Southern Brooklyn

Vandals Turn “Ave J” Station Into “Ave Jew,” Pols Condemn As Anti-Semitism


Vandals hit up the Avenue J train station early Wednesday morning, spray painting an “ew” onto the station’s sign to read Avenue Jew. Now representatives of the heavily Orthodox Jewish area are condemning the graffiti and locals are wondering if it’s connected to last week’s hate-crime-related torching of three cars, which was accompanied by spray-painted “KKK” and swastikas nearby.

Police are investigating the latest spray painting as a possible bias crime, and the Transit Police have removed the sign.

“I am deeply disturbed by the graffiti incident at the Avenue J station on the Q line today,” Councilman Lew Fidler said in a statement yesterday. “Coming as quickly as it does on the heels of last week’s horrible acts on Ocean Parkway, it is particularly chilling. We cannot and will not stand by and watch haters and hooligans demonize the entire Jewish community with impunity. Whether this is the work of one deranged person, a group of drunken idiots or some organized effort, it must be met with an immediate outcry. I am calling today on Police Commissioner Kelly to move some of those police officers that have been stationed at or near Zuccotti Park to our neighborhoods until those culpable are caught and brought to justice. People of good conscience can never be silent in the face of hate. Now is not the time to turn the other cheek or to look away. Now is the time to act.”

Assemblyman Dov Hikind expressed similar outrage and demanded action.

“Education and vigilance are our only weapons in fighting against this blatant hatred,” Hikind told ABC News. “We must send a message to those who perpetrate these vile acts that we will not tolerate their behavior. These cowards need to know that we will find them wherever they lurk, and when we do, we will prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.”

UPDATE (11:17 a.m.): Congressman Jerrold Nadler just issued the following statement. We’re not entirely sure if it’s in reference to the Avenue Jew vandalism, since he only referred to “another anti-Semitic act.”

“News of yet another anti-Semitic act in Brooklyn sends an unequivocal message that our communities are under attack by deeply ignorant and destructive bigots.  NYPD must increase its surveillance and enforcement, with more officers on the ground and more contact with community leaders and elected officials.  Residents of Midwood and other areas targeted must be vigilant and ready to report incidents and help their neighbors.  As we join together to beat back the scourge of prejudice and hate, Shomrim and neighborhood institutions which already have infrastructure in place to protect residents are instrumental.  We must continue to speak out in the strongest possible terms whenever anyone is singled out for anti-Semitic or racist hatred.  The hate-filled few don’t stand a chance against us when we stick together and fight back.”

Comment policy


  1. I saw this on the news yesterday.  And while it could very possibly be an antisemitic crime it could also be some Jewish kids tagging their own station.  If there was no other graffiti or hateful remarks then really it’s just an accurate description of the station.

  2. So, we can assume the same thing, then, if someone spray-painted “uslim” next to the “M” one station over? That it’s merely a description of the station? No hate or offense intended?

  3. It’s possible.  I am Jewish and don’t like to see these kinds of things, and this could very well be a hate crime, but as it stands right now it”s not an open and shut case.  Sometimes jewish kids spray paint the star of David.  Simply writing the word Jew on a train station does not prove a hate crime.

  4. It’s pretty pathetic. Not funny and the perpetrators should be caught and flogged as an example to others.

    And then they can repaint the fence. Totally.

    That said, I do wish that elected officials would show outrage at some of the other concerns of our greater community. Graffiti is not the most serious problem facing us right now. Our leaders need to be addressing shortfalls in revenue and focusing public attention on their efforts to remedy that situation. Remedies that don’t focus revenue gathering on those who are struggling to stay afloat right now.

    That’s just the beginning of the list.

  5. Why are we bringing up Muslims? I see anti anti-gay graffiti; are you outraged by that? I think most members of the GBLT community are too busy with concerns about greater crimes, like assault and murder, being committed against them.

    So you never hear outrage from them about what is not as great a threat.

    Everything is perspective.

