Swastika drawn on Grand Ave
by Heather Senison
Apr 03, 2012 | 479 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A swastika spray-painted on a building on Grand Avenue is just the latest incident in a rash of hate graffiti in the 104th Precinct.

A swastika appeared sometime before Wednesday morning on a metal door frame at 69-38 Grand Avenue.

Swastikas have popped up in the neighborhood recently, with another found on Trinity St. Andrews Lutheran Church at 60-06 60th Avenue in February.

When this newspaper brought the offensive symbol to the attention of Michael Terry, president of the Maspeth Chamber of Commerce, he said he's noticed an unfortunate upswing in graffiti vandals in the area recently.

“It's never a happy time to see anti-Semitic or racist symbols coming up,” he said, examining the graffiti drawn across the door.

Terry said he will bring the incident up at the Chamber's meeting this week.

The swastika is drawn in blue paint marker over another tag, “MR,” which is written in dozens of places along Grand Avenue. In graffiti culture, it is an insult to draw over someone else's tag.

Gary Giordano, district manager for Community Board 5, said the 104th Precinct has one of the highest graffiti arrest-rates in the city.

“But yet the vandals continue to do graffiti in this precinct where a lot of arrests are being made,” he said. “You would think that they would get the message.”

Giordano provided insight into why he thinks New York City's graffiti epidemic persists – although he admitted that he does not know what is going through someone's mind when they draw a swastika or other offensive symbol.

“I think that there's some sort of unfortunate thrill with avoiding getting caught,” he said. “And I also think that some of it has to do with a lack of self-esteem and they can get a name for themselves by doing this and bragging about it.”

In response to the incident, Congressional candidates Council members Elizabeth Crowley and Dan Halloran, along with Assembly members Grace Meng and Rory Lancman released a statement denouncing the anti-Semitic activity.

"We stand together to condemn this thoughtless act of hateful expression and to declare that it has no place in our community, in our borough or in our city," they said. "An attack on one faith, one race, one ethnicity, one gender or one sexual orientation is an attack on all of us and it should be treated as such.

"Despite this awful display," they added, "we can take comfort in the fact that the efforts of small-minded bigots to intimidate and divide us are no match for the virtues of tolerance and unity that define our great city and the people who live in it."

A representative from the 104th Precinct said last Wednesday officers responded to the location and saw the swastika along with an abundance of other graffiti.

The building owner was contacted and a report was generated, according to police.

The marking was taken down as of Tuesday, April 10th.

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