July 21, 2020 By Christian Murray
A popular graffiti-removal program has been axed as the city looks to tighten its belt given the budget crisis.
The city’s $3 million Graffiti-Free NYC program has been suspended since March as the de Blasio administration finds ways to cut costs as the city looks to close a $9 billion budget hole.
“The City has suspended the Graffiti Free NYC program indefinitely,” said Laura Feyer, a spokesperson for the Mayor’s office, in a statement Monday. She noted that it was suspended “to ensure the City can continue to devote resources to essential safety, health, shelter, and food security needs.”
The program allowed residents and business owners to make a 311 complaint about graffiti–and the city would arrange for its free removal. Property owners could also sign a form that gave the city the ability to get rid of graffiti from a building without requiring permission each time.
The free program was popular. The Wall Street Journal, which first reported that it had been suspended, noted that in fiscal year 2019 more than 14,000 sites were cleaned as a result of the program.
Many say the suspension of the program has already had an impact.
Jaime-Faye Bean, executive director of the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District, said that she has noticed more buildings tagged with graffiti since the program was put on hold.
Bean said that Sunnyside Shines—like most BIDS—hires a private contractor to keep the Sunnyside district graffiti free. But outside of the immediate district she has seen an uptick.
“I see more property outside of the BID that has been defaced,” Bean said, noting that it is important for people’s quality of life for it to be clean.
“I recognize there are a lot of human needs right now with lost jobs and lost loved ones,” she said “but people’s physical surroundings can affect their mental well-being. Nobody wants to live in neighborhoods that look like they are falling apart.”
The loss of the program puts the onus on property owners to remove the graffiti. Many commercial landlords call on their business tenants to pay for the cleanup. The extra cost comes at a time when many small businesses are struggling.
Council Member Bob Holden blasted the mayor for cutting the program.
“Every New Yorker can see that graffiti has actually increased significantly during the pandemic,” he posted on Facebook yesterday.“This administration continues to turn a blind eye to quality-of-life issues.”
The mayor’s office did note that the suspension of the program will not impact graffiti removal on city properties or infrastructure.
after Trump threatened to send in the Feds the cowardly progressives finally cleaned up the encampment at city hall…took about an hour…these losers need to be recalled
The protests turned violent for weeks, Trump did nothing. Now he sends them in over some scribbles? Bigly sad!
Meanwhile his home city of NYC is burning. Really shows where his priorities are. He hasn’t even threatened to send them here yet. He’s one bad hombre!
He did threaten to send the feds here which is why deblasio finally kicked out the encampment by city hall
You know deblasio
The guy who loves rioters and criminals
You’re right, he sent feds to protect Portland, but sent NOTHING to protect NYC.
Guess we’ll clean up the mess on our own. Why doesn’t the billionaire care more about jobs and small businesses?!
The BLM mural on 5th Ave gets 24 hour police surveillance, immediate arrests of vandals and is restored and cleaned up after so many attempts to deface it.
WTF!!!! Grafitti is the first sign of urban blight and decay. Let’s all volunteer Janovich, Home Depot donate some paint. I’ve already removed graffiti painted on the switch box, lamppost on my corner. JVB might be able to fund or maybe he can dress up in hisjeans and construction boots and have a photo op with his power washer wand in hand … ready to do battle against all the Graffiti all over the place in Sunnyside.
What if the community took a different approach to graffiti? What do you all think about defacing the graffiti? Would that anger the person who did the graffiti?
Thanks for publicizing this. I’m sure the wonderful, high class denizens of the city will be respectful and not do any graffiti.
call JVB he should start helping clean up since he created alot of this mess – truth
Deblasio really does love criminals
He is determined to drag us back to the ‘70’s
Meanwhile his wife has lost one billion dollars from her fake thrive program
Trump doesn’t live there. Much better use of taxpayer money amirite?
I hate DeBlasio. What a nightmare.
A drop in the bucket compared to the taxpayer $$$$ Mrs. Debliaso blew.
Great now the city will start to look like the 70’s again with graffiti infested galore
Nice work Blaz
Thank you, DeBlasio! You couldn’t possibly do any better…