5 Pointz Aerosol Art Center, Inc or , 'The Institute of Higher Burnin' (aka 5 Ptz)
I first came across 5 Pointz around 2002 when I moved to New York City and felt I had to start photographing it straight away. In the beginning I was using film and was quite broke so I had to be frugal, and the collection started slow.
I moved to LIC in early 2009 from another part of Queens. I lived on Crescent street and 43rd avenue which was very close to the legendary 5 Pointz center and enabled me to visit it quite frequently. It was considered to be "the world's premier graffiti mecca" which sadly was demolished to make way for the gentrification of the area in 2014.
The building originally housed the Crane street studios where artists could rent out below rate spaces but the largest part which housed the studios was closed after a serious accident involving the collapse of a fire exit. The space was still used afterwards for various commercial entities and although it was unclear to me what exactly was going on inside the walls, I would sometimes see evidence of food manufacturing and storage of hot dog carts.
I often visited the site in the dead of night when most of the cars and traffic were not milling around, but also even in winter snow, to get a different feel and to try and capture a unique perspective. Many nights I would be sitting alone in the dark with just my camera and tripod waiting for the long exposures to complete.