Aggravating Assault: Graffiti Appears To Be Escalating In Brooklyn Heights

When well-traveled NYC graffiti “artist” Lewy BTM tagged the Brooklyn Bridge with his trademark squiggle design late last month, it was noted that the last time the national landmark was so adorned was during the Clinton era, in 1998. The same spot 199 feet above the East River was marred to great infamy in 1988 by brothers “Sane & Smith,” who scribbled 5-foot letters on the Manhattan tower of the iconic Bridge.

Meanwhile, in Brooklyn Heights, it appears graffiti vandalism is on the rise. BHB has reported on previous incidents, including April’s “NYPD Don’t Trust” spray painted on a Remsen Street sidewalk and along a Henry Street wall. Recent walks around the nabe are revealing more and more random sightings of defaced mailboxes, walls, light posts and commercial buildings. Are you seeing more graffiti in your area, as well? (See photos below the jump.)

For commercial properties, graffiti removal is the responsibility of the landlord; and for residential buildings, the owner or coop board—although says that New York’s Anti-Graffiti Task Force will remove the mess free of charge. In any case, there’s no good reason for the Heights to resemble the New York City of the 1970s again. Hopefully, we can keep it clean with tenacious calls to 311.

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  • Mr. Crusty

    “When well-traveled NYC graffiti “artist” Lewy BTM tagged the Brooklyn Bridge”

    This is not helpful. These graffiti guys get off on the notoriety. We shouldn’t mention their name, their tags, or show their “work”. It just spurs these guys on. The best way to deal with graffiti is to remove it as soon as possible (next day) so these creeps don’t get the satisfaction of seeing their tags day after day.

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    The first picture of the stoop with graffiti has been that way forever.

  • Matt

    Honestly, tagging the goddammned Brooklyn Bridge should be at death penalty crime. And I’m anti-death penalty!

  • AEB

    I noticed yesterday that a pick-up mail box directly across from my apartment that had been graffiti-ed in the past, and which I personally cleaned up, and which was tagged again, had been repainted, presumably by the USPS.

    I was astounded! So the news is not entirely bad. I do, however, feel that graffiti perps, when caught, should receive consequential punishment–something that would disrupt their lives sufficiently to discourage recidivism.

  • Rick

    I agree with Mr. Crusty, make it unsatisfying for them by ignoring them personally and quietly removing the graffiti promptly.

  • wmm

    Yeah, I’ve been seeing a lot of “marker” tags on mailboxes and postal drops. Every night on the way home I’m reminded to “**** THAT AND START OCCUPYING.”

  • Matt

    Mr. Crusty is correct. You can’t give these morons any press. You are simply encouraging more of the same….

  • PierrepontSkin

    Where is that stoop? It looks familiar…

    Also, not to advocate graffiti or vandalism, but whoever tagged up that spot on the Brooklyn Bridge must have some brass…you know what’s, in order to climb out there!

  • Reb

    The stoop in the first pic is (if I’m not mistaken) on the SW corner of Clinton & Livingston. Def hasn’t been that way forever & didn’t look that bad when I lived down the block 6mo ago. Too bad these “artists” don’t know their work looks amateur & silly.

  • GHB

    Too bad that the a-holes who vandalized the Brooklyn Bridge didn’t plummet to their deaths!

  • Eddyenergizer

    PierrepontSkin, Actually that part of the bridge is not too hard to access, the biggest danger is crossing the roadway. The frieze is kind of a parapet wall so it’s fairly safe to walk around once your there. Here is a link to a photo I took from there back in the 80’s

  • stuart

    The BHA should really be a leader in this, but they’re not, so every property owner is on their own and needs to know how to remove graffiti asap off unpainted masonry and have a can of paint ready for painted surfaces. I re-paint the mailbox in front of my building the regulation blue color whenever there is a new tag, and I have noticed they have stopped doing it.

