Gone to pot! Planter vandalism sign of Fifth Ave.’s decline, biz owners say

Gone to pot! Planter vandalism sign of Fifth Ave.’s decline, biz owners say
Community News Group / Caroline Spivack

It’s a case of bouquets and brickbats.

Vandals pulverized plants and tossed hunks of dirt on the sidewalk in front of Fifth Avenue hooch shop Long’s Wines & Liquors overnight on July 18 — reportedly the latest in a series of flower-bashings on the block — and now Bay Ridgites who fear the vandalism flourishing trend are demanding the city nip it in the bud.

“It’s a chronic issue,” said Heather Hamilton, who owns the store. “Sometimes I’d find a tree down the block and around the corner, so I had them wired into the planters to make it harder to steal.”

The incident is the latest in a string of storefront attacks on the avenue around 80th Street — a series that appears to be escalating, locals say.

“My store has been in the neighborhood for 12 years, and I’ve never seen it this bad,” said Bassle Freij, who runs Elegance Alterations and Custom Tailoring on 79th Street.

Hooligans have struck the block at least four times this month, bashing flower pots, breaking light fixtures, and damaging a fence to the tune of $250, according to Freij, who was the victim of three of the attacks. The tailor suspects students on summer break are the culprits and said incidents like this usually rise with the mercury.

Long-running problem: Long’s Wines and Liquors owner Heather Hamilton says vandalism on Fifth Avenue is a chronic issue.
Community News Group / Caroline Spivack

Previously, he did not tell police, because that’s not his style, he said.

“I’m old-school — I’d rather deal with these kids myself,” Freij said.

Instead, he complained to Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) who, according to Freij, told him he was keeping an eye on the matter.

Vandalism in the neighborhood is few and far between, but if the ruffian’s crime spree intensifies, Gentile will push to bolster security in the area, a spokesman said.

Police did not respond to a request for comment.

Elsewhere in the neighborhood, ruffians have been uprooting rose bushes from parks and private residences.

Uprooted: A ruffian ripped flowers from a Fifth Avenue planter and threw them all over the sidewalk on July 18.
Community News Group / Caroline Spivack