Friday, March 08, 2019

Vandals Paint Swastikas In UES Gym Locker Room 

An Upper East Side gym known for its swimming and children's programs was the target of hateful vandalism this week, according to an email sent to gym members by staff.

Vandals painted swastikas on the walls and fixtures of family locker rooms in Asphalt Green's AquaCenter on Wednesday, the gym's executive director Maggy Siegel wrote in an email. The gym is located on York Avenue and East 91st Street.

"Discrimination is not tolerated at Asphalt Green. We are inclusive of people from all races, religions, and backgrounds. I am disheartened that such a hateful act occurred within our community," Siegel's email reads.

The NYPD's hate crimes unit is investigating the vandalism, a department spokesman said. No suspects have been identified or arrested, police said.

New York City's Jewish population has been disproportionately targeted as hate crimes occur more frequently in the city. Jews were the targets of more than half the 352 hate crimes reported in 2018 as of late December.

The city has seen a sustained rise in hate crimes over the last three years since around the time of President Donald Trump's election. Crimes targeting Jewish, black, Asian and white people all increased last year, though anti-Muslim incidents fell sharply.

A rash of anti-Semitic incidents emerged in the months after the late October massacre of 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. A Prospect Heights synagogue was vandalized just days after the shooting, and two Hasidic people were attacked in Williamsburg one week in late November.


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