an article that I am missing?
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Old 02-13-2018   #7
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Is there a link to an article that I am missing?
Huss,

Just do a search for 5-pointz and a slew of articles about the 6.7 million dollar award will come up.

For graffiti artists this was a holy place. This was a center for urban culture and it was desicreted by a greedy developer.

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Old 02-13-2018   #8
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Originally Posted by Beemermark View Post
Interesting. I can see were this is going. For example railroads had better stop washing/cleaning/painting their railroad cars for fear of being sued by graffiti "artists".
That's not what happened here. The owner offered up the building as a 'canvas' for artists, then the building and their art was destroyed. I'm mixed on this as it seems to me that the owner was a good samaritan to the arts, and is being punished for it. But I really don't know the facts of the case.

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Old 02-13-2018   #9
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Originally Posted by jszokoli View Post
That's not what happened here. The owner offered up the building as a 'canvas' for artists, then the building and their art was destroyed. I'm mixed on this as it seems to me that the owner as a good samaritan to the arts, and is being punished for it. But I really don't know the facts of the case.

Joe

Quite different, in fact. It was a well regulated area for graffiti, unlike other legal walls, here you would be assigned space and so forth.

The issue here, though, was that the developer did not wait for permits to tear down the building. And, when confronted with that in court, he became more of an ass, holier than though.

As someone who has been involved in the graffiti world for a very long time, I'm quite torn on this one. Part of graffiti is knowing that your work does not stand the test of time, it can, quite literally last mere hours. Even at five points, your work would regularly be rolled over by someone else and another piece put there.

This has to do with how the work was destroyed by a developer, not that it was actually destroyed/whitewashed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
Is there a link to an article that I am missing?
Huss,

here is one
https://ny.curbed.com/2017/11/7/1661...-trial-verdict

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beemermark View Post
Interesting. I can see were this is going. For example railroads had better stop washing/cleaning/painting their railroad cars for fear of being sued by graffiti "artists".

Yes, you're exactly right. There is no difference between legal graffiti/art and vandalism.
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Old 02-13-2018   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jszokoli View Post
That's not what happened here. The owner offered up the building as a 'canvas' for artists, then the building and their art was destroyed. I'm mixed on this as it seems to me that the owner as a good samaritan to the arts, and is being punished for it. But I really don't know the facts of the case.

Joe
Joe,

One owner supported the arts. The next owner who was a developer took a hostile stand and literally whitewashed over the art to purposely damage and deface the art. About a year later demolition started. The whitewashing was a F-U and was just an act of power and meaness. This developer tried to devalue any litigation and prove who owned the property by this whitewashing.

At that time litigation was under way, no negociation, nor possibility of preservation. Pretty much unilaterally this developer took it upon himself to move his project forward.

I for one am glad that he was sued sucessfully. I'm glad he lost 6.7 million dollars. To me 5 Pointz was a monument to urban culture, it was important, and the city did nothing to stop the destruction.

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Old 02-13-2018   #11
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If the law says the new owner needs to preserve due to droit moral then does he have the obligation as a private entity to do so or the city would have had to buy the property and turn it into a park? If any artist can paint anywhere and then hold that piece of property hostage then where is the democracy in city planning? I’ll wait for the appeals court to decide. I actually wrote a paper on this very topic 25 years so am quite excited academically at the outcome.
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Old 02-13-2018   #12
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Being "old school" I'm confused when graffiti becomes art.
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Old 02-13-2018   #13
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Cal,

As I said I'm not 100% up to date on the story, (onlyjust now just read the NYT article) but I don't think this is a good thing for the arts. It will make any property owner think twice before allowing an artist to do work that becomes part of the property. Whoever the owner is he/she will see this decision and say no to anything that seems to encumber the property.

Capitalism sucks, but you just can't strip someones property rights cause they are 'rich'.

On the other hand, if you take a look at the building that's going up on the site 6.7 million is a slap on the wrist. If you really want to stop that kind of behavior the remedy would need to be even greater.

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Old 02-13-2018   #14
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Originally Posted by Beemermark View Post
Being "old school" I'm confused when graffiti becomes art.

Then use the term art. Graffiti can be done with a brush just the same as art can be done with an aerosol can.

