City Planning Commission unanimously votes to allow owners of the Long Island City graffiti mecca a zoning exception that would allow them to put up a pair of luxury towers on the site WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 21, 2013, 6:40 PMBY CLARE TRAPASSO/ NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
DELMUNDO, ANTHONY FREELANCE NYDN
Jerry Wolkoff and his son David Wolkoff, owners of the 5Pointz building in Long Island City, plan to tear it down and put a pair of luxury, residential towers.
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The days of an internationally respected graffiti mecca in Queens appear to be numbered. The City Planning Commission unanimously voted on Wednesday on a measure that would hasten the demise of the 5Pointz Aerosol Art Center in Long Island City. The owners of the site, Jerry and David Wolkoff, are seeking permission to build a pair of luxury towers in place of 5Pointz that are larger than the zoning currently allows. They plan to tear down the local landmark — which they allowed artists to legally cover with vibrant aerosol murals for more than a decade — by year’s end.
The City Council must first approve the zoning exception. A vote is expected this fall. “We’re sorry to see 5Pointz go,” said Rob MacKay, director of the Queens Tourism Council. “It has fulfilled the artistic needs of many people from around the world for a very long time,” he said. “It gives us a kind of international street cred.” The center was created more than a decade ago and attracts more than 1,000 visitors a year, center organizers previously said.
They agreed to create about 75 units of affordable housing and roughly 20 artist studios following an outpouring of community backlash.
“Long Island City’s in a fantastic transition right now,” said David Wolkoff. The towers are “an exciting project for the neighborhood.”
But 5Pointz is a popular attraction, said Mark Levy, one of the owners of the tour company Levys’ Unique New York!.
“We are unhappy to lose such a landmark — especially a place that’s so welcoming to artists,” said Levy, who brings travelers there. “They regard them as true artists and not just street kids with spray paint cans.”
Joseph Ficalora, founder of the Bushwick Collective, which paints street art murals in its namesake neighborhood, also bemoaned the loss of the iconic aerosol art center.
“It’s inspired so many people from all over the world,” Ficalora said. “A piece of art history will be gone.”