Dec. 5, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan
Anti-gay graffiti reading “kill fags + dykes” was posted on a bus shelter in Astoria over the weekend.
The hateful message was scrawled on an advertisement for a gay pride celebration posted at the bus stop at Steinway Street and 31st Avenue. The graffiti comes on the heels of a spike in hate crimes throughout the neighborhood.
A twitter user pointed it out to Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer yesterday, who then went out and cleaned it up himself.
“Hate crimes are on the rise. It’s on all of us to step up and say loud and clear that these are not our values and this is not normal,” Van Bramer said in a statement.
“When a constituent notified me of the hateful and homophobic graffiti on this bus shelter, I reported it immediately, but couldn’t stand to see it up a second longer—so I cleaned it up myself. I know that in Queens, we value and celebrate our differences, and when we come together, love will always trump hate.”
Since the election, there has been an increase in the number of hate-related incidents reported in Astoria.
On November 17, an Uber driver recorded a man screaming anti-Muslim slurs at him out of his car window while stopped at a red light in Astoria.
On November 19, several teenagers were sitting outside of a bar at 27-35 21st Street when three men approached and allegedly made anti Muslim comments, leading to a fight. The encounter ended with a 17-year-old Muslim teen in the hospital after getting hit in the face with a glass bottle.
Police have also found swastikas painted in Astoria Park and at the 30th Avenue subway stop.
Hate crimes throughout the city have been up by more than 30 percent this year compared to 2015, which the Police Commissioner attributed to the hateful rhetoric surrounding the election.