  • Jorale-man

    There was a massive graffiti message on the side of the Packer School one morning. It was gone by the time I got home from work. That’s clearly the way to handle it. There are some public surfaces (mailboxes, light poles) that are city property, however, and that’s where calls to 311 are crucial.

  • stuart

    Just repaint the mailboxes the matching color and do everyone a favor. I have also painted the bases of streetlights with silver paint. As I wrote, the BHA or the Boro Pres or someone should be on top of it but they’re not, so people need to deal with it. 311 will get you nowhere. Can you guess how long it would take the city to repaint a mailbox. A week from never?

  • Eddyenergizer

    “Can you guess how long it would take the city to repaint a mailbox. A week from never?” Yes, the city is not responsible for painting mailboxes, it’t the federal governments responsibility…. which wouldn’t be much faster.
    In either case, regardless of how much you may think you are doing a good deed, you are breaking the law by painting those fixtures. You are lucky law enforcement is as inefficient as civil maintenance.

  • stuart

    Eddy, don’t be a moralizing pompous ass.

  • Andrew Porter

    Stuart, twice now you have posted stating that the BHA should be on top of this but they’re not. The BHA has a committee on graffiti, but it’s up to individual building owners and city agencies to clean this stuff up. Are you a member of the BHA? Do you call 311 about this problem, or elected officials? I also note you’re using a pseudonym, so can say anything you like without any basis in truth or reality.

  • Ellie

    The green wall on the Promenade is an open invitation. Would love to see it painted by a real artist like they do in Philly.

  • Judy Stanton

    Thank you, Andrew. The BHA Committee approach is to photograph every new tag we see in Brooklyn Heights, regardless of the location, and send it to the 84th Pct, attn Lt. Wilson. If it’s on private property, and we happen to know the owner, we’ll contact the owner. Eddy is right about the regulations governing USPS property…when it comes to defacement of mail boxes, neither the City (NYPD) nor anyone except the USPS union responsible for their maintenance, is authorized to paint over federal property. Stuart, You may be doing it yourself without being caught, but the NYPD and organizations like the BHA are constrained from violating federal regulations. I’ve repeatedly discussed this problem with the Community Affairs Office of the 84th Pct who are equally frustrated by the restriction. We agree that the USPS takes forever to act on graffiti complaints and their maintenance dept cannot be reached directly by the public. You either call 311 with an address or phone the USPS collection office at 718-348-3051 with a list of addresses which they say they’ll give to the maintenance division. (I think 311 is the preferred option.) Anyone wishing to discuss this with the NYPD in person can do so when the 84th Pct will be out in force on the evening of Tuesday,starting at 5 PM on Tuesday, August 7th for “Night Out Against Crime”. This is an outdoor event sponsored by the 84th Pct Community Council that is held in in the plaza behind Borough Hall. Stuart, the removal of graffiti, whether on publicly or privately owned property, is not the responsibility of the BHA. You can call the BHA office 718-858-9193 to find out what the BHA really does and doesn’t do, and you’ll be asked to identify yourself when you call.

  • philica

    Graffiti a death penalty crime? Wow. Harsh.

  • Eddyenergizer

    Thank you Judy.

  • sajh

    It’s very easy to climb anywhere on the Brooklyn bridge the way it is setup. I’ve seen tourists climb up on the fence just to get a better shot of the skyline. I think what is more disburbing is not that someone tagged the bridge, or the danger they put themselves in but the fact that they were able to get on to a sensitive part of the bridge without notice WHILE it’s under nightly maintenance.
    As far as removing it immediately, yes, that is the best way. For the mailboxes/city property etc, if you dont have time to paint them or fear getting caught doing their job painting, a quicker more offensive way to get the tagger mad is to simply “X” or cross out their tag. It is a sign of offense to have your tag still up but with a line or “x” through it.

  • David on Middagh

    Would making the tagger mad discourage him, or cause him to create more tags?