  6. Jew is a bad word? Will these vandals be going to Ave N next? Mowahaha. OK seriously, who has NOT thought ave J was Ave Jew. All the jews get off there (ok, not all, but tons do!)…(ok, not literally TONS, but…bah, nevermind)

  7. The politicians yell and scream at something like this because it’s an easy one, a non-controversial one. Who’s going to argue with the politician who’s crying against anti-semitism?
       Like LisaAnne says, there’s much more important fish to fry in this city. By all means catch the people who did  this, because we’ve seen how to improve the city, by eliminating the little crimes, the big ones seem to go away too.  But let’s not let the politicians waste their time making self-serving proclamations while there’s work to do here.

  8. They do focus on shortfalls on revenue. They keep raising our taxes and increasing fines, fining home owners for hairline cracks because of their hazard, while hairline cracks on City property are normal and pose no hazard.

  9. You and I don’t agree often, but I admit that the rush to conclusion that this is anti-Semitic makes me a little uncomfortable, more-so because I am Jewish. It could very well be a Jewish kid, or just some idiot, but not necessarily a hateful idiot. Now, Erica, at the risk of igniting a fire on this thread: if someone spray-painted “uslim” next to the “M” one station over, would a million politicians flock to call it a hate crime?

  10. Folks, first I want to say that I find some of the comments in this thread to be troubling, at the very least insensitive. I will leave it at that….but really folks, anonymity is no excuse for saying things that you wouldn’t want your real name attached to.

    Second, I want to thank Transit Police Chief Joe Fox for agreeing to take my request for additional police presence following this spate of hate crimes in Flatbush directly to Commissioner Kelly. Chief Fox has always been a trusted friend and neighbor.

    Third, I want to emphasize that silence in the face of hate crimes—REGARDLESS of who the victims are—-is never an acceptable option. I know that I have stood up repeatedly for other groups as well be it the defacement of Good Shepherd Church or the horrific crime against Michael Sandy ( a gay Black male). I am certainly not going to let the fact that I am Jewish prevent me from speaking out on anti-Semitic acts.

    Fourth, for an elected official, the above paragraph is doubly important. If we were silent, what would your comments be?

    Fifth, most of us are capable of multi-tasking. So as to Lisanne’s point, the two things are not mutually exclusive. Readers of this blog would know, for example, that I have been advocating for an extension of the hotel tax surcharge that is set to expire at the end of this month….something that is worth nearly $100 million in revenue. My support for a true millionaire’s tax is well documented and has in fact been included in my last budget related council newsletter.

    Finally, as to graffiti not being the most important problem in our community, I think you miss the point. The problem is hate. I would not be quite as apoplectic about the Avenue J sign had we not just experienced the horrible incidents on Ocean Parkway. I doubt truly that there is a connection between the two. but the trend is disturbing to say the least…and requires a response.

    And, btw, for the record, I think graffiti is a pretty serious problem in our neighborhood as well which is why I have used Council discretionary funds to fund two separate graffiti removal programs in my district for the past 10 years.

    Thanks for indulging me.

    Lew from Brooklyn

  11. You remind me of a former friend in college who thought it was sufficiently funny just to repeatedly point out the fact that I or someone else was Jewish. Not connected to any context or stereotype or anything that would’ve given it a hint of being clever, just, say, introducing me – and others – as “This is Ned. He’s a Jew.” He and I aren’t friends anymore. Humor is subjective, sure, but regardless, it still requires a bit of wit. You clearly don’t have that.

  12. ave J for Jew, and ave N for.. Nick the Rat 🙂 , ave R for Russians, B train for Bigots and Q train for queer…, G train for Gay.. or Gene or Green.. or whatever you want

    Just goes to show you that you can come up with anything and everything.. does not have to be a hate crime right away. People get ahead of themselves. I bet that majority of jews care more of whats going on on than of whats going on on Ave J. 

