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.
"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.