An advertisement for a gay dating site on the side of a phone booth in Astoria was vandalized yesterday with black spray-painted graffiti.
The vandalized phone booth at 34th Street and Broadway advertises a gay dating website called Squirt.org, and depicts one man unbuttoning another man’s shirt and has the words “Your place or mine?” written on it. The vandal spray-painted a blotchy shape over the center of the ad, obscuring the faces of the men and the text.
Though it is fairly unclear what shape the graffiti is it, some reports have stated that it resembles a swastika, a hate symbol of the Nazi movement.
The website GiveMeAstoria was first to report on the vandalism.
“I strongly denounce any symbol of hate in our community. Vandalizing a piece of city property with a symbol of anti-Semitism is bigoted and despicable. As we see anti-Semitic hate crimes on the rise across our city, Astoria must stand together in support of respect and tolerance,” said Councilman Costa Constantinides.
The phone booth advertises Squirt.org, a site that is used primarily to help gay men find casual sex with other men in the neighborhood, similar to Tinder.
The vandalism comes on the heels of a spike in hate crimes following the presidential election. The NYPD announced in November that hate crimes had spiked more than 30 percent in 2016, rising from 250 to 328 reported incidents in the year.
In the week following Donald Trump’s election, the City saw a spike in hate crimes to 11 reported incidents, six of which involved the painting of swastikas, including several tied to issues of sexual orientation.