Middle Village residents awoke on Wednesday morning to discover that vandals left giant hate symbols sprawled across Juniper Valley Park’s ballfields.
Eileen O’Gara Linzer was out walking her dog in the park when she discovered that a swastika and the letters KKK had been etched into the snow-covered athletic fields off the intersection of Juniper Boulevard South and 78th Street.
Linzer snapped pictures of the hate symbols and posted them on her Facebook page, which was quickly spread across the community.
“These are the images I encountered in the park. Down the block from where my Jewish husband and half-Jewish children are currently living. In one of the most diverse places on earth, and one of our most beloved – Queens NY,” she wrote in her Facebook post about the incident.
“Don’t condescend [sic] to me and tell me these animals have not been emboldened by the current climate,” Linzer added, referencing recent hate crimes across the city and country since the election of Donald Trump as president last November. Middle Village is one of the few Queens neighborhoods that voted for Trump.
Linzer told QNS that finding the symbols in the park was shocking: “We know the neighborhood to be kind, friendly and caring. It’s not something we’d ever expect to see there.”
Police and the Parks Department were notified of the incident. The Parks Department reported that the hate symbols have since been erased from the park.
“Hate has no place in our parks. When offensive hate speech is discovered, NYC Parks works with NYPD to remove it immediately,” said Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski.