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Judge: Developer Must Pay $6.7 Million for Whitewashing 5 Pointz Graffiti

A Brooklyn federal court judge on Monday ordered a developer to pay $6.7 million to 21 artists for whitewashing their graffiti on the side of the iconic 5 Pointz warehouse in Queens in 2013. Developer Gerald Wolkoff had erased 45 works of graffiti art overnight, sabotaging an effort by the artists to get the building recognized as a landmark and save it from demolition. The 21 graffiti artists behind the famous street art sued over the move, and Judge Frederic Block sided with them on Monday, saying the 5 Pointz warehouse “was a prominent tourist attraction.” “The public would undoubtedly have thronged to say its goodbyes” before the demolition and “gaze at the formidable works of aerosol art for the last time,” he said. The warehouse was demolished in 2014, and the site is now home to two high-rise apartment buildings. Wolkoff’s decision to wipe away the art prematurely deprived the artists of a “wonderful tribute” from the public that they “richly deserved,” Block said.