Developers Who Razed 5Pointz Seek to Trademark Its Name

Expensive condos to be named after graffiti mecca.

Art from 5Pointz by Kid Lew, as included in Google's Street Art Project.

As 5Pointz, Long Island City’s former graffiti mecca, is being methodically demolished to make way for expensive new condos, the developers who destroyed the complex are now looking to trademark its name.

Back in March, developers G&M Realty, headed by Jerry Wolkoff, applied to the United States Patent and Trademark Office to trademark “5Pointz,” in the hopes of keeping the name for the two planned high-rise apartment buildings. Though that initial application has since been denied for being too similar to an existing trademark, Wolkoff has until next month to appeal.

Last November, as activists pushed to save 5Pointz, which featured artwork by some 1,500 graffiti artists, Wolkoff preemptively whitewashed the complex in the dead of the night, effectively ruining the complex’s cultural and artistic value. Demolition began in August (see: “Destruction of Graffiti Mecca 5Pointz Is Underway“).

5Pointz being demolished.

5Pointz being demolished.

For the artists whose work has been lost, the proposed trademark is less an homage than a slap in the face. “It’s ironic that the same corporation which single-handedly destroyed all the artwork known as 5Pointz is trying to capitalize on its name,” 5Pointz spokesperson Marie Cecile Flageul told DNA Info. “The disrespect continues,” added Jonathan Cohen, better known as Meres One, who was the project’s curator.

Wolkoff argues that the name refers to the building, not the artwork, even though Meres One is thought to have coined the name in 2002, when graffiti artists were given the freedom to use the complex as a canvas.

Moreover, Wolkoff is intent on keeping graffiti a visible part of the site’s next incarnation, dedicating two walls to street art (see “New 5Pointz Apartments Will Reserve Wall Space for Graffiti.”) “I’m bringing the artists back,” he promised. “Most of the people will be back, they’ll be back and they’ll be happy and it’ll be better.”

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Article topics