Graffiti-marred lot no longer a blot

Before: These colorful graffiti bubbles at 1206-1214 Morris Park Ave. had vexed community leaders trying to gain access to the property for years.
Photo by Edwin Soto

This pesky paint ain’t Morris Park’s problem any more.

Local leaders in the East Bronx nabe are rejoicing over the removal of a reviled row of graffiti on the side of a commercial building on the community’s main strip.

State Sen. Jeff Klein’s district office, which has run a local graffiti removal program for over a decade, had for years targeted the series of bubble-size letters defacing the side of Kevin Kohn’s law office at 1206-1214 Morris Park Ave.

But the graffiti had remained out of reach because locals needed the legal right to enter an overgrown and padlocked adjacent lot to dispatch the “eyesore” that locals have long complained sends the wrong message about the residential nabe.

Tenacious staffer aids

Klein’s office and the local community board had grappled with an unresponsive property owner Marion Schainberg for months for the rights to enter her lot.But a major breakthrough came when intrepid Klein district office staffer Bridget McBrien tracked down the Plaza Del Castillo Development Corp., which manages the property on a day-to-day basis.

The development company cleared Sen. Klein’s office to remove the graffiti back in December, but then the removal was delayed even further by one of the coldest winters in recent memory. Klein’s private contractor only removes grafitti when it’s warmer than 40 degrees.

But on a sunny Saturday Mar. 8, Sen. Klein joined community leaders to finally get the job done.A staffer from the development company unlocked the gated lot for an hour as the graffiti was painted over.

Jubilation in MP

“I’m very, very pleased that it’s gone,” said Community Board 11 Chairman Tony Vitaliano. “It had sent the wrong message about what kind of neighborhood we have. Now it’s history.”

With but a few rolls of paint, the wall is now a simple, uniform gray. But that’s how the business owner who works there likes it.

“It’s a relief,” said Kohn, whose law office shared a wall with the spray-painted bubbles. “No one likes the blight of graffiti.”

Removal time begins

Saturday’s removal kicked off Sen. Klein’s program, one of many graffiti-ridding programs in the borough that get going every Spring.

Locals who spot graffiti they want gone can call Klein’s district office at 718-822-2049 or fill out a form online at www.nysenate.gov/webform/senator-jeff-kleins-graffiti-removal-program.

Reach Reporter Ben Kochman at (718) 742–3394. E-mail him at bkochman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @benkochman.

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