Lindenwood residents woke up last Friday, ventured out of their homes and went on their morning routine as normal. That is, until they walked past the north-facing brick wall of the Lindenwood Medical Center building on 151st Avenue. To their astonishment and disgust, they saw a scene of urban blight — graffiti in the form of big white bubble lettering along almost the entire length of the block-long wall. On one end “RIP Creep” was spraypainted in smaller letters.
The sight caused a stir in the quiet neighborhood that often feels protected by Conduit Boulevard to the north, the Belt Parkway to the south and Spring Creek to the west. But the sight of ugly graffiti, and news of even worse quality-of-life problems, has led to some wondering what happened to their community?
One Lindenwood resident, who asked not to be identified, said the graffiti was “only the tip of the iceberg.” He said license plates were stolen Monday night from his car while it was parked near the defaced wall on 151st Avenue.
“It’s a serious problem; people are afraid to park their cars in the street,” he said, noting one of his friends had her car defaced with a slur and another car on 84th Street had its tires slashed over the weekend.
“This was a rampage of crimethat willnot be tolerated,” said Joann Ariola, president of the Lindenwood Alliance. “Be assured that the Lindenwood Alliance will work with the owner and the appropriate agenciesto see that this buildingis cleaned.Furthermore, weare confidentthat our NYPD will arrestthe people responsible for terrorizing and defacing our neighborhood.”
She said she has reached out to the building’s owner, the police department and Mayor Bloomberg’s office, and the plan is to get the owner the proper waivers to clean up the graffiti as soon as possible.
Police do make their presence known in the area. Neighbors say cars double-parked in front of the laundromat are often ticketed by cops. Double-parking and U-turns are a regular issue on the two-block stretch of 151st Avenue between 82nd and 84th streets where a laundromat and a busy conveinence store are located and cops come by on a regular basis to ticket offenders, but the vandalism likely occurred in the middle of the night, when double-parking and U-turns are not a problem.
Another resident, who lives on 83rd Street about a block from the defaced building, said he believes some of the vandals come from East New York, Brooklyn, which is right across the border from Lindenwood.
“I see them on bikes coming from Brooklyn on the Conduit and Linden Boulevard,” he said. “Especially on the weekends.”
He added that kids often congregate near Stanley Avenue on the border between Queens and Brooklyn. Though the only driving route from East New York into Lindenwood is down the Conduit, it is fairly easy for pedestrians and cyclists to cross the borough border.
“Just because you can’t drive from Brooklyn into the neighborhood doesn’t mean you can’t walk or ride your bike,” he said.
Police say they do not have any suspects.
Graffiti is a common problem in Southern Queens. In August, two work vans were defaced with graffiti on Sutter Avenue in Ozone Park. The vandals were caught on security camera footage taken outside a construction company which one of the vans belonged to. Those suspects, however, are still at large.
In Woodhaven, the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association implemented a plan this summer that resulted in cleaning the neighborhood’s mailboxes. WRBA President Ed Wendell said he wanted to use noticeable patterns, such as which mailboxes are hit most often or similar tags in different locations, to help the police catch and arrest vandals.