The demise of 5 Pointz, which was whitewashed by developers in the middle of the night on Tuesday, hit graffiti artists and enthusiasts hard yesterday. As one spokeswoman for the artspace lamented, "This is the biggest rag and disrespect in the history of graffiti."

While some say that 5 Pointz, a 20-year-old institution, wasn't truly a venue for real graffiti (permits were needed, the art was mainstream), street art expert Eric Felisbret told the NY Times, "The fact that they destroyed the art before they razed the building, it’s a really big slap in the face. So many people put so much passion and energy into it." Developer Jerry Wolkoff, whose plans for the Long Island City lot include luxury apartments, insisted he was just ripping the Band-Aid in one clear move.

"To watch the pieces go down piece by piece by piece would be torturous," he told Daily Intel. "In New York, you can't implode a building. So let me just go in and paint it in one morning, and it's over with. I had tears in my eyes while I was doing it. I know it seems like a bitter pill to take, but it's medicine. I didn't like it, but it's going to get me better. It's best for them, and it's best for me."

Look at what was "best" in these before and after photographs.