A Day Out In The City: Art Culture in Queens

by Zoe Baker-Peng

“The better the mural, the longer it stays up”

Last weekend I decided that I wanted to venture outside of my comfort zone. I had recently heard of a graffiti park in Long Island City, Queens. Grabbing my camera, I set off to discover a side of New York City that I had never experienced before. Here’s a rundown of my daytrip and the journey I undertook so that perhaps you, too, can explore a new area.

5Pointz Aerosol Art Centre
Jackson Avenue and Davis Street, Long Island City, Queens
Subway: Easiest way is to take the 1, 2, or 3 to Times Square (42nd Street). Change to the 7. While on the 7. Get off at Court Square. 5Pointz is directly next to the subway line which runs overhead.
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 10am-8pm
Admission: Free

5Pointz, the “Institute of Higher Burning,” is a large warehouse covered in over 350 graffiti murals, designed and painted by artists from all over the world. The number of artists who have contributed to this urban art project is simply astounding. The name, 5Pointz, signifies New York City’s five boroughs coming together through art, a vision upheld by its owner, Jonathan Cohen (otherwise known as “Meres One”). Cohen, the landlord of this warehouse, wants to turn this venture into a certified graffiti museum along with a school for young graffiti artists who want to improve and learn the tricks of the trade.

I see you, ESB!

5Pointz is truly a site to behold. The murals range from small scenes to full wall illustrations, creating optical mazes that seemingly burst off the walls and into the street. Wall space is so coveted that artists have to obtain a permit from Cohen to leave their mark on the valuable walls, and the policy is “the better the mural, the longer it stays up.” Be sure to walk the entire way around the building as every side offers new views and visual experiences. Look for a glimpse of the Empire State Building, behind the colorful warehouse, on the East side of the building. Keep an eye out for photo shoots or music videos being filmed (a permit must also be obtained for this). Tours are also available.

Hours are listed as Wednesday-Sunday, 10am-8pm, although the murals can always be seen from the street. I would recommend going during the daytime; you don’t want to be alone in the dark at the end of Davis Street. Definitely bring a camera and be sure to look at all areas of the warehouse and its walls – you don’t want to miss installations that are low to the ground or very high up.

Jackson Avenue, at the intersection of 46th Avenue, Long Island City, Queens.
Subway: (same as above for 5Pointz!)
Hours: 12pm-6pm Thursday through Monday. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
Admission: Suggested donation of $5 for students. Free with a MoMA admission ticket (within 14 days of issue date).

The MoMA PS1 (previously P.S.1 Contemporary Art Centre before full affiliation with the Museum of Modern Art in 2010) is an edgy exhibition space, displaying “the most experimental art in the world.” This “artistic laboratory” exhibits exciting, contemporary artworks that certainly exercise your creative mind. Installations are limited at the moment as the museum prepares for EXPO 1, the new exhibition opening May 12th and running until September 2nd.

Zoe Baker-Peng is a sophomore at Barnard and a staff writer and photographer for The Nine Ways of Knowing.

Photo courtesy of MoMA PS1.


One thought on “A Day Out In The City: Art Culture in Queens

  1. I saw this from the 7 train the other day and I had no idea what I was looking at. Thanks for clarifying!

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