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Sunnyside Business Owners See Uptick in Graffiti, Many Stores Tagged

Cooldown Juice, located at at 48-19 Skillman Ave. (Image provided by Eric Barthels)

Sept. 21, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

A number of Sunnyside business owners have noticed a significant uptick in the amount of graffiti that has been scrawled across neighborhood walls, doors–and even trees–in recent weeks.

Eric Barthels, owner of Cooldown Juice, located at 48-19 Skillman Ave., said his store has been hit three times in the past six weeks by vandals spray painting across his front shutter door.

Barthels said that the vandals are constantly tagging his store, often using a plethora of colors as part of their insignia. He said other businesses on Skillman Avenue have also been targeted, with their doors, gates and walls also tagged.

The vandalism in the area goes beyond just the targeting of buildings. Bicycle lanes are also being tagged as well as tree trunks. Many restaurants have seen their outdoor seating areas– built during the pandemic–also tagged.

“There has been an uptick all across the neighborhood on multiple blocks,” Barthels said.

Bike lanes (L) and trees (R) have been vandalized along Skillman Ave. (R) (Image provided by Eric Barthels)

Barthels said that both businesses adjoining his store have been vandalized as well as stores directly across the street.

Many storefronts across Sunnyside have been hit, business owners say.

Jaime-Faye Bean, the director of Sunnyside Shines BID, said that graffiti is on the rise within the organization’s district which covers businesses fronting Queens Boulevard from 38th Street to 50th Street, as well as Greenpoint Avenue from Queens Boulevard to mid-block between 42nd and 43rd Streets.

“There’s definitely been an uptick in the last couple of months, it’s been pretty pronounced,” Bean said.

Bean said that some hotspots include the area around the Capital One Bank, located at 40-20 Queens Blvd., and around Chase Bank, located at 46-10 Queens Blvd.

Vandals, she added, have also been targeting storefronts with poor lighting and ones with recessed entrances.

She said that the sight of defaced buildings and storefronts diminish people’s perception of the area.

“It’s a neighborhood condition that can really impact how a corridor is seen in terms of safety too – it matters,” Bean said. “It can hurt business.”

47-21 Queens Blvd. (Image provided by Jaime-Faye Bean)The rise in graffiti comes at a time when small businesses are already struggling to attract customers due to the coronavirus shutdown.

Sunnyside Shines offers a monthly graffiti removal program that cleans up vandalized areas within the district at no cost to businesses. However, these services do not extend outside the BID district–to businesses on Skillman Avenue, 43rd Avenue and many other streets.

The city also suspended its $3 million Graffiti-Free NYC program in March as the de Blasio administration finds ways to cut costs as the city looks to close a $9 billion budget hole. The program allowed residents and business owners to make a 311 complaint about graffiti and the city would arrange for its free removal.

The loss of the Graffiti Free program means that businesses owners have to clean it and at their own expense.

Belo, located at 48-08 Skillman Ave. (Image provided by Eric Barthels)

“In a normal year we would pull together, get some funds and fix it up but we are all struggling right now,” Barthels said.

He said graffiti has a negative effect on the mood of a neighborhood.

“It makes people feel less safe and contributes to other bad behavior and attitudes like littering,” he said.

Barthels said it is particularly frustrating to see temporary outdoor areas for restaurants targeted, given that they were put up at an extra cost for restaurants looking to attract customers.

“It’s definitely not a good thing for our neighborhood,” he said.

Nick Murphy, a co-owner of Bar 43, located on 43-06 43rd St., said that graffiti is on the rise in the neighborhood.

“It is occurring more often but it is also more prevalent because the city is not doing anything about it so it’s just staying up,” Murphy said.

Murphy said that the damage degrades the landscape and charm of the neighborhood.

“The city obviously doesn’t have the money to pay to clean it up,” Murphy said. “It is a real shame.”

43-04 43rd Street, by Bill’s Liquors and Bar 43 (Queens Post)

Outdoor area outside Sanger Hall, located at 48-20 Skillman Ave. (Image provided by Eric Barthels)

48-16 Skillman Ave. (Image provided by Eric Barthels)

Wall next to 45-02 Greenpoint Avenue (Before and after images of graffiti cleaned by Sunnyside Shines BID0 Image provided by Jaime-Faye Bean

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62 Comments

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Wild Weasel

Graffiti isn’t the only problem we have a roving group of dirt bikes,ultra lite quads and other vehicles with OUT LICENSE PLATES AND POPPING WHEELIES even on Queens Blvd and Greenpoint ave

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TheR

Paint over these toys. These gates deserve better. Woodside and Sunnyside have been home to some legendary writers through NYC history

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Paint over these toys.

I haven’t heard the expression “toys” since the 80’s…none of these transplants and phonies know that old school Queens street lingo…very nostalgic and good to hear…I can still remember when Kik, Siko, Greco, and Ghost used to bomb the M yards off Fresh Pond in Ridgewood…good stuff

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Man in black

TRESPASS, DESTRUCTION OF PRIVATE PROPERTY,DIMINISHING THE VALUE OF PUBLIC AND PRIVATE PROPERTY
UNLAWFUL and ILLEGAL AND NOT OF MORAL
CRIMVE UNIVERSAL

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Mac

These tags are painted by the same people. The police keep photo records of tags and should be able to connect them to the vandals once caught. We went through this in the 80’s & 90’s with “cost” and “teas”. Once caught they should be sentenced to paying for cost of cleanup and forced to clean graffiti.

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Gardens Watcher

Agreed Mac. Not sure what the penalties are these days, but Parks Dept. should address the tree damage asap and somebody should post a video of the cleanup to document online. Our trees are an essential part of the neighborhood.

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da vinci

These tags are so lazy and terribly drawn. You would think that somebody that spends this much time tagging up the entire neighborhood would actually be good at it. it looks like a kindergartner could do better. Weak. Shouldn’t have cut art class, kid.

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Lazy 108

Where is the lazy, good-for-nothing, 108th? Maybe if cops in the city started doing their jobs again we wouldn’t have this nonsense.

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Queens Streets for LOL

Other neighborhoods have BIDs and/or a Chambers of Commerce that work with the NYPD and local volunteers to paint over the tags on a regular basis. Why don’t we have that here? Oh wait, LOL

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The Chamber needs to go out of business

The Chamber AKA Pat Dorfman and her minions were there to sh*t all over bike lanes, extort businesses for memberships to support 2 ‘business card exchanges’ per year between the same dozen neighborhood bozos, and to generally scream and cry about the horrible BID. And they’ve been MIA now for 7 months. Speaks volumes. They should have been spearheading this, but being useful has never been their strong suit.

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Tear down the gates and replace them with something neighborhood friendly

Instead of a solid gate (which are really ugly) use gates that are open so we can see in…these don’t get graffitied.
Or, hire a professional to paint a nice Sunnyside picture.

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Solid gates are actually illegal

The city has actually prohibited the installation of solid gates for years on the grounds of safety and lack of visibility. Other neighborhoods with competent chambers have raised funds and won grants to help replace them with see-thru gates. Our extremely incompetent chamber of commerce should probably just be disbanded at this point! The highly competent Sunnyside Shines BID should be allowed to expand to Skillman to help with this.

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Got a picture of a guy painting

I took a picture of a guy with a can of paint and painting it he area you show in front of Sunnyside Reformed Church.

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Paint the town Red

Hey Jimmy,
Can you help organize a free can of spray paint to every out of work Graffiti artist. Paint ain’t cheap. Give what you CAN, every DROP counts. Us artists and radicals really appreciate your continued support.

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Save the Robots

This breaks my heart to see and this trend, which started right after Memorial Day, is a big reason I moved in August and now live 2500 miles way, where problems like this simply do not exist.

It’s all related: no respect for the individual rights of all carries with it a lack of respect for property, whether it be public or private.

This will continue until there is a housecleaning of the current administrations at the state and city levels and a complete eradication of the progressive wing. The progressive experiment has failed spectacularly, and this is solid physical evidence. This one beautiful community is now a hellhole. Thanks, AOC et al.

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Save the Robots

During my 18 years in the community I made every effort to be part of the solution, instead of being part of the problem.

Sounds likely you are squarely in the latter group.

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SuperWittySmitty

I’ve been here a lot longer than 19 years. I read your message and feel happy that you’ve moved so far away. There’s so much good here in Sunnyside but these people who are filled with negativity and misery just do not belong here. They go out of their way to spread doubt and fear, not realizing that they are a big part of the problem and that their absence is a small step towards a solution.

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Edward

Man were is JVB, oh yeah it doesn’t fit his agenda and probably could care less since he wasn’t standing next to the photo.

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E

Yup no photo op for jvb plus no way for him to seek other people’s money for him to grandstand on. Also, this is pro-business and policing and jvb has no interest in either of those. No identity politics = no jvb

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Mac

“Edward”- If you just copy and paste your standard comment you would not have to contend with those pesky typos.

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Anna

You sound like a fool Mac. Address the content or go back to the kiddy table. pointing out typos is pathetic and akin to waaaaa I don’t like you

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And Cheese

Anna- New here? You’re the one who sounds like a fool. Go back and reread Macs post then take a remedial reading class. Macs post is about the constant posting and reposting of the very same comment by the same individual. The typo is not the subject it’s a predicate. The purpose of the predicate is to complete an idea about the subject.,

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Some people can post insults others are blocked

@Anna- Take a remedial reading and writing class. Macs post is about posting the same thing over and over again, the typo is secondary.

