The Spirit of 5 Pointz

Last week, I talked about the death of the legendary graffiti haven in Queens, 5 Pointz. This week, I wanted to do a small update-post about the spirit of this iconic spot. Good news: it lives on. Over the past few years, artists have been making their mark on another building merely a few blocks away from the original 5 Pointz graveyard. It seems to be an active building with employees working in it, but so far, everyone seems to be cool about it. Hopefully over the next few years, this will be a new spot for artists from other countries to visit and let their creativity be shown. If it ultimately fails, this new spot gave me the reassurance that a new spot will emerge, somewhere in the world. Although nothing will be as iconic as the original 5 Pointz, it’s heartwarming to see the soul of the movement live on. The power of passion will always outlive the power of money.

5 Pointz: The Institute of Higher Burnin’

The place you’re currently reading about only exists as a memory. Unfortunately, the fate of this art center is one of the most tragic stories of gentrification I may have ever seen. Decades of graffiti history reduced to rubble for the sake of “affordable housing and retail space.” When I was a kid, every time took the 7 train, I was always amazed at the graffiti I’d see on the building of 5 Pointz before going underground. The mural of the Notorious B.I.G. is iconic, and that image is burned into my brain. This place helped form my love for hip-hop as child. Little did I know, this place was also known as the graffiti center of the entire world. Artists from every corner of the planet would come to leave their mark on any inch of the building they could find. It was called “5 Pointz” because it was the point at which artists from all five boroughs could come and express their love for art and street culture. I’ll never forget when the announcement and eventual destruction of the building came to fruition. It was the pride of Queens, and the pride of perhaps thousands of people around the world, and its physically gone forever. It couldn’t even go away respectfully, one morning, New York City woke up to see white paint covering a portion of the beautiful art, even though demolition wasn’t scheduled for several more months. It was a huge slap to the face, but we fought back by re-drawing over the white paint. But it was hopeless. There’s really no happy ending to this story, but next week I’ll write about a possible resurgence of a new graffiti mecca, right next door to our beloved 5 Pointz. Unfortunately, the urban exploration bug didn’t bite me yet, so I never fully explored 5 Pointz. But I was just getting my feet wet as a photographer, so I snapped some shots on my first camera before it was destroyed. These photos are some of my very first ever.