Graffiti removal one step forward, two steps back

The city Department of Transportation cleaned up a graffitied wall alongside the expressway near the corner of Bruckner Boulevard and Huntington Avenue on Friday, April 15 that has been a regular target of midnight scrawlers.

The cleanup was initiated after residents reached out to Councilman Jimmy Vacca about the mess, and Vacca notified the proper city DOT officials to see that the wall facing the highway was painted over.

“We had some graffiti cleaned up on the northbound side of Bruckner Boulevard at Huntington Avenue, and the Department of Transportation came in and cleaned it up, and I just want to commend them for it,” Vacca said. “Unfortunately, early the next morning a wall on the opposite side of the highway, at Bruckner Boulevard between Calhoun and Quincy Avenue just got slaughtered with graffiti, but police made three arrests.”

Two of the suspects, questioned by the policy on Saturday, April 16 for the graffiti, were released, and later involved in a car accident, said 45th Precinct Community Affairs Officer Ann Marie Morrison.

At around 3:30 a.m., at the corner of Bruckner Boulevard and Brush Avenue, the two were involved in a major car accident along with a third individual, leaving Shaadieq Hicks, 16, clinging to life.Hicks later died.

Spray paint was found in the car.

Despite the tragic crash which occurred a day after the cleanup, the community was delighted that Vacca took the initiative to get the walls on the other side of the highway cleared.

“I applaud Councilman Vacca taking a proactive approach and being on top of this graffiti matter,” said Throggs Neck Home Owners Association president Lynn Gerbino. “Graffiti is a blight on our community and should not be tolerated, and we are so glad to see this eyesore graffiti removed.”

The situation is like taking two steps forward, and one step back, Vacca said.

“This is part of a continuing war, and with the summer here soon, and we have to stay on our toes,” Vacca said. “I am glad to see that the 45th Precinct has made some arrests, and graffiti must be cleared immediately after it is put up.”

Additional reporting by Bill Weisbrod

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