Sunday, June 5, 2011

5 Pointz: The Institute of Higher Burnin'

Said to be one of the world's premiere graffiti meccas, 5 Pointz showcases some of the finest pieces of writers from across the globe. Situated in Long Island, New York, at Jackson Avenue and Crane Street, 5 Pointz covers over 200,000 square feet of area and boasts upwards of 350 pieces and murals covering its walls. This massive industrial building complex is painted from end to end, top to bottom and encompasses 2 city blocks in its entirety.

This industrial building has been the location of fine aerosol art going as far back as 1993, when Pat Dilillo co-founded the Phun Phactory Aerosol Art Corporation, a non-profit enterprise to promote graffiti and mural arts. After 9 solid years of operation, Dilillo passed the reigns over to a local writer, Meres One, to carry the torch and keep the spot alive. During its time, the Phun Phactory had attracted writers and artists from around the globe and was one of the most celebrated and contributed graffiti and street art collectives in the world.

Historically, the name Five Points was derived from an intersection several streets in central lower Manhattan in the 19th century. This slummy neighborhood area was well known for its crime, gangs, poverty, and disease. When Meres took over the location and renamed it such  as a signification of the 5 boroughs coming together, but also because of its reputation, it has helped to unite artists an writers worldwide. Nine years later, 5 Pointz is still running strong, with writers and artists coming through on the daily adding to the rich and colorful tapestry that began almost 20 years ago.

But with many spots such as this, 5 Pointz has recently been added to the endangered list. Jerry Wolkoff, the owner of the industrial building announced in March of this year that he plans to redevelop the area into two residential towers for rent and make affordable housing for younger renters who cannot afford the high prices in Manhattan. Its location and the presence of fast transportation in the city would make it and ideal spot for this kind of development. Many in the neighborhood like the idea apparently but a lot of others don't. Many writers and enthusiasts have been voicing their concerns about preserving this location as an historical building not only for the hip hop and graff community, but for Long Island City as well. A facebook page and petition was started to raise awareness and to raise support but more names are needed. Check out the facebook page, join it, and sign the petition.

Here in Montreal we've had our own struggles in keeping things like Under Pressure and Meeting of Styles (Can You Rock?) alive over the years too. It's not an easy job to keep such collectives running, let along operating from year to year. We have a hard enough time running UP and MOS for a weekend once a year, this cat has been running it straight since 2001. Spots like this don't come around too often, and they are even harder to maintain, and Meres does it on bare minimums so reach out and give your support for a good cause.

We spent a good few hours snapping shots, chatting with some writers piecing, and just taking in the scene. There were a lot of big names on the walls and some fantastic pieces and productions to take in and check out. I could have spent the entire day there just chillin' but we had a lot of ground to try and cover so a few hours was all we could get in. Big shout out to Meres for keeping this spot alive, for being a great host, and for taking his time to give us a tour around the site and a little history. Here are the rest of my pics of 5 Pointz, I hope that next time I'm coming through that It'll still be around.

 More from Montreal coming soon. Stay posted.


  1. My late Husband Michael IZ THE WIZ Martin was not the co-founder of the phun phactory. I currently have pending litigation against pat di lillo and the phun phactory for fraud and herrassment. Please update your website. Thank you, Katie Lucev-Martin (Mrs. IZ)

  2. My apologies, I was working off of media sources I thought to be reliable. I guess not. I have updated the post and anything related. I hope I have not offended.

  3. I beg to differ...

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Dear Murr, sorry for the late reply. I have been busy throwing the trash out. They know who they are. :-)

    I am not offended at all. My best wishes to you. Katie Lucev-Martin - Mrs. IZ