My husband and I were walking to the Prospect Avenue R stop this morning when we came upon this tree. John noticed the swastika first. We stepped back and snapped this picture. