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5 Pointz – the heart of street art in NYC

Written by 15 February 2013 4 Comments

New York is a city of superlatives – a place where everything is considered bigger, better, and brighter. It’s no surprise the city is home to one of the largest street art collections in the world: 5 Pointz. While graffiti and New York may be associated with dark backstreets somewhere deep in the Bronx, this world famous street art Mecca is located in an old warehouse complex in Queens.



5 Pointz


The brightly colored landmark is hard to miss. When traveling into Queens on the elevated 7 train, the graffiti-covered building with its colorful tags, symbols, faces and grimaces is one of the first things that will capture the passenger’s eye. 5 Pointz is less of a museum or gallery but more of a living collage of aerosol art covering the walls of the old factory building in Long Island City. The complex was first established in the early 1990s to discourage graffiti vandalism by offering a site where artists can legally work and experiment – rather than illegally tag subways or fascades.






To get permission to create a piece at 5 Pointz, artists are required to submit samples of their work for curation. The rules are simple: You are allowed to paint whatever you want as long as there is no explicit language or imagery. After a certain amount of time, the walls are erased to make room for new pieces. 5 Pointz has become a global attraction over the past decades – not only for artists but also photographers, filmmakers, musicians, and of course tourists.




Depending on who sees it, 5 Pointz can either be a living art collection or just an uninspired bunch of graffiti tags. Why not check this place out yourself? 5 Pointz is located near the Court House Square station, only three stops into Queens on the 7 train (45-46 Davis Street, Long Island City). It’s recommended to not procrastinate a visit: Recent articles report 5 Pointz is likely to be demolished by September 2013 to make room for residential buildings.

All photos by Cordula Schaefer.

Cordula Schaefer Cordula Schaefer is a photography enthusiast who loves to venture out to explore new places and hardly ever leaves the house without a camera. A New Yorker at heart, she is especially fond of city trips and has a soft spot for beautiful beachscapes. She currently bases herself in Berlin and keeps the visual documents of her travels at Cordugram.

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  • Nicole said:

    Beautiful photos! I want to visit there. =) In LA, the only thing we have close to that is the LA River, but they covered that up. =/

  • TravelFit Adventures said:

    Thanks for sharing this! A must visit for certain. There is a city in Chile – Valparaiso, that boasts amazing graffiti art throughout the entire city. Set upon a hill overlooking the ocean it’s a city of amazing sights! Here is a album full of pics of “Valpo” as the Chileans affectionately call it.

  • » Travel Carousel (II) Travel on a Budget said:

    […] foto’s… – Nog zo’n bucket list-bestemming: New York! De Travelettes blogden over gave street art bij 5 Pointz. – Nooit meer je bagage kwijt, handgemaakt en stylish verantwoord: deze bagagelabels op Etsy. – […]

  • Sorriso @ GAEM NFP said:

    I used to pass by this spot to and from Astoria on the N/R line. I don’t know if it’s still there, but there was a piece that paid tribute to Biggie Smalls that really stood out from the other pieces. For a city that used to be infamous for sprayed up trains, it’s getting more and more difficult to find eye catching graffiti on the fly. The city’s visual landscape is increasingly sterile and the 1% has little interest in supporting community mural programs to infuse vibrancy into dull surroundings.

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