Eastern Queens site defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti for the second time in a year

Holliswood graffiti
Photo courtesy of Weprin’s office

Queens leaders and locals met in Jamaica Estates to condemn a second set of anti-Semitic graffiti discovered on a neighborhood site.

On April 21, resident Ami Reschke first noticed the hateful graffiti, which included swastikas and other threatening imagery, on the facade of the now-defunct Holliswood Hospital at 87-37 Palermo St.

Reschke reported his findings to Rabbi Moshe Taub of Young Israel of Holliswood, who contacted Assemblyman David Weprin. Officials at the 107th Precinct have since covered the graffiti with paint and are investigating the incident as a hate crime.

The graffiti appeared painted over on April 27
The graffiti appeared painted over on April 27 (Photos by Suzanne Monteverdi)

The markings are reminiscent to those discovered on the structure in June 2017, when swastikas and racial slurs were found on the exterior and interior of the building. The perpetrators were never caught, according to Weprin.

On April 27, the assemblyman, Councilman Barry Grodenchik, local leaders and homeowners met at the site to condemn the act.

“If a picture is worth a thousand words, that image of a swastika is worth about 6 million words and cries,” Taub said. “I hope that we could certainly rectify this horrible situation and never see it again; but also note the image of a unified community today.”

Weprin addresses reporters on April 27
Weprin addresses reporters on April 27

“We will not tolerate hate in our neighborhood or in any neighborhood,” Weprin added. “The hate crime in this case may be against the Jewish community, but a hate crime against anyone is a hate crime against all of us.”

Though the hospital structure still stands, a construction project to bring a 20-home development to the site is already underway. Property owner Steven Zhang, who was present for the press conference, condemned the hateful graffiti and said he would cooperate with authorities to find the perpetrators.

“We wonder why we’re here again,” Community Board 8 chairperson Martha Taylor said. “This has to stop. It’s a disgrace … I don’t know who’s doing this, but they have to be stopped.”

Grodenchik urged the perpetrators “to find something better to do with their time.”

“We stand united,” the councilman said. “This is an extremely diverse community here in eastern Queens. We stand always, always against hate.”

report released by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in February revealed that Queens saw the largest increase in anti-Semitic incidents in New York during 2017. A total of 380 incidents were reported throughout the state in 2017; over half of these acts were vandalism.