When the manager at Rusty Nail, a recently-opened bar located at 1701 Foster Avenue, between E. 17th and E. 18th streets, went by the business today, they noticed something extremely upsetting. The words “Stay Close” had been spray painted in black on two of the outside walls.
Owner Kathie Lee, who also owns and operates Sycamore Bar + Flower Shop and The Farm on Adderley, says that the graffiti was done on Monday, April 27th, around 10:40pm. The assailants, who seem to be two men, were caught on the restaurant’s security tape.
“When you come and check the business it’s so discouraging and disheartening [to see that], because you’re trying to stay optimistic and look forward to the day that you can reopen,” Lee said.
The community police were contacted today, but have not gotten back to Lee at the time of publishing. No leads have been explored, and the graffiti remains up so that law enforcement can document it properly. The cost of removal, likely powerwashing, will probably come out-of-pocket for Rusty Nail, Lee said.
The bar has been open for less than a year.
“It’s just very sad because we were a new business before the shutdown, and we’ve taken the approach to stay closed to do our part for shelter-in-place and social distancing. From a small business owner’s standpoint it has become extremely difficult not just for Rusty Nail but for all small businesses,” she added, saying there was no doubt in her mind that the graffiti was meant to mean “Stay Closed”, but is turning the typo into a silver lining.
“If humor is one of those things that helps us get through it, then good for us. We’re taking it as the silver lining and the community saying stay close. We are close, we’re socially distant right now, but we’re close, and we can’t wait to be closer when everything opens and we get to the other side of this,” Lee said.
Donations are also strongly appreciated to support Rusty Nail in the removal of the graffiti, and can be sent by Venmo to @RustyNailBK, noting “Stay Strong ‘Stay Close’ Graffiti”. If anyone has any information regarding the suspects seen in these photos, they are encouraged to contact law enforcement.