New York News

Only in Print: ‘Graffiti-Free NYC’ Is Wiped Away

Vandals have been busy in Bay Ridge recently — marking gates, like this grocery store on Third Avenue — and walls in the neighborhood according to fed-up residents and leaders. (Photo: John Quaglione)

BENSONHURST — Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision to scrap a program providing free graffiti removal assistance to private property owners has lawmakers and business leaders concerned that New York City is returning to the bad old days of the 1970s when spray-painted tags were everywhere.

“I lived through those days. If you were on the subway, you couldn’t even read a subway map because it was literally covered in graffiti,” Queens Councilman Robert Holden told The Tablet. “I don’t want to return to those days.”

Holden was reacting to a move by City Hall to indefinitely suspend Graffiti-Free NYC, a $3 million program under which the city would dispatch crews to power wash privately owned buildings to get rid of graffiti. The program was also available to commercial property owners.

Graffiti-Free NYC was established in 1999 as a cooperative effort of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the Department of Sanitation, and the Office of the Mayor…

The rest of this article can be found exclusively in the August 1 printed version of The Tablet. You can buy it at church for $1, or you can receive future editions of the paper in your mailbox at a discounted rate by subscribing here. Thank you for supporting Catholic journalism.