Governor Kathy Hochul came to Battery Park City on Wednesday to announce $25 million in state funding to help nonprofit organizations improve the security of their facilities to protect against the risk of hate crimes.
In an event at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, on Battery Place, the Governor said, “by their very nature, hate crimes strike at the heart of our democratic values and threaten to undermine the very tenets of our society. By helping nonprofit organizations protect themselves against these cowardly acts of violence, we continue to make public safety a top priority. Bigotry and hate have no place in our State, and we will do everything in our power to protect vulnerable people from those who would lash out against them due to their ideology, belief or mission.”
The choice of the Museum of Jewish Heritage as the venue for this announcement was driven, in part, by an incident in January, alluded to by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer in her remarks on Wednesday.
“During the pandemic, there was a hate sign on the door of this Museum,” she said, referring to the discovery of a Confederate flag tied to the entrance of the building. “Children from the school across the street, little students came over with notes of support. But too many people haven’t got the message.”
Ms. Brewer noted that the New York Police Department, “reports that in the last year, there have been 371 hate-related incidents, targeting Jews, Asians, the Black community, the queer community. Everyone deserves to feel safe on our streets, on our trains, and in our workplaces.”
State Senator Brian Kavanagh spoke of, “the critical importance of remembering what happened generations ago, but is still all too real throughout our world.”
State Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou reflected that, “it starts with education. It starts with understanding. And we need to make sure we are doing that.” She then quoted from “Night,” the memoir of serving Auschwitz by Elie Wiesel: “No human race is superior. No religion in inferior. All collective judgements are wrong. Only racists make them.”
According to Police Department data, Lower Manhattan’s First Precinct has been the site of dozens of hate crimes (defined as offenses motivated in whole or substantial part by a person’s, a group’s or a place’s identification with a particular race, religion, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, ancestry, national origin or sexual orientation) thus far in 2021, including three felony assaults, three misdemeanor assaults, and multiple related, lesser offenses.
Among these are a May incident in which on Bayard Street, when a 55-year-old woman was punched and knocked unconscious in an apparently random, unprovoked assault. In video captured by a security camera, a woman walks in front of outdoor seating area of Kong Sihk Tong restaurant, when she is approached by a man who raises his left arm and smashes her in the face. The woman reels backward from the force of the blow, and then falls to the sidewalk, where she sits motionless as passersby come to her aid.
In March, a Hasidic Jewish couple and their 13-month-old baby were all slashed by a razor-wielding man on Battery Place.
In June 24, three suspects were caught on surveillance video affixing to a pair of local buildings decals that resembled the Israeli flag, but with the Star of David replaced by a swastika. The trio left these signs on the the Goldman Sachs building (at 200 West Street), and the Verizon building (140 West Street).
A month earlier, the window outside an art exhibit at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, honoring the military service of African-American soldiers, was defaced with graffiti that decried, “more n—-r lovin’ bullshit.”