LONG ISLAND CITY — Nearly 2,000 street art fans have signed an online petition looking to stop developer G&M Realty from trademarking the name "5Pointz."
The developer, which owns the former graffiti haven that's currently being torn down to make way for two rental towers, applied to have the term trademarked this spring for use on its future development — a move that the artists called insulting.
"To us, it's like adding insult to injury," said Marie Cecile Flageul, a representative for the 5Pointz artists who started the petition on the website MoveOn.org, where it had more than 1,900 signatures Monday afternoon.
"Even though we're no longer at the Long Island City location, 5Pointz as an organization and a cluster of artists is still alive," Flageul said, adding that G&M Realty owner Jerry Wolkoff was looking to capitalize on the name. "It's not his to use and abuse."
Artists and fans had looked to save the Long Island City complex from the wrecking ball, and were angered when the developer decided to paint over much of the artwork there in 2013 ahead of demolition.
But Wolkoff counters that he allowed artists to paint on the buildings for years.
"I have no idea why they're so against me," he said when asked for comment about the petition to stop his trademark effort.
He said the name "5Pointz" refers to the site itself, where he's planning to build two new rental high-rises that will include space for street art. He'll be inviting artists back to work there once the project is complete, he said.
"It’s the building that was 5Pointz, and the artists are coming back," he said. "It will be the same, bigger and better than it was before."
Wolkoff said the site was named 5Pointz as part of a "collaboration," between him and head curator Jonathan Cohen, known as Meres One — though Flageul denies that.
"[Wolkoff] had nothing to do with creating the name 5Pointz," she said.
Documents on the United States Patent and Trademark Office's website show that G&M Realty's application for "5Pointz" was turned down earlier this month because it was deemed too similar to another real estate company's name. The developer has six months to respond or appeal, the document states.
Wolkoff said he hopes to have his future development open in 2017.