Shaking up Graffiti in New York City

by Jeff Coltin
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Daze spraying

Jeff Coltin, WFUV News

Amidst books, museum exhibition, the aerosol art icon 5Pointz is set to be torn down.

With London-based graffiti artist Banksy painting walls all over New York City, October's been a big month for graffiti.

The Museum of the City of New York in East Harlem is helping. Sunday afternoon, renowned graffiti artists Daze and Lady Pink set up on the museum's terrace and spray painted two huge canvasses. They were promoting a new book, "City as Canvas" which documents the early days of the graffiti art movement. 

It was a beautiful day. Families watched them paint and young fans got autographs from the two legends of the genre. The Museum's opening a major graffiti exhibition with their works and many others in February.

But the future doesn't look so bright across the East River in Long Island City. Last week, the City Council approved the rezoning of graffiti-Mecca 5Pointz.  That paves the way for a new luxury apartment building where the every-changing art-covered warehouse once stood. Some say it could be razed by the end of the year. 

Daze said graffiti culture's been dealt a serious blow.

"If you had a friend that was coming into town and wanted to paint something legally, you could do it there," he said. "It's a shame. Over the years it had become a tourist destination as well."

Over on the other side of the terrace, Lady Pink wasn't as worried. She said it was never a place for the underground "vandals" that keep the culture alive.

"And certainly they don't care to paint in the daylight. They were not frequenting 5Pointz," she said. "So the actual graffiti culture of New York remains untouched."

Still, Lady Pink says it's a great loss for the artists.  With her spray cans, she was painting an ode to the old warehouse.

[More photos to come, courtesy of MCNY!]

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WFUV's Jeff Coltin with the story

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