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She's got a point.

All Mac does is point out typos as if he’s perfect. That and call all people he disagrees with ‘right wing trumpers’ whether we are trumpers or right wing or not. He adds nothing to the conversation. NOTHING.

Johnny Cakes

Get used to it! Old enough to remember EVERYTHING having graffiti on it. Every single inch of a train car.

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Gardens Watcher

I remember those days, and have NO interest in going back to that garbage. Neither should our community.

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Save the Robots

Then you should also remember that the problem was addressed, under Giuliani. Broken windows theory clearly applies.

If you travel to actual third world countries (as I have over a dozen times), you’ll see, for example, that everyone throws garbage all over the street because it’s “normal.”

That is where this is headed.

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Gardens Watcher

No evidence yet of who is responsible, or that the vandalism is the work of the “third world.”

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Save the Robots

I was citing what happens in third world countries as an example of what happens when ill-advised behavior becomes acceptable (and accepted as normal).

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jmurphy

You’re the one touting Republican failed idealism you go live in a Republican utopia instead of bringing those failed polices here. Ten Wealthiest States Per Capita Income 2020
10. Washington
9. Virginia
8. California
7. Alaska
6. New Hampshire
5. Connecticut
4. Massachusetts
3. Hawaii
2. New Jersey
1. Maryland
US News and World Report After analyzing all 50 U.S. states, here are the 10 poorest states in America for 2020:
Mississippi
New Mexico
Louisiana
West Virginia
Alabama
Kentucky
South Carolina
Arkansas
Tennessee
North Carolina
Here are the 10 states with the highest homicide rates:
Louisiana (12.4 per 100,000 people)
Missouri (9.8 per 100,000 people)
Nevada (9.1 per 100,000 people)
Maryland (9 per 100,000 people)
Arkansas (8.6 per 100,000 people)
Alaska (8.4 per 100,000 people)
Alabama (8.3 per 100,000 people)
Mississippi (8.2 per 100,000 people)
Illinois (7.8 per 100,000 people)
South Carolina (7.8 per 100,000 people)
Republicans are over represented in individual poverty and crime. Talk about failed leadership.

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how did we elect such an idiot

get a new line murph- you have been pulling out that same stale infor for the last year. and BTW i didn’t mention the republican party but seeing that you did “FOUR MORE YEARS”

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Nice try

The reason those states have a high homicide rate is because of the democrat run cities in those states…but nice try!!…see ya at the polls!!! (and those you listed as the poorest states have a higher quality of life than the rich ones..no welfare and criminal coddling in places outside the cities)

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Even better try

Nice try – You know nothing of what you’re posting about. You’ve obviously not traveled the US. The highest standard of living is found in the wealthier blue states. Fact! The worst poverty is found in Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Oklahoma and South Carolina, Red states. Fact! Mississippi, Alabama, Nevada, Arkansas snd Alaska are all majority rural states. Fact! Crime, education levels and poverty all have direct correlation. Fact! All my info is verifiable unlike your posts.

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Here are the 10 states with the highest homicide rates

the post you are responding to was about homicide rates…not about poverty or quality of life…please read a post carefully before you respond. Fact!!

Gardens Watcher

It’s bad enough that businesses are being tagged. But trees? That’s city property, and can’t be good for the health of the tree. And on the street, these tags interfere with traffic markings.

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Don

Where’s JVB? Hopefully he finds the time and heart to clean up some of this himself. As any leader would.

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Corsair Barnes

Read the tags, this is the work of 2 people who probably live on 52nd st (ie. The 5II tag & RD). There’s a little street gang that’s been there for years damaging property and tagging everything.

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RATATOUILLE

Tagger DR0SKIII
TAGGER CHRIST
You can find them in bar 43, 48st and skillman ave , doughboy park , around the deli on skillman av

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mike

remember back in the 1990s, Guiliani and Bratton straightened this place out. We need to get rid of this liberal crap posed as politicians and get the job done.

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Save the Robots

Actually, there is nothing “liberal” about the left: Opposition to free speech is the best example. The current so-called progressive leftists actually aren’t progressive at all. They are simply regurgitating ancient, failed Marxist ideas taught to them by confused and incompetent college instructors.

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Save the Robots

There is no anger. This is just a reaction to the rampant stupidity you and others demonstrate.

This idiocy is what propelled a semi-literate barmaid to a position of power, which could have future implications across the U.S.

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Save the Robots

No anger here, especially considered where I am now.

I just feel disgust at the sheer, rampant stupidity that became the new normal in Sunnyside before that phrase was ‘a thing.’

That stupidity is what got a completely unqualified, semi-literate idiot into Congress, and the power that the position has yielded (strictly via social media) could have very dire very future implications across the U.S.

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