How would you designate this "graffiti" and not art

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Old 02-13-2018   #15
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I've met perhaps 100s of developers over the years. I've liked one. Most are not very nice people even if the stunts they pull are deemed legal. Ethical and legal too often don't coincide. In my experience, its more than art. I watched extremely beautiful, historic, and unique architechtural gems gleefully destroyed (actual glee in the a** hole's eyes) to make way for yet another mini-mall. Some of these buildings were considered major "city treasures" and nobody thought they'd *ever* be callously destroyed -- thus nobody pursued official historic designation for those buildings. So. Legal, but ethical?
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Old 02-13-2018   #16
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Do graffiti artists in the US have any legal right to paint private property? It seems strange that a property owner can be prosecuted for removing paint that was unlawfully applied, if that's the case. Much as I find developers somewhat akin to Vikings.
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Old 02-13-2018   #17
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Do graffiti artists in the US have any legal right to paint private property? It seems strange that a property owner can be prosecuted for removing paint that was unlawfully applied, if that's the case. Much as I find developers somewhat akin to Vikings.
It was all legal. I myself am a graffiti writer and can tell you first hand...no it is not legal in anyway to damage private property.
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Old 02-13-2018   #18
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Huss,

Just do a search for 5-pointz and a slew of articles about the 6.7 million dollar award will come up.

For graffiti artists this was a holy place. This was a center for urban culture and it was desicreted by a greedy developer.

Cal
I’m sorry but this is just not quite true. It was more of a tourist attraction for yuppies interested in “graffiti/street art” but too scared to go in the other areas where they will see real graffiti. In the old days 5 points had a little more legitimacy, but in the past few years it became more of a joke to the graffiti writers who are actually out painting both real mural style work, and illegal work. In fact I know quite a few of NYC graffiti writers said good riddance when it was to be demolished but they may be a little bit on the bitter side of things. Like I mentioned in the above comment, I myself am a graffiti artist and really couldn’t care less about 5 points, BUT I am very happy see that some justification has been brought to the issue and that the artists will be compensated. In a way it sort of feels like a win in a war against gentrification but obviously it isn’t, seeing as there will be condos or something like that there in a matter of years. I will say this though, it was a shame to see the KID and PK pieces get buffed.
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Old 02-13-2018   #19
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Old 02-13-2018   #20
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They owned this building for 20 years and then had an immediate change of attitude in how the property was being used? That's a little weird... The owner decided that he owned the property and could do what he wanted in an antagonistic manner. Does anyone know why? In hindsight, I'm sure he wishes he could rethink that stance. It seems if he had just informed them and waited awhile, he wouldn't be paying.

And to those who think it was vandalism, the owners knew this was happening for a long time and allowed it.
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Old 02-13-2018   #21
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I've met perhaps 100s of developers over the years. I've liked one. Most are not very nice people even if the stunts they pull are deemed legal. Ethical and legal too often don't coincide. In my experience, its more than art. I watched extremely beautiful, historic, and unique architechtural gems gleefully destroyed (actual glee in the a** hole's eyes) to make way for yet another mini-mall. Some of these buildings were considered major "city treasures" and nobody thought they'd *ever* be callously destroyed -- thus nobody pursued official historic designation for those buildings. So. Legal, but ethical?
While I understand your point, the counterargument is that "preservationists" waste resources, impede real progress, make it too expensive to do business (thereby hurting society but helping their niche cause), trample on property rights in this country, etc. I too have my own personal experiences and have found questionably ethical people (what does that mean anyway) on both sides of the equation.

Maybe it's beautiful and historic, or maybe it is an obsolete, ugly, outdated, abandoned warehouse (or both). Maybe the Empire State Building/Space Needle/Eiffel Tower/etc. should not have been erected, since whatever existed there had to be removed/razed to make way for the new. Who is to say that what was originally there was not historic or beautiful in its own way. The irony will be that someone in the future will claim that the despised mini-mall was an icon of the late 20th century and therefore they should be preserved. If bell bottoms and platform shoes can become fashionable again as they did, people can be convinced of anything.
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Old 02-13-2018   #22
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I believe this is in appeals, No one getting paid yet...
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Old 02-13-2018   #23
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If I white-washed over the graffiti, would that be art as well? After all, so many modern artists show essentially white canvases as "art". Okay, I'll sprinkle some colored paints and call it a Pollack. Then I'll knock it all down, and call it deconstructionist. Or installation art--I'll make sure to stick a toilet bowl atop the heap. It's my intent, after all.
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Old 02-13-2018   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hogarth Ferguson View Post
Then use the term art. Graffiti can be done with a brush just the same as art can be done with an aerosol can.

How would you designate this "graffiti" and not art

The question is about permission and intent. Done to the side of your house/car/property without your consent, you might not be too pleased.
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Old 02-13-2018   #25
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Was the building private property?
Did the owner who invited the art have an agreement with the artists never to sell or deface the art?
Was it sold to a new owner?
Was the new owner obligated to the artists?
When does the owner of a building lose the right to do with his property as he sees fit?
The Constitution of the US knows these answers.
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Old 02-13-2018   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooklynguy View Post
The question is about permission and intent. Done to the side of your house/car/property without your consent, you might not be too pleased.

