The 200,000-square-foot factory building that has become a veritable museum of New York's graffiti culture will soon be no more.
The space is known as 5 Pointz, and it's home to a vibrant art community in Long Island City. But the days are numbered for the taggers of 5 Pointz as the New York City Council has unanimously approved a plan to demolish it and construct two large apartment complexes in its place. The project will cost $400 million, but the artists who love it say the real cost is the piece of cultural history that will be lost.
In the video above, HuffPost Live's Ricky Camilleri visits 5 Pointz and talks with a few regulars about losing their haven for artistic expression. One of them is Jonathan Cohen, who paints graffiti under the name Meres One and curates the 5 Pointz site.
"The sad part is it's another example of gentrifying the city and building up these high rises and getting rid of the few things in New York that are available, that are free, that are for the people, by the people," he said.
There may still be hope for the graffiti mecca. The artists of 5 Pointz are fighting the demolition with a lawsuit that claims copyright ownership over their work, which has been painted on nearly every inch of the building's surface. Still, the artists' lawyer Jeannine Chanes said there's a real risk that everything they have created could be lost.
"My clients have applied for landmark status, but that takes a long time, and right now this artwork is really in jeopardy," Chanes said.
Graffiti took center stage in the 1983 film "Wild Style," which was called the first hip-hop motion picture. Legendary graffiti artist Lee Quinones, who starred in "Wild Style," stopped by the HuffPost Live studio on Oct. 15 to discuss graffiti's place in America's cultural consciousness and the importance of 5 Pointz in keeping the art form alive. Hear from a couple of graffiti legends in the clip below: