5Pointz owner Wolkoff: “It’s my building, I can paint on it”

From left: Jerry Wolkoff and the newly-repainted 5Pointz
From left: Jerry Wolkoff and the newly-repainted 5Pointz

Why did Jerry Wolkoff, an owner and developer of 5Pointz, whitewash over the graffiti at the Long Island City site? Watching “the pieces go down piece by piece would be torturous,” he said.

With the option of imploding the building outlawed by New York City code, he told New York Magazine that he thought it best to just “go in and paint it one morning, and it’s over with.”

He cited a deep love for the building and the art atop it and called opposition to his firm G&M Realty’s plans to replace the complex with two rental towers “misguided,” and said he told police to be at the whitewashing because he didn’t want a confrontation.

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But he pooh-poohed opponents’ renewed push to designate the site a landmark, saying it was something the artists would never get.

“They don’t want that anyway, they want to keep painting,” Wolkoff said. “With landmarks you can’t do anything. With the new building they can come back and keep expressing themselves.”

His new 47- and 41-story rental apartment buildings, Wolkoff said, will have “60-foot walls for them to come in and express themselves.” [NYM]Julie Strickland