After an Astoria resident posted a photograph of homophobic language written on a bus shelter in Astoria, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer worked quickly to wash it away.
Twitter user Connor Mealey noticed the words “kill fags & dykes” written in marker on an advertisement for World Pride Madrid 2017 on Dec. 4.
The ad was installed on the side of a bus shelter on Steinway Street and 31st Avenue in Astoria.
— Connor Mealey (@ConnorMealey) December 4, 2016
He tagged 311, the Department of Transportation and Councilmen Jimmy Van Bramer and Costa Constanitinides.
Van Bramer, who is one of seven openly gay City Council members, responded to the tweet two hours later.
According to a spokesperson for Van Bramer, the councilman went to the bus shelter and scrubbed the words away with window cleaner.
“Hate crimes are on the rise,” Van Bramer said in a statement. “It’s on all of us to step up and say loud and clear that these are not our values and this is not normal. When a constituent notified me of the hateful and homophobic graffiti on this bus shelter, I reported it immediately, but couldn’t stand to see it up a second longer—so I cleaned it up myself. I know that in Queens, we value and celebrate our differences, and when we come together, love will always trump hate.”
The number of reported hate crimes since the results of the 2016 election have gone up, according to Police Commissioner James O’Neill.
There were a reported 328 hate crimes in New York City through Nov. 13, O’Neill said at a recent interview. This number reflects a 31 percent increase from last year and there was both an increase in anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic hate crimes.
Deputy Inspector Peter Fortune, commanding officer of the 114th Precinct, said at a community council meeting last month that hate crimes will not be tolerated in the precinct.
“You can rest assured that were going to investigate this to the fullest. We’re going to work with the district attorney’s office and if we can put you in jail, we’re going to put you in jail because it’s not going to be tolerated in the 114th,” Fortune said.
He also added that hateful graffiti will be taken just as seriously.