Yeah, and that is a fun argument to make, really original. The issue here, though, is that graffiti isnt always illegal and art isn't always legal.

The discussion I was having with someone was his contention that "graffiti was not art", I posted legal graffiti.

Your argument, to my comment, has no merit.

Also, how are none of you reading the article.


Building was bought to be developed and destroyed, the developer did not get the required permits to destroy the graffiti/building until 10 months after it was done. Then, his "screw you, i'll do what I want" attitude in the court landed him this huge fine.
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Old 02-13-2018   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rfaspen View Post
I've met perhaps 100s of developers over the years. I've liked one. Most are not very nice people even if the stunts they pull are deemed legal. Ethical and legal too often don't coincide. In my experience, its more than art. I watched extremely beautiful, historic, and unique architechtural gems gleefully destroyed (actual glee in the a** hole's eyes) to make way for yet another mini-mall. Some of these buildings were considered major "city treasures" and nobody thought they'd *ever* be callously destroyed -- thus nobody pursued official historic designation for those buildings. So. Legal, but ethical?

"He's worse than a drug dealer, he's a developer"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKk1eoYALlM
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Old 02-13-2018   #28
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Sounds like the developer was belligerent in court and the judge handed out a harsh verdict. Well that’s what appellate courts are for, to separate emotion from law and facts. I doubt the artists had an expectation the canvas would be permanent.
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Old 02-13-2018   #29
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Originally Posted by Hogarth Ferguson View Post
Yeah, and that is a fun argument to make, really original. The issue here, though, is that graffiti isnt always illegal and art isn't always legal.

The discussion I was having with someone was his contention that "graffiti was not art", I posted legal graffiti.

Your argument, to my comment, has no merit.

Also, how are none of you reading the article.


Building was bought to be developed and destroyed, the developer did not get the required permits to destroy the graffiti/building until 10 months after it was done. Then, his "screw you, i'll do what I want" attitude in the court landed him this huge fine.
Relax--no need to get snarky or get your panties in a wad. Your unfriendly response demonstrates why people roll their eyes at the arrogance and dismissive of the art community.

BTW, the case is not complicated, as this stuff has been debated ad naseum--"artists" vs. owners--big whoopie doo!

I used to see the buildings on a daily commute, went from being an ugly graffiti eyesore in the late 70's/early 80's to creative and entertaining in the 90's.
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Old 02-13-2018   #30
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Sounds like the developer was belligerent in court and the judge handed out a harsh verdict. Well that’s what appellate courts are for, to separate emotion from law and facts. I doubt the artists had an expectation the canvas would be permanent.
If you've ever had to deal with the incredible red tape and bureaucracy that is NYC government, you'd also be belligerent. I have too many stories, but as an example, I'm on my 3rd inspection to obtain final approval on my solar panels on my little house, and one inspector has contradicted the other, making us go around in circles. On the other hand, you can smoke pot and piss openly in the street, and jump the subway turnstyles, and nothing will be done.
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Old 02-14-2018   #31
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I knew I took a couple of shots there no too long before it was all painted over.
Looking for the image, I realized that is was 2013 ...gosh already 5 years ago.

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Old 02-14-2018   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hogarth Ferguson View Post

Building was bought to be developed and destroyed, the developer did not get the required permits to destroy the graffiti/building until 10 months after it was done. Then, his "screw you, i'll do what I want" attitude in the court landed him this huge fine.
H,

This is really to the point.

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Old 02-14-2018   #33
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For all the derelict property developers/owners out there looking to beautify their holdings, it would seem prudent to sign a contract with the artist(s) doing the beautification, clearly outlining the impermanent nature of the artwork and the owner's right to modify the work as deemed appropriate by the owner.

Of course this is a separate thing from obtaining the required permits to make structural changes to the property...

From the Curbed article linked earlier: "The Wolkoffs have owned the site for 20 years, and had entered into an informal agreement with the artists to allow them to tag the site."

Make it a formal agreement with clearly defined terms and conditions.
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Old 02-14-2018   #34
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This (the fine amount) will be appealed.

An appeal means the developer will be spending more on legal bills. I have nothing against developers per se, but Hogarth Ferguson's comment indicates it's possible this particular developer made a significant mistake by ignoring the permit process. There can be consequences. It's also possible there's more to the story and the developer wasn't treated fairly.

I have no idea about the legal merits of this particular case. The rule of law is inherently unemotional. Eventually ambiguities and, or unfairness are resolved by the appeal process.

