Famed 5 Pointz graffiti spot in Queens whitewashed by developer

People look over the graffiti on a giant

People look over the graffiti on a giant warehouse building complex, know as "5 Pointz", in Long Island City. (Aug. 16, 2013) Photo Credit: Justin Lane

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Long Island City's "graffiti mecca" is no more.

Early Tuesday, the famed 5 Pointz warehouse was painted white in preparation for a planned demolition.

Property owner Gerald Wolkoff said he thought the 3 a.m. whitewashing was the best way to avoid a confrontation with graffiti artists.

"I did it like a Band-Aid -- in one shot, right off," he said.

Wolkoff plans to tear down the building early next year to make way for a redevelopment project featuring luxury condos, retail space and a park.

Wolkoff had allowed graffiti artists to transform the warehouse with their aerosol cans and imaginations -- a colorful, freewheeling tradition that lasted about two decades. The roughly 350 color murals decorating 5 Pointz drew tourists and artists from around the world, according to its website.

Artists and supporters had launched an online petition to preserve 5 Pointz by winning landmark status. That drive now appears moot, since the art is gone.

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"I had tears in my eyes" during the whitewashing, Wolkoff said, noting that he was often awed by the beauty the graffiti artists created.

Wolkoff has promised to create a graffiti space in the new development.

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