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5Pointz graffiti artists awarded $6.7 million for illegally destroyed mural

Big day for the culture.

Ralph Bristout // Flickr

A Brooklyn judge ordered a developer to pay $6.7 million to 21 graffiti artists whose works were illegally whitewashed in 2013 at the 5Pointz complex in Long Island City, Queens.

On Monday (February 12), Judge Frederic Block sided with the 21 artists behind the famous street art, calling the 5Pointz warehouse "a prominent tourist attraction" and ruled that developer Gerald Wolkoff's decision to wipe away the art held the artists back from delivering a "wonderful tribute" from the public that they "richly deserved." It was five years ago when Wolkoff painted over the iconic landmark without warning to make way for condos. In November, a trial concluded in Federal District Court in Brooklyn with a jury deciding that Wolkoff broke the law after he literally whitewashed the dozens of murals at the complex. In court Monday, Judge Block called the whitewashing "an act of pure pique and revenge," and ordered Wolkoff to pay the artists $6.7 million in damages.

The destruction of 5Pointz is what some people are calling an act of gentrification.

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