Building permit bureaucracies are annoying regardless of geographic location. I am familiar with numerous bureaucratic failures about building inspection and occupancy permits that frustrated my reality clients in the St. Louis area. I am also aware of numerous deaths and serious injuries in adjacent municipalities with less bureaucracy, and minimal permit or inspection requirements.
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Old 02-14-2018   #35
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Building permit bureaucracies are annoying regardless of geographic location. I am familiar with numerous bureaucratic failures about building inspection and occupancy permits that frustrated my reality clients in the St. Louis area. I am also aware of numerous deaths and serious injuries in adjacent municipalities with less bureaucracy, and minimal permit or inspection requirements.
Willie,

When I lived in Long Island City, the rundown house I lived in that was deemed "historic" had serious electrical problems. I would have to reset blown breakers constantly. The house was built in the 1800's and had lead paint. There was also an illegal bypass on the water main that basically stole water from the utility.

Pretty much I felt like I was living in a fire trap and lived in danger. Pretty much was a news story ready to happen.

In Greenpoint the home owner did the plumbing, and one time I came home to find the basement of his row house flooded with a foot of water because he made a bad solder joint or did not clean the copper pipe enough.

Also much of the new construction I would say cuts corners and might not be built for the long term.

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Old 02-14-2018   #36
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I was glad to hear about this, when I saw the 5 Point it was pretty amazing but like
everything in New York it a changing!
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Old 02-14-2018   #37
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I was glad to hear about this, when I saw the 5 Point it was pretty amazing but like
everything in New York it a changing!
Bob,

NYC is being sanitized and suburbanized.

Wealthy people from all over the world are moving in.

NYC never had so much entitlement.

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Old 02-15-2018   #38
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People keep referring to new ownership or being bought to rebuild... but according to wiki...

Jerry Wolkoff, a developer, bought the property in 1971 or 1972. He originally planned to develop the building, but instead leased the space to companies. Wolkoff started leasing the space as artists' studios in the 1990s. The building's exterior was graffitied over with a myriad of street art, and it became renowned worldwide for the street art. The factory building gained the name "5 Pointz" name in 2002 when graffiti artist Jonathan Cohen started using the moniker as a reference to the five boroughs of New York City. The murals were exhibited mainly on the exterior walls of the building, while the interior was occupied by about 200 artists' studios.

In 2013, Wolkoff made the controversial decision to demolish 5 Pointz and replace it with a condominium complex. The announcement resulted in protests and a lawsuit filed by the works' artists against Wolkoff. The 5 Pointz building was demolished completely in 2014. Construction on the new building complex started in 2015, with expected completion by 2017.
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Old 02-15-2018   #39
Calzone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
People keep referring to new ownership or being bought to rebuild... but according to wiki...

Jerry Wolkoff, a developer, bought the property in 1971 or 1972. He originally planned to develop the building, but instead leased the space to companies. Wolkoff started leasing the space as artists' studios in the 1990s. The building's exterior was graffitied over with a myriad of street art, and it became renowned worldwide for the street art. The factory building gained the name "5 Pointz" name in 2002 when graffiti artist Jonathan Cohen started using the moniker as a reference to the five boroughs of New York City. The murals were exhibited mainly on the exterior walls of the building, while the interior was occupied by about 200 artists' studios.

In 2013, Wolkoff made the controversial decision to demolish 5 Pointz and replace it with a condominium complex. The announcement resulted in protests and a lawsuit filed by the works' artists against Wolkoff. The 5 Pointz building was demolished completely in 2014. Construction on the new building complex started in 2015, with expected completion by 2017.
John,

Thanks for the clarity. Kind of interesting how this owner flipped the switch: first supporting the arts; and then the opposite.

For a guy who has been around gentrifying neighborhoods for decades, I feel I am partially responsible for the redevelopment that makes NYC a great city. The land lords, the developers, and the banks all made tons of money over the decades, and pretty much I just got used/hosed.

In the late 70's I was building out a loft in SoHo on Broome Street. For a summer I actually lived there. I lived in Greenpoint, Williamsburg, and LIC before these neighborhoods were conquered by hipsters. Now I'm in SpaHa.

First I get drawn in, and then I get pushed out. The banks, the real estate, the landlords all forget who did the rough work and heavy lifting.

Cal
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Old 02-15-2018   #40
farlymac
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This sounds to me like a story of changing times. The developer bought the place when it was abandoned, and leased out space to make some money while trying to figure out what to do with the place. Many years go by, suddenly it makes sense to put up some new condos in the area, so now it's time to start all over.

But the artists revolt, claiming ownership of the art makes them owners of the property, which then really p's off the actual owner who tears the place down without waiting for permits to stop any legal action by the artists. Which then lands him in court for the permit violation.

He's not getting fined for destroying the art, but for demolishing the buildings without a permit, no? LIC will get the money, not the artists.

Am I right?

PF
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