5 Pointz: Before and After the Whitewashing
For the second time this week supporters and artists gathered at 5 Pointz in Long Island City, but rather than to rally for a last-ditch fight against the developers trying to raze the building, the crowd was there to mourn. In the middle of the night and with police protection, workers painted over nearly every single piece of art on both the outside and interior of the building.
Marie Cecile Flageul, one of the leading voices of 5 Pointz, found out about the whitewashing through a phone call at 6 a.m. Racing out of her home, she and curator Meres One were detained and temporarily prevented from entering the premises. "The police here were under the impression that we weren't allowed to be in the loading dock," Flageul said at the rally later that evening. "I didn't have my ID, no socks, no underwear ... I just ran out of my house." After their attorney called the precinct, she and One were released and allowed access, but at that point there was little to be done. "This is Wolcoff's masterpiece, " she said through her tears.
Longtime 5 Pointz supporter Hans von Rittern found out what happened while on the job. "I've been a tour guide for eight years, and whenever I do tours I never tell them this is going to be a stop," he said. "This morning, I picked up some German guests from the Queen Mary II in Brooklyn. They kept asking, 'Why aren't we going into Manhattan?' I told them, 'No, I've got a surprise for you.' I'm telling the guests how great 5 Pointz is, and my driver starts saying, 'Oh my God, oh my God!' I turn around, and I see the entire building is washed white. I just broke out in tears. The people on the bus couldn't quite understand what they were seeing."
Throughout the night, supporters brought posters and artwork to hang on the walls and held a candlelight vigil. While a few tagged the walls with paint pens and markers, for the most part, the white paint was left untouched. Meres only allowed a few people into the building, worried that the police might try to make further arrests "on some bullshit charge."
On the following pages, see what 5 Pointz used to look like, contrasted with its now-white walls.