Hate has hit midtown Manhattan in the form of four swastikas graffitied onto 6th Avenue storefronts — the latest in a string of anti-Semitic incidents across the city over the last four months.
Several stores on 6th Avenue across the street from Bryant Park were vandalized on Sunday with a total of four 12-by-12 inch swastikas found on multiple glass storefronts, police officials told Runnin’ Scared earlier today. The vandalized addresses were 1071, 1073 and 1079 6th Avenue, which include a store called Books Kinokuniya and the clothing store Penguin. Police say the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the vandalism.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and a small chorus of angry City Council members and Jewish leaders stood on the opposite side of the street on 41st this afternoon for a press conference decrying the hate crimes and calling for action.
“This kind of disgusting, disgraceful act has no place in New York,” the borough president said to a group of reporters standing on the edge of Bryant Park. “We’re here to say very, very clearly: Enough is enough!…We’re here to mobilize.”
“This city must lead the nation in tolerance, and this city must lead the nation in eradicating bigotry,” he said. “We are not going to let these two-bit punks cause damage to our great city.”
Stringer rattled off a list of anti-Semitic hate crimes that have occurred since October, including an attack on Orthodox Jews in Midwood, graffiti in Brooklyn, and mutliple cars set on fire and defaced back in November.
Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, who was famously arrested at Occupy Wall Street last year, made an appearance at the conference, saying, “It doesn’t matter if we are black, white, Asian, Jewish, Latino; we are only one city, and we’re here to say, we live in a peaceful city and we are against any act of hate crimes.”
Councilwoman Gale Brewer of the Upper West Side (and one of the more audible speakers on the loud street corner), said, addressing the vandals, “You are dissing our society in such a way that you need to be arrested. … Whoever’s doing this: Stop! … We are going to find you.”
Stringer, a potential 2013 mayoral candidate, has made several appearances related to the recent rash of hate crime. On Saturday he also appeared to speak at an “NYPD Accountability” rally on the police’s stop-and-frisk policies.
Today, however, was not about criticizing the police, though Stringer did call on the NYPD to produce more statistics surrounding these hate crimes: “We are going to work with the NYPD. We are going to work with the Hate Crimes unit. And we’re going to ask the NYPD to work with us to sort of give us a sense statistically about where we are as it relates to different hate crimes around the city.”
In response to a question from Runnin’ Scared about how he thinks the NYPD and its Hate Crimes Task Force has handled these situations, he said: “I think they’re very effective. … This is very much us being simpatico with the NYPD.”