5Pointz's Resident 'Graffiti' Cat Finds a New Home Ahead of Demolition
LONG ISLAND CITY — It's not just the graffiti that's gone from famed street art center 5Pointz — the art group's resident cat, Baxter, moved out of the Queens site this weekend, as the lease on the artists' office space ended Monday.
The black cat had been a fixture at the graffiti-covered warehouses, following the artists around as they worked and getting photographed by tourists, according to 5Pointz rep Marie Cecile Flageul.
"He's been called, many times, a 'graffiti cat,'" she said. "He's such a camera diva, too — people would always take pictures of him. He would pose."
Baxter was placed in a loving foster home over the weekend, when 5Pointz artists moved out of their office space on Davis Street, Flageul said.
The buildings are slated for demolition in the coming months to make way for two high-rise luxury towers. The cat is now being fostered in Manhattan by photographer Rachel Fawn Alban, who often photographed 5Pointz. Alban said she's so smitten with Baxter that she may keep him permanently.
The feline had been a regular at the site since 2007 or 2008, when he was first brought to the warehouse by workers there, presumably to keep rats at bay, Flageul said. 5Pointz artists fed him and Flageul took him to the vet, and Baxter had his own bed inside the building, she said.
The cat loved to roam around the space, where he was popular with tourists and 5Pointz visitors.
"He would do his rounds. He would walk around the entire block, get pet[ted], pose for pictures," Flageul said.
Meanwhile, Flageul says tourists continue to visit 5Pointz, despite the fact that nearly all of the graffiti art on the buildings was whitewashed over by the owner of the site two weeks ago.
"The foot traffic hasn't diminished," she said.
Flageul said property owners in different parts of the city who have offered the group their buildings to paint on. There are no concrete plans yet, but she said there's a possibility 5Pointz could someday re-emerge at a new location, possibly in a different borough.
"5Pointz itself is there — the collective, the group of people, who we are — that wasn’t whitewashed, that can't be whitewashed," she said.
The developer, G&M Realty, has pledged to include artists' studios at the development, as well as "art walls" to display street art. Owner Gerald Wolkoff previously told DNAinfo that demolition of the current site should begin in early 2014.