Photo Courtesy of Silver Gull Beach Club
A swastika accompanied racial epithets and “Heil Hitler” and “gas chamber” on the walls of a playground at the Silver Gull Beach Club in Breezy Point.
By Michael V. Cusenza
Outraged area elected officials quickly denounced two alarming incidents over the Labor Day weekend in Rockaway in which racist and anti-Semitic graffiti was scrawled on beach club property in Breezy Point and in the sand on a beach in Belle Harbor.
On Friday, a swastika accompanied racial epithets and “Heil Hitler” and “gas chamber” on the walls of a playground at the Silver Gull Beach Club on Beach 193rd Street. A couple of days later, more anti-Semitic messages were etched into the sand on a Belle Harbor shore.
“I am utterly disgusted and outraged by the blatant acts of anti-Semitism and white supremacism that took place in my district this weekend. Racism and hate have no place in our city. We must ensure whoever is responsible for this vandalism is brought to justice,” City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) said on Monday. “Queens is the most diverse county in the world. And it is that diversity that makes us strong. I’m proud that Queens residents from all backgrounds and all political persuasions have come together to denounce these hateful and cowardly acts.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “I am disgusted by the anti-Semitic symbols and racist graffiti found at the Silver Gull’s playground. Enough is enough. Every single elected official in this State—Democrat and Republican—must come together to denounce these continued acts of hatred and attempts to intimidate and terrorize. We must also call these vile acts what they are—they are hate crimes and they are illegal. Let me be very clear: we have zero tolerance for hate of any kind in New York. I am directing the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to assist the United States Park Police’s investigation into this despicable act to ensure the cowards responsible are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) characterized the vandalism as “crimes of hate, plain and simple. Anti-Semitic rhetoric has once again reared its ugly head and has reached our neighborhood on the Rockaway Peninsula. I denounce these terrible acts and I commend Gov. Cuomo for sending the State Hate Crimes Task Force to investigate this incident. As the world’s most diverse borough, we in Queens need to come together and let everyone know that hate has no place in our communities.”
Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Howard Beach) added, “I was horrified and disgusted to learn of not only one, but two incidents in our community this weekend where Nazi imagery and anti-Semitic graffiti were discovered. The fact that these images were discovered means that there is a systematic attempt to intimidate this community. We must continue to demonstrate that our love and commitment to our community is stronger than their attempt to instill fear and intimidation. We must stand up together against this bigotry and intolerance.
“I am working with the NYC Parks Department, NYPD, and National Parks Service to make sure whoever is responsible is brought to justice,” Pheffer Amato continued. “This will not stand.”