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Windows at both W52nd Street stores just east of 11th Avenue were smashed with the top of a fire hydrant ripped from the sidewalk. A swastika was spray-painted on the door of Epstein’s Paint Center and “NEO NAZI KKK” was emblazoned on the sidewalk in front of Cybert Tire.
“We got here at 7:30am this morning and the window was smashed, the door painted with a swastika,” said owner Peter Epstein “We believe it happened at 10 o’clock last night”. Police were trying to recover security footage from the nearby attack on Cybert Tire which sits diagonally across the street from Epstein’s.
Hate crimes are on the rise in the city and nationwide. According to the NYPD’s crime reporting dashboard, as of March 31 this year, there were at least 90 documented antisemitic attacks in New York. The city has seen a significant increase in bigoted attacks, with an astonishing 100 percent increase in hate crimes from 2020 to 2021, and a 361 percent increase in crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. The CITY recently reported that despite the high numbers, there are likely even more crimes in the category, as most hate crime charges are dropped or pleaded down — only 15 percent of hate crimes remain documented as such by the time of conviction.
In response to the surge in racially-motivated attacks, State Senator Brad Hoylman co-sponsored the Hate Crimes Analysis & Review Act with Bronx Assembly Member Karines Reyes. The act “would require the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DJCS) to maintain and make public statistical data about hate crimes, while expanding the data points law enforcement is required to report.”
Joe Restuccia, Executive Director of the Clinton Housing Development Company which is the landlord of both of the W52nd Street buildings, was dismayed at the news.“We have never seen anything like this. Ever. So not our neighborhood. There’s no place in Hell’s Kitchen for this sort of hate,” he said.
Back at Epstein’s Paint Center, which has been a staple of the Hell’s Kitchen community for 127 years, Peter remained undeterred. “We’ll be alright,” he said.