  13. I would be outraged by anti-gay graffiti if I saw it. I never see it, but I know that means it does not exist. In fact, I never see anti-Jewish graffiti, except for when it’s reported on in the news. “We” are bringing up Muslims because there is no Avenue G, for Gay, or Avenue C, for Christian / Catholic / Chinese, or Avenue S for Sikh, or Avenue T for Transvestite, or Avenue I for Indian on the Q-train line. I should use the F-train as an example? Fine. I’d be outraged if I saw the letters “ndian” next to the “I” at Avenue I stop on the F-train line, and I’d be doubly outraged if I saw the letters “anthoderm” next to the “X” at Avenue X. But unlike all those words, the word “Jew,” alone, carries with it the suggestion of disparity and hate. So you concern yourself with your perspectives, and that’s fine, and I respect that, and I, who lost family in the Holocaust because Nazis thought they were inferior, will concern myself with my perspectives. I hope “we” are cool with that.

  14. Your friend seems to have the kind of humor that David Letterman uses, I am not a big fan of it.  The premise is basically to say something over and over and hope that is somehow becomes funny by its pure blandness.  Something “So it’s cold today folks huh” and then repeat it 20 times.  Dada humor I call it. 

  15. You’re one of the really balanced elected officials. You’re outraged by any offense against people. You inform us as to what you doing, and what needs correcting. I’m just disturbed by those who will not speak out in other circumstances that need addressing as well.

    You’re the one that everyone else should be compared to. You represent the entire community, in fact our greater community as well.

  16. Thanks Ned, I do believe that some perspective is needed. This is not the most horrific act of hate that has occurred in recent memory. And it may well be not an act of hate at all.

  17. Classifications of crazy people on the NYC subway.

    Greetings inhabitants of Sheepshead Bay.  Today we try to get our minds around the loonies riding the trains that give the NYC subway a certain aura you simply
    will not find anywhere else.

    The Twitchers, Danger Level LOW – Twitchers are as common on the train as
    rats are on the tracks.  Generally speaking Twitchers are not that much
    different from you and me (especially you).  When standing or sitting
    next to a Twitcher you might not even notice
    at first that you are next to one.  Twitchers are characterized by mild
    to moderate muscles spasms and twitching of the face and eyes. When
    sitting next to one stay clear of sporadic arm twitches that will have a
    tendency to smack you in the face.  As it is not their intention to
    continuously hit you, your best bet is to just laugh the whole thing
    off. Mumbling to themselves is also a dead giveaway of a Twitcher.  If
    you did not bring anything to read feel free to make light conversation
    with these individuals as they will gladly rekindle you with tales of
    their pet iguana or how the train conductor has it in for them and is
    purposely delaying the train.

    The Space Maker, Danger Level – ELEVATED – as you might have guessed the
    reason for their name is because whenever on the train these individuals
    have a radius of about 10ft around them into which other passengers are
    not comfortable of stepping into. The Space Makers or SMs will
    naturally be loud and will try to force conversation on anyone who steps
    into their perimeter.  Eye contact is not
    recommended as it might be met with a “Do you know me?” greeting.  The
    SM will likely be eating some sort of greasy meal while he is screaming
    how everyone else on the train is a tool of the corporations or the
    Jews.  If you find yourself next to an SM with no way to maneuver away,
    immediately start talking to yourself and stumping your feet against the
    floor, as the SM will probably perceive you to be a Twitcher and grant
    you immunity from his verbal assaults.

    The Car Splitter, Danger Level – STRONG.  A train pulls into the station
    during rush hour and you walk in.  You look around your immediate
    surroundings and see that all the seats are empty.  In fact all the
    people are crowded up in the opposite side of the train car.  What’s
    going on here?  BAM.  You tremble in fear as you realize that you are in
    the presence of the Car Splitter (CR).  CRs get their name from the
    fact that whenever they are on the train the people that were in that
    half of the train car immediately move to the other side of the car. 
    These motherfuckers are active.  They will not be content to just
    sitting and screaming and will move from seat to seat usually dragging
    their possessions with them.  CRs are also very industries and because
    they know that time is valuable they will likely be involved in some
    kind of activity while on their tirade.  Masturbation is of course a
    favorite, but being crafty a CR might also start a campfire to roast a
    freshly caught squirrel. Naturally these activities are not mutually
    exclusive.  It is not really the CRs goal to hurt you, but be warned,
    that if he perceives you as thinking that you are better then him or
    spots you eyeing his squirrel your plan of action should be to get off
    at the next stop.

    The Train Cleaner, Danger Level – EXREME .  The reason for their name is
    simple, whenever a Train Cleaner enters the train everyone else
    immediately exits.  Train Cleaners (TC) are likely just released from a
    mental hospital or prison and they are out to bust as many heads as
    possible before they are inevitably put back in.  TCs will usually wear
    some sort of head ornament made out of radio parts to make themselves
    look more intimidating.    Sometimes brandishing a weapon such as whip
    made out of electric cord or simply a big rock the TC’s goal is to
    attack as many passengers as possible so he can get on the news and then
    brag to his buddies back at the penitentiary.

  18. I deal all the time with acts of hate or ignorance directed against me. But I do not make it part of my personal narrative. I don’t want to discomfort people with negative images. Nor do I wish to be accorded special status.

    I get acceptance in great part because I look for the commonality that is in all of us. I define myself as a person first, everything specific about me is merely secondary.

  19. I might ad that painting the word “Jude” on a storekeeper’s window in 1938 isn’t the most horrific act of hate that has occurred, and surely not when compared to the act of killing Matthew Shepard, or Michael Sandy, or Leon Klinghoffer… but think of what less horrific acts like spray-painting represent. It’s threatening, and completely unfunny. When cars are torched by subhumans, who paint “KKK” and swastikas on a bench, it’s not meant as a joke — it’s meant to scare people and put them on edge. It’s meant to f–k with their heads.

    And as far as (in reply to Ned’s question) a million politicians flocking to call it a hate crime: If the same exact car-torching incident occurred, and instead of swastikas, the beasts wrote that (hypothetically) “All Muslims should die,” or whatever, I would expect no less than very vocal outrage from politicians at every level of government. If the letters “uslim” were painted at Avenue M on the heels of such an incident, yes, I do believe our politicians would react with angry outrage. Just because they are Jewish doesn’t mean that they would ignore the rest of their constituency. That’s unfair. If “uslim” was painted at Avenue M without the car-torching / KKK / Ocean Parkway incident occurring, I’m not sure anyone would know what to make of it, but compounded with a prior hateful event against the same group of people, it is certainly cause for alarm.

    I would be lying if I said I had faith in my elected officials. They are mostly (no offense to Councilman Fidler — this is not directed toward him) self-aggrandizing buffoons, who bicker and cheat at the expense of the rest of us who struggle to make an honest buck, but when it comes to hate crimes, against anyone, I cannot think of a single southern Brooklyn legislator (well…I can think of one…) who wouldn’t go the full nine yards to vociferously condemn an act of hate.

  20. Well Lisanne, maybe if you would stop running around the neighborhood in that silly blonde wig dressed as a woman!

    Quit with the comparison! 

  21. Lisanne, you have more tolerance and human compassion than most. So much so that I find myself apologizing for my shortness in the afore.
    I admire the way you can look at things from both views and form an educated opinion.
    Me, I just roll with what I like….no particular party.
    Thank you for not always painting the same picture.
    P.S. I like the “personal narrative” part. That at times I find as difficult.

  22. I know you don’t. My point was that we need to focus on our positives. That way we can do much good, as our energies are not diminished by focusing on the crap the world throws at us.

  23. Keep blushing. I agree with Lisanne completely.

    My first exposure to Councilman Fidler was through stories told to me by an ex girlfriend who at the time interned in his office. She would tell me how hard he worked and how dedicated he was to everything from the smallest neighborhood issues to the biggest city-wide boulders.

    Through the comments on this blog and the news stories of the past few years I am convinced that she wasn’t kidding. Keep up the good job Lew and hopefully we will have more people like you who take the job for their love of the community and not the perks that can be squeezed out of it.

    -An impressed constituent.

