Art, Featured, Long Island City
Nov 19, 2013

RIP 5 Pointz, Whitewashed This Morning

5 Pointz, the Institute for Higher Burning, the Phun Phactory in LIC, was whitewashed this morning.

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RIP 5 Pointz. Image source: Youngking11 via Wikimedia Commons

If you were on social media this morning, you would have seen quite a commotion—5 Pointz, the Institute for Higher Burning, and the most amazing graffiti sites in NYC, was whitewashed between last night and this morning. That’s right, the whole thing was painted over with white paint, from the name emblazoned on the building, 5 POINTZ, to the lightbulbs, to the portrait of Biggie Smalls, and everything in between.

We were certainly stunned to learn the news. I mean, who would paint over a building set to be razed? One suggestion is that by painting over the graffiti, it eliminates the possibility of landmarking the outside. One thing is certain, though—the name Wolkoff is toast in this town for a lot of artists.

We thought we’d do a roundup of articles and photos regarding this story.

5Pointz, a Graffiti Mecca in Queens, Is Wiped Clean Overnight [NYT]

By Tuesday morning, the work of some 1,500 artists had been wiped clean, the Brobdingnagian bubble letters and the colorful cartoons spray painted on the building’s brick walls all covered in a fresh coat of white paint. “We are supposed to be the vandals, but this is the biggest rag and disrespect in the history of graffiti,” said Marie Cecile Flageul, an unofficial curator for 5Pointz.

Graffiti mecca 5 Pointz repainted white in Long Island City, Queens [NYDN]

Queens’ graffiti mecca is no more. The extensive aerosol art on 5 Pointz — an internationally renowned haven for urban artists — was quitely painted white early Tuesday morning.

Graffiti Mecca 5Pointz Whitewashed Overnight [DNAinfo]

Jerry Wolkoff told DNAinfo New York on Tuesday that he made the decision to paint over the buildings’ facade because he thought it would be better than to have the  works of art bulldozed one at a time, over the course of several months, when demolition begins.

5Pointz Graffiti is Painted White Overnight [WSJ]

Mr. Wolkoff, who plans to turn the site into luxury housing, said he hired more than a dozen men and began whitewashing the factory’s walls around 3 a.m. The work was finished by 7 a.m. While the demolition of the buildings that make up 5Pointz won’t begin until early 2014, Mr. Wolkoff said he painted over the graffiti because he did not want the artists to see their work ripped down piece-by-piece and because he wanted to stave off any altercations that may have happened during the demolition.

Photos: Graffiti Mecca 5 Pointz Now Painted Over White [Gothamist]

Days after a rally where supporters promised to save it, Long Island City graffiti destination 5 Pointz is now being painted white. 5 Pointz NYC, the “official” Twitter for the space, noted that the painting occurred overnight, “with police protection.”


Very colorful lion detail at 5 Pointz in LIC. We’ll miss you, lion.


5 pointz is gone,” reads this morning’s update on the aerosol institution’s Twitter. “Painted white overnight by the owner with police protection.” Pillowy white botches can now be seen spotting the building, covering up roughly 80% of the exterior pieces.

Meres One, Curator of 5 Pointz, Is Taping Up a Memorial Wall for the Whitewashed “Graffiti Mecca” [Complex]

Meres told us what happened and voiced his frustration with failed attempts to grand 5 Pointz landmark status:

Between the hours of 1 a.m. and 4 a.m., our landlord brought all his illegal workers from out in Long Island out here to paint the building. As far as I’m concerned, I still have no awareness of any permits to have high-lows working on this building. There was no caution tape, no safety workers underneath. And as far as I know, these are things that you need legally to do what he did—but he did in the middle of our federal suit, which will continue by the way.


Photo credit: Domain Bar a Vins via the LIC Facebook page

The Long Island City Facebook page has a selection of photos in a photoset called The Rape and Pillage of Art.

We’ll miss you, 5 Pointz Van Gogh. Photo credit: Dayna Gonzalez.

Local animator Dayna Gonzalez was as the recent rally to save 5 Pointz and took a bunch of photos that day.

This 2010 blog post called Graffiti Mecca, Queens has some nice photos in it.

THE FIVE POINTZ by soulboy22

There will be a candlelight vigil at 5 Pointz after sundown tonight.

So how about you—are you sorry to see 5 Pointz go, or do you figure this is just an inevitable part of the process? We’d love to hear from you – send us a tweet at @weheartastoria or comment below.

About Meg Cotner

Meg Cotner was trained as a harpsichordist and now works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Queens," and is a skilled and avid home cook, baker, and preserver.


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