For many years, 5 pointz in Long Island City (Queens), has been a Mecca of sorts for all things graff art. Tag artists and fans have come from around the world to lay their eyes upon this rare spectacle in modern day NYC. It is one of the few remnants of this City’s colorful past, and as of yesterday, it exists no longer. Over the years, artists from all over have made their contribution to the building, making it the largest aerosol art center in the world, and just overnight, it was gone.
The building has been painted over by the owners in preparation for it to be demolished, and in its place will be erected two new luxury apartment buildings. This just goes to show you have the face of NYC is changing, no longer is New York for New Yorkers, and 5 pointz was one of the last pillars to be torn down before what was once our beloved City becomes a haven for incoming out of state transplants, and new businesses; truly a sign of the times. While some would say that the recent boom in infrastructure is a good for this City, as it brings in more revenue, the fact remains that it results in a clash of the classes.
Looking at Manhattan alone, particularly Harlem over that last decade or so, you can see all the signs of gentrification. Local Mom and Pop shops, and local favorites have been torn down in place of more chic cafe’s and eateries; out with the old and in with the new as they say. The end result is the property value increases in the area, making the cost of living rise. As a result, the locals (mostly lower to middle class) are forced to relocate to the outer boroughs, or out of state altogether, allowing new buildings to be built, charging an exorbitant amount of rent, for a small amount of space. It’s my prediction, that in the next 20 years or so, Manhattan will be a haven for the wealthy, and the only average Joe’s that will remain will be those who work there, or fill a lower income quota so these apartment complexes can receive a tax break, and the outer boroughs are soon to follow.
So what happens to us? Where do we go when there’s nowhere to run? Clearly nothing is sacred, because look at 5 pointz. Now granted, you can’t prevent the inevitable; people have to live somewhere right? But 5 pointz wasn’t just a “someplace”, it was a landmark for us, the natives of this living City born of concrete and steel. Tearing it down is one thing, but painting it over? What is the point of that if the building is to be demolished anyway? That wasn’t just a slap in the face to those artists who put time and effort into their work, that was a slap in the face to New Yorkers, the real New Yorkers.
In retaliation, and in some ways consolation, several artists have added a new “coat of paint” to the painted over building. Some expressing their chagrin, while others saying their farewells.
Either way you look at it, the days of the “land of the natives” as I like to call it are drawing to an end. New York isn’t the home it used to be, its becoming a massive tourism center, forcing those of us who’ve watched it grow from within the belly of the beast to sit idly by and do nothing, because sadly, nothing is all we can do. Thankfully, the art still lives on in the hearts of those who could appreciate it, and in the photos that exist, chronicling the wonder that was once 5 pointz.