Judge Allows 5Pointz Demolition to Proceed

By Jeanmarie Evelly on November 13, 2013 9:51am 

 Tourists at graffiti arts center 5 Pointz in Long Island City.
Tourists at graffiti arts center 5 Pointz in Long Island City.
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DNAinfo/Jeanmarie Evelly

LONG ISLAND CITY — A federal judge declined to block the demolition of 5Pointz on Tuesday, after a group of artists sued to try and keep the set of graffiti-covered buildings from being torn down to make way for luxury apartments.

The decision in Brooklyn Federal Court is the latest in the battle over the Long Island City space, and lifts a temporary restraining order that had been in place for the past several weeks that prohibited any demolition-related activities at the site and also prohibited the artists from painting there.

5Pointz artists filed a lawsuit against the developers in October, seeking protection for their works on the buildings under the federal Visual Artists Rights Act.

District Judge Frederic Block was sympathetic to the artists' cause and expressed his admiration for their work at a hearing last week, according to a statement from 5Pointz, but ultimately denied their motion.

Despite the decision, 5Pointz spokeswoman Marie Cecile Flageul said the group will continue its efforts to keep the site from being razed.

"We said it from the get-go, it's not over until we say it's over. There are definitely going to be more moves," she said, but declined to discuss specific plans.

The longtime owners of the buildings, Jerry and David Wolkoff of G&M Realty, did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment. But David Wolkoff has said previously that they want to begin demolition by the end of the year to make way for two high-rise luxury apartment towers, which will include art studios and space to display street art.

Cecile Flageul said she doesn't believe demolition is imminent as both commercial and residential tenants remain in the buildings.

She said 5Pointz artists are returning to the site now that the temporary restraining order is no longer in place.

"With the TRO lifted, we can get back to painting," she said.

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