A property developer has been ordered to pay nearly €5.5 million to a group of graffiti artists after destroying their work without warning.
The street artists took to court after 45 separate artworks were whitewashed as a precursor to the redevelopment of a site.
Judge Frederic Block, of the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York, said the artwork in Long Island City was a “prominent tourist attraction” and the public was robbed of a chance to “say its goodbyes … and gaze at the formidable works of aerosol art for the last time”.
In a 100-page decision, he said developer Gerald Wolkoff should have waited 10 months until he had acquired permits for the demolition.
The judge awarded $150,000 for each of the destroyed artworks, for a total of $6.75 million — about €5.5 million in total.
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