Abor-rent behavior! Vandals deface community garden with swastikas

A swastika on a tree near the community garden in Floyd Bennett Field.
Photo by Pat Cotillo, Jr.

Vandals defaced a beloved Floyd Bennett Field community garden with swastikas — one of two anti-Semitic acts that rattled the borough after being discovered this weekend.

Red swastikas painted on trees and other graffiti was found on a bench and rocks lining a garden plot by Community Garden Association member Jill Weingarten on Saturday. Several beer bottles were found scattered across the garden, as if someone had a party on the federal property, according to residents who say they were angered and disturbed by the vandalism at a place where residents come to grow food together.

“This doesn’t happen here,” said Adrienne Musson, the president of the Community Garden Association. “We’re devastated. Why would someone pick on the trees?”

Pat Cotillo, who snapped up a few photos and sent them to Courier Life, agreed.

“People come here to relax and feel good about what they’ve grown in the garden,” Cotillo said. “For them to see [the vandalism] is unfortunate.”

The community garden, which is the largest in the borough, has been closed since Nov. 1, but gardeners believe that the vandalism took place on Friday night.

Calls to the National Parks Service were not returned.

But Brooklyn hate crime cops certainly had their hands full: investigators responded to a second anti-Semitic attack in Midwood this weekend, where more swastikas, and the words “Die Jews,” were found painted on a garage door on E. Fifth Street.

Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who lives near where the Midwood graffiti was found, said he was disturbed by all of the anti-Semitic incidents that have occurred in the borough over the last few months.

In November, someone painted swastikas on an Ocean Parkway bench before setting a row of cars on fire, although police now believe that the alleged bias crime was part of an elaborate insurance fraud scam. Vandals also left an anti-Semitic message on a car in Marine Park and wrote over the Avenue J train station sign so it read “Avenue Jew.”

“[This weekend’s vandalism] is just the latest in a series of ongoing anti-Semitic occurrences in Brooklyn,” Hikind said. “People are justifiably very concerned and upset.”

Anyone with information regarding the vandalism is urged to call CrimeStoppers at (800) 577-8477.

Reach reporter Thomas Tracy at ttracy@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2525.

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