New York State of Mind Amoeblog #57: 5 Pointz Whitewashed Over, WFMU Record Fair, CitiBike Update

Posted by Billyjam, November 20, 2013 12:38pm | Post a Comment

Despite the fact that it was clear that the battle to save 5 Pointz was lost and that the demolition of the NYC graffiti mecca in Long Island City, Queens was inevitable - expected to begin early 2014 - New Yorkers and graffiti fans alike were in utter shock yesterday morning to awaken and discover that the beloved aerosol art soaked building had been quietly whitewashed over in its entirety overnight as in photo left.

On Friday last a Brooklyn judge announced to lawyers fighting for the building's preservation that he could not and would not grant an injunction to prevent demolition of the graffiti-covered factory building as soon as late December. For years owner Jerry Wolkoff had allowed, under the curation of Jonathan "MERES One" Cohen, the factory building to be completely adorned in aerosol art but now wanted to knock down the famous building and in its place build two big high-rise luxury condos.  But, despite the fact that Wolkoff and his son David (who is also on the title of the building) had graciously allowed aerosol artists to use the building as their collective canvas for many years, Wolkoff had become art enemy number one since announcing his plans to demolish what had become an internationally recognized art mecca. Obviously he knew he would continue to face strong opposition by artists and art lovers and hence why, I am assuming, the rush to whitewash the building with no pre-announcement late Monday.

As a lifelong graffiti fan and a fan/visitor of 5 Pointz and Phun Phactory (as the public graffiti was known before morphing into 5 Pointz) I am personally extremely sad to see this incredible public art exhibit go away forever and I will miss my weekly habit of hopping off the 7 train at Court Square stop to stroll around 5 Pointz and check out all the latest new pieces. I will always remember the occasions I stopped 5 Pointz like on August 11th this year for the 40th anniversary of hip-hop. Furthermore I consider the painting over the art on the walls of 5 Pointz no different from someone sneaking into the nearby MoMA curated PS1 and whitewashing all the art on display there. And I agree with those who say that this is yet another sign of big money and "development" yet again dominating all else.  However with that said rather than be mad at owner Wolkoff for making a shrewd business move at this time, I am instead grateful that for all the years that he did allow the art to exist on his building. But no art at 5 Pointz does not mean no street in NYC. Just as the whitewashing of the New York City subway system years ago - also once adorned with graffiti - did not kill off aerosol art in NYC neither will the demolition of 5 Pointz. But I am sure gonna miss that spot.

Due to the devastation of Superstorm Sandy this time last year, WFMU's famed annual big weekend long record fair got cancelled at the last minute disappointing record collectors. The New Jersey freeform radio station, at which I am a DJ/volunteer, did hold a make-up, smaller scale, one day record fair/concert at the Bell House in Brooklyn a few months later but, while good, it was nothing compared to the large-scale, weekend-long WFMU Record Fair held at Manhattan's large Metropolitan Pavilion that has built a huge dedicated following including lots of people with Amoeba bags and T-shirts  like Amoeba-loving New Yorker Andres pictured left at a previous year Record Fair.  Hence WFMU supporters and music collectors (many of whom travel from faraway) are all rejoicing the return this year, Friday November 22nd to Sunday Nov. 24th, of the WFMU Record Fair to the cavernous  30,000 square feet sized Metropolitan Pavilion at 125 West 18th Street (near Sixth Ave.) in New York City.

Accurately billed as "the best record shopping weekend of the year" it offers collectors a wide variety of vendors/tables to pore over for vinyl, CDs, tapes, DVDs, posters, etc. plus live performances, film screenings, and live radio broadcasts from the venue. During my show on Friday evening I will have Marco Polo, whose new guest heavy album PA2: The Director's Cut is selling well at Amoeba, as one of my guests. On Saturday afternoon between 3-6pm during WFMU DJ Terre T's The Cherry Blossom Clinic program there will be live performances by Shannon And The Clams and Liquor Store. For full listings of all the other performances and radio broadcasts and vendors visit the official site for WFMU Record Fair that happens on Friday, November 22nd, from 7-10pm, and on Saturday and Sunday, the 23rd and 24th, from 10am to 7pm. Admission is $7; earlybirds can enter beginning at 4pm on Friday for $25, which includes re-admission all weekend. More info.

As we head into the first winter since New York City's Citi Bike program began several months ago many users of the extremely popular bike share program, that has 6,000 bikes spread across 332 docking stations, are wondering if the service will be suspended for the cold months? "The answer is -- they’ll be available except in cases of extreme weather. A chilly 10 minute bike ride still beats the heck out of a frigid 30 minute walk," said organizers of the program in a recent email to members that included statistics proving just how popular the new bike-share program, that faced resistance at first, truly is.  Since its late Spring launch Citi Bike riders have taken over 5 million trips and averaged over 35,000 trips each and every day. Approx half a million individuals have registered for use of the bikes either for daily ($10) use or annual membership ($100) making the NYC program more popular than any other city's bike share program - including London England. More Citi Bike info here.

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5 Pointz Whitewashed Over (4), Graffiti (52), Wfmu Record Fair (8), New York State Of Mind (92), Ny State Of Mind Amoeblog (63), New York City (101), Nyc (85)