5Pointz Destruction Delayed Due To VARA Law


I didn’t try to veil my opinion in my recent post about 5Pointz closing. I am one of the many who are disappointed in the decision to tear down the graffiti-covered building in favor of a new luxury condo. But before we all continue to mourn the giant art installation of a warehouse, it appears as though the lawyer for 5Pointz, Jeannine Chanes, may have found a loophole. According to ANIMAL, Judge Frederic Block ordered a halt to the demolition of the building by its owners in the form of a restraining order this week.The Visual Arts Rights Act (VARA) of 1990 contains a clause that prohibits the destruction or alteration of works of art that are inextricably installed on a building, unless authorized to do so, presumably by the artists behind the work or community at large. Chanes’ use of this law implies that 5Pointz may be able to stop the building’s owner from making the demolition decision in this type of case. We’ll keep you in the loop on how this develops.

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Graffiti's Unofficial Museum, 5Pointz

5Pointz Will Officially Be Destroyed And Replaced With Luxury Condo


It was more than two years ago that I wrote about the possibility of 5Pointz, an artistic hub of a warehouse owned by the Wolkoff family, being demolished. I called the article 5Pointz Is Coming Down And It’s A Shame and I ranted about the pure audacity and soullessness of anyone who would rather see condos in its place.

All of that vitriol has been revived in me today upon learning that the City Council made a final decision to demolish the Long Island City building. That final decision was influenced in part by councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who was previously opposed to demolishing the building, but changed his tune and helped damn the beautiful space to hell with comments about how there’s “not a way to save the building” and “the building is privately owned; the owners can knock that down and build a very large building.” (These quotes are from Animal.)

It’s not that he was necessarily wrong. Maybe the Wolkoff family really was going to tear 5Pointz down no matter what. It’s that the effort to preserve 5Pointz deserved support from our leaders.

%Slideshow-80364%The “deal” struck last night isn’t a deal at all –- unless you consider developers agreeing to allow curated graffiti on their shiny new buildings as an exploitation of 5Pointz under the guise of “keeping the 5Pointz legacy alive” a deal. That’s right, the residential buildings that will take the place of 5Pointz will so generously grant artists the ability to paint on designated panels and other areas in a clean-cut, not-at-all-representative-of-5Pointz way.

Look, despite my unabashed admiration of street art, I don’t consider myself a proponent of vandalism. But this is a Big Money way to add insult to the injury of local artistic culture and no matter the “special painting areas” that will be allocated to approved artists, the fact remains: 5Pointz is going to be destroyed and replaced by a luxury condo and I don’t think a luxury condo, no matter how you paint it, can preserve the 5Pointz legacy.

5 U.S. Beaches You Can Get to Without a Car

Beaches with a car - Chicago's Oak Street Beach
Flickr, Tom Gill

Summer may be winding down, but there are still a few weekends left to spend at the beach. Rather than sit in traffic or rent an expensive car, you can ride public transportation to many beaches in the U.S. Seasonal routes are especially likely to be popular, so go early and pack light.

Boston – CapeFLYER train to Cape Cod
Reintroduced this summer, the CapeFLYER train goes every weekend from Boston out to Hyannis, connecting to ferries for Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard and buses up and down Cape Cod. Fares are from $18 from South Station, with a few bucks’ savings if you buy round trip. You can bring a bike, get concessions onboard and get free Wi-Fi. The train will run through Columbus Day, October 14.

Chicago – El train to Oak Street Beach
Not everyone thinks of this city smack in the midwest as a beach town, but thanks to Lake Michigan, there are more beaches around Chicago than Bermuda. There are many to choose from, but Oak Street Beach is the most central with the most spectacular skyline view. It’s a few blocks from the El train at Clark and Division, though a bus up Lake Shore Drive will get you there closer. Beaches are free and open until Labor Day, but you can enjoy the water views year round. CTA fares are $2.25, with deductions for transit cards.Los Angeles – Big Blue Bus to Santa Monica
While it’s a major car city, there are ways to get to Santa Monica and Venice Beach from downtown Los Angeles without wheels. The Big Blue Bus serves all of Santa Monica and connects to Venice Beach as well. Fares are just $1, with day passes available. LA Metro has rapid buses to Venice Beach, with fares from $1.50. A new light rail line will connect Santa Monica to downtown LA, getting you on the beach even faster.

New York – A train to Far Rockaway
New Yorkers are lucky to have lots of options for sand and swimming, from Brooklyn‘s Brighton Beach to Long Island‘s Jones Beach, and Rockaway Beach in Queens has long been an urban favorite. While it suffered a lot from last year’s superstorm Sandy, it’s back in a big way, with many boardwalk concessions reopened and a new boutique hotel. A $2.50 subway fare gets you there on the A train, and there’s also a weekend-only ferry from downtown Manhattan if you’d like a more scenic (and spendy, at $20 one way) ride.

Washington, D.C. – DC2NY bus to Delaware beaches
While a bit much for a day trip, budget bus company DC2NY offers seasonal shuttles to Delaware‘s Rehoboth (one of Dr. Beach‘s favorites in the country) and Dewey beaches from Washington, as well as Wilmington and New York. The trip takes about 2½ hours, leaving Friday night and weekend mornings through Labor Day. Fares are $39 each way, but you do get Wi-Fi, a power outlet and a bottle of water.

What are your favorite beaches to visit without a car?

Major League Midsummer Classic No Cheap Ballgame

major league
Eric Molina/Flickr

Major League Baseball‘s All-Star Game is an annual game between players from the National and American Leagues, this year to be played in Queens, New York. Baseball fans will come from around the world to Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, spending as much as $1,437 per night for a hotel and up to $20,000 for a ticket.

There are less expensive tickets; online source Ticket Liquidator has a view from the cheap seats starting at $235 each right now. Assuming ticket price does not knock attending the All-Star game out of the ballpark, less expensive hotels are on deck too.

Checking in with hotel search engine Room 77, travelers can expect to pay an average $286 per night during All Star Week. They have the 3.5-star LaGuardia Plaza Hotel, located 2 miles from Citi Field, for $120 per night. Or make a vacation out of it at the Ritz Carlton Central Park for $608 per night.

At the park, major league expenses continue with the cost of food and beverages to get through nine innings. Offering a hot dog for $6.25, Citi Field ranks high in a recent CNNMoney report on which ballparks charge the most.On the topic of ballpark food, it could be worse though. Rangers Ballpark, home of the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas, has a $26 hamburger among other offerings, as we see in this video:

Did A Worker Really Take Airport Stairs On Pizza Joint Joyride?

Paul Lowry, Flickr

A La Guardia Airport worker was spotted cruising in a Southwest Airlines terminal stair car down a busy street in Queens around lunchtime on Saturday, and the New York Post reports he made a stop at a pizza joint along the way.

The Post quotes a DMV spokeswoman who says the stair car isn’t legal to drive on a public street. The story was a hot topic in the news this morning, including on NBC’s Today Show. However, a later report put out by USA Today says the Post’s story has spun a picture way out of proportion (and in the picture, there’s no evidence of pizza). Southwest tells the news outlet the Post’s report is “completely” untrue, and that the worker was just driving the stair car to a maintenance office close to the airport.

“He was simply taking the equipment to their office for their standard upkeep and standard maintenance,” Mainz tells USA Today. “So nothing out of the ordinary. It (the stair car) had all the proper plates and tags they need to do so. He certainly was not going to get pizza.”