For a few weeks there have been multiple ways in and out of 5 Pointz, and all of them are pretty obvious. From statements given to the press by the owner and the general lax security at 5 Pointz, I would say that no one involved in the property actually cared to keep people out. Perhaps it is guilt that keeps the 5 Pointz doors swinging open like they never have before? I have been visiting off-beat New York destinations for a while, 5 Pointz was not high on the list of challenging locations to enter.
The place is 100% abandoned, except some graffiti artists have been writing on the inside and the roofs for a few weeks now. There were large amounts of trash littered throughout the building, mostly in the first floor areas that previously belonged to a clothing sweat shop and an Asian DVD/computer repair store. Some of the store fronts are also loaded with goods.
The amount of trash decreases as you ascend the higher floors. 5 Pointz had typical abandoned building smells. The mold smell is pervasive in many areas, the basement quarters have thick air not really designed for sustaining life. I only saw one rat in my visits, although recently the City has installed rat bait traps around the exterior perimeter of the building.
5 Pointz didn't have any specific sentimental meaning to me. Honestly, I preferred the graffiti that was a few blocks away at the old West Chemical factory. That building is closed now. There is something about permitted graffiti that makes it less authentic. You can see a good example of this by noting that the 5 Pointz exterior looked as if it was carved out of graph paper with its space distribution. Real graffiti has no delegates and is also competitive.
When 5 Pointz was up and running, there used to be NO TRESPASSING VIOLATORS WILL BE PROSECUTED signs posted among the art. That doesn't speak well to graffiti. I do appreciate the art that was there and I will admit that many of the styles were superb—but at the end of the day, it wasn't "graffiti" per se. West Chemical was real graffiti, but no tourist ever went there. I'm more sad that the factory building is going to be demolished and more glass towers built in its place than I am about any loss of permitted graffiti.
Dock Ellis is a Queens photographer who unlike most Americans, does not have a smart phone and does not subscribe to social media. Instead, he likes to go into active subway tunnels, where he feels that less contemporary nonsense can reach him. Abandoned buildings offer Dock a similar level of protection. He has never voted for Michael Bloomberg and he would prefer if the destruction being waged against the New York heritage would stop immediately—particularly in Queens and Brooklyn where the streets are increasingly resembling fun house mirrors. Because of this, he feels compelled to photograph old structures in the hopes that some day a child may know that New York was not always so boring. He does not like glass buildings nor does he approve of the High Line. "There goes the neighborhood," he said in 2009 when the elevated freight line was converted into a tourist eyesore.