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Graffiti artists face homelessness: The battle for 5Pointz is lost

LEONARDO CLAUDIO Special to the AmNews | 2/8/2012, 7:07 p.m.

To local Brooklyn graffiti writer Fenone, 5Pointz is more than a place to paint. It is a utopia, a place where "everybody accepts you...we get looked down upon anywhere else." According to Fenone, this is how many other graffiti writers feel about the building.

Graffiti artist Jesus Saves added, "It's not fair for 5Pointz to be knocked down like that, unless they can give us another spot where we can all paint."

Many graffiti writers are angry at real estate developers for pushing for the removal of 5Pointz and deem it as an anti-graffiti attack. David Wolkoff, the real estate developer who is responsible for its Long Island City location, said that this is not the case. Wolkoff assured that it was "strictly business...I respect 5Pointz highly; I find it beautiful. Graffiti is a form of art."

Wolkoff continued, "This has nothing to do with anti-graffiti; if it did, I would not allow it on the walls. The area is growing. The building is old and it is time for a change."

What can graffiti artists do to salvage 5Pointz? Wolkoff admitted, "There is nothing that can be done...I love the area. I do not want to sell.

"The new building will have a graffiti institute inside, just not on every inch like 5Pointz has," he offered.

The statement is heartbreaking. The removal of 5Pointz will be as devastating to the graffiti community as the destruction of the first Yankee stadium to Yankee fans. There will be tears.

Graffiti began as an illegal art and, little by little, it has become accepted enough for artists to get permission to paint legally. With 5Pointz coming down, many graffiti writers have hinted that the art will be taken back to its roots.

5Pointz is a museum of mind-boggling aerosol art, a building that should not be torn down. If it is, Meres said, "Years later, they'll regret that and wish they had saved it."

TooFly claimed, "You take this away and you kill the spirit of what truly makes this place, this neighborhood and this city special." A place that promotes so much creativity, love and protection should not be demolished but preserved.