  24. Maybe people should be able to wear whatever the hell they want without fear of harm coming to them, or some lip-flapping turd making incendiary remarks toward them. Just a thought. I’m sorry…a thought is…
    1. The act or process of thinking; cogitation.
    2. A product of thinking. See Synonyms at idea.
    3. The faculty of thinking or reasoning.
    4. The intellectual activity or production of a particular time or group: ancient Greek thought; deconstructionist thought.
    5. Consideration; attention: didn’t give much thought to what she said.
    I didn’t think you actually knew what it meant, having not experienced one in your life.

  25. I’m not judging and I could certainly see how that would suck. 🙁 My pernt is, so long as you’re not wearing an SS uniform, or a white pillow case over your head, I wouldn’t care if you wore a shiny gold g-string and pasties on Sheepshead Bay Road.

  26. Spray painting “uslim” at Ave M would not be a good comparison, since it is not a heavily Muslim neighborhood, like Ave J is heavily Jewish.

  27. As anyone who knows me (and there are a lot of readers and commenters here who do) I usually tend to dress androgynously, and rarely have I worn a wig. But playing stereotypes is how people do demonize others. But it’s true that people should be accepted regardless of their appearance, it should not be relevant.

  28. But they also get off on Avenue M, and (switching to the F line) Ditmas Avenue, 18th Avenue, and at least three or four stops along 62nd Street on the N line, and a handful of stops along the D…

    “Jew” is one of those words that has kind of an ambiguous meaning. It’s sort of like the seemingly innocuous “you people.” The words themselves aren’t the issue, but rather how they are used.

    Sandy Koufax is a Jew from Brooklyn, no big whoop, so am I. But call him “that Jew pitcher” and suddenly the meaning of the word is distorted and the phrase becomes ugly and discriminatory.

    So yeah, it can be a bad word, depending upon the context in which it’s being used.

  29. Avenue J has a high Orthodox population.  Avenue ‘Jew’ is a joke.  A bad joke perhaps, but not a hate crime.

    So be careful, kids.  Simply tagging up the ‘race that shall not be named’ is enough to brand you a racist.

  30. ES hit the nail on the head.  It’s all about context. 

    What in the above photo leads anyone to believe this was a hate crime rather than a bad pun on the demographic that dominates the area?  It seems to me that the assumption is that the vandal above is not Jewish.  If he or she were, suddenly this goes from being a hate crime to an act of pride.

  31. What the heck has this got to do with what happened at the Avenue J subway station?
    People, people, people, you have every right to vent and rant, but at least stay on topic and address the mater at hand.
    Lew from Brooklyn’s response (see below) was the right one, not this crap!

  32. Hey Kramden, sound  sound more like ENorton! From J to Jew is NOT a bad joke. It’s an bias attack on a group of people, which, by law, is a HATE crime! .

  33. Oh shit… I can’t say I disagree there Ned. What I can’t stand about this country though is you shed some fuckin light on a situation and you’re automatically labeled a bad guy or a racist. Sometimes you need to be a fuckin realist and leave the politics behind for a sec.

  34. You have a problem. I have seen Hispanics, Blacks and others get off at Avenue J and I doubt they are Jewish. Get your facts straight before you make make totally ignorant remarks.

  35. How is Jew ambiguous? Can someone sensibly explain that? There are Orthodox, conservative, reform and non-practicing Jews, but there’s no ambiguity to anyone who is Jewish!!!

  36. Writing “Jude” on a storekeeper’s window IN 1938 may very well have been an act of antisemitism, on both sides of the Atlantic (particularly Germany). But that’s in 1938, where the word “Jude” had a much more negative connotation. When being Jewish meant that you are the scum of the earth. 
    Today the word “Jew” is not used in a derogatory way. At least not in NYC. 
    You may be seeing this in a negative light due to the recent events on ocean parkway. But take those events away, and this sign is kind of funny. 

    As a matter of fact, if it was up to me, i would probably add “York” after the “Jew”. 

    Oh and i also lost family in the holocaust. most ashkenazi jews from europe did.
    Just different perspectives i guess.

  37. I am relatively new here, and  your gender or sexual orientation is really none of my business, but, what do mean by “I am legally female so the way I dress is my legal right.”

    I was under the impression you were just a woman

  38. Ahh okay. Can’t imagine that being easy to go through.  Certainly no reason to be rude to you.  On the other hand your political views are a great reason 😀

  39. Have you ever actually been on Avenue J? A cursory glance on Google Maps reveals that Avenue J — and immediate side streets, including Coney Island Avenue just off Avenue J — by the Q line, is home to Paper Maiven, Rimonim, Yeshivah of Flatbush Elementary School, Young Israel of Flatbush, Hecht Hebrew Books, Menorah Antiques, Yeshivah Chasdei Torah, Camp Morasha, Essex on Coney, Chiffon Kosher Bakery, Eichler’s Judaica, The Center for Kosher Culinary Arts, Ostrovitzky’s Kosher Bakery, Kosher Delight, Jerusalem II Pizza, Jerusalem Steak House II, Garden of Eat-In (Kosher dairy), Kosher Bagel Hole, Yeshiva & Kollel Harbotzas, Oh Nuts!, Touro College Flatbush Campus, Joel Braverman High School, Young Israel of Avenue J, and Yeshivah Ruach Hatorah, Congregation Beth Avraham, Yeshivah Gedola Bais Yisroel… do you want me to go on? I can tell you, re: what Nick said — you’re not going to find too many hairdressers on Avenue J that do hair-weaves or restaurants serving Mofongo Relleno de Camarones.

  40. Wait..wait…hold on…

    “Fine. I’d be outraged if I saw the letters “ndian” next to the “I” at
    Avenue I stop on the F-train line, and I’d be doubly outraged if I saw
    the letters “anthoderm” next to the “X” at Avenue X. But unlike all
    those words, the word “Jew,” alone, carries with it the suggestion of disparity and hate.”

    How can you even bring up the term Indian and claim that it DOESN’T carry with it the suggestion of disparity or hate?  Colonial America disagrees with you.

    My point is that assuming your race or religion is the only term that invokes hatred is arrogant and ignorant.

  41. We can agree to disagree about politics. Passionately at times. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be friendly otherwise.

    Sometimes we forget that, but in the end everything works out.

  42. Funny, if it were on the cover of Heeb Magazine, MAYBE. And not genuinely ha-ha funny, but more like grooooaaaaan ha ha funny.

    As graffiti, when the perp has already started on the wrong foot because they’re vandalizing property that doesn’t belong to them? Not funny. In the context of an ADL survey showing anti-Semitism on the rise being raised by a triple-firebombing? Not funny. Obnoxious and offensive at best. Best case scenario – if it really does turn out to be a Jewish teen who thought it would be a cool thing to write and either didn’t know how deeply it would hurt the community or didn’t care. Then it is merely obnoxious and offensive, and against the law because the punk-ass brat is still a graffiti vandal. Why do I think, though, that the more probable scenario is that the perp is not Jewish and wrote this out of ignorance and bigotry.

  43. Suit yourself.  If anyone ever calls me a white boy again, I’d like Lew to help me put the hate mongers behind bars.

    for your info

    I quote.

    Who is a Jew? 
    A Jew is any person whose mother was a Jew or any person who has gone through the formal process ofconversion to Judaism.”

    What is racist or offensive about that? 

    In your terms .. if anyone calls me Christian.. commits a hate crime, right? 

  45. The Jerome that Jerome Avenue (and the one in the Bronx as well) was named after was Winston Churchill’s grandfather. Really! Can’t get more white bread than that Jerome.

  46. Why the Jews mad? They took OVER that place. haha when I went back there I was like damn. The vandals just put the exclamation point. Hell, I would be like ‘Yea boy we took over this area’

  47. Yes, provide cameras and give out tickets, instead of opening more public bathrooms for an hour long commute. Flawless logic.

  48. Dang haters of those LOVABLE sweetheart jews? Why would ANYONE hate them for all the kindness, communism, and monetary theft they bestow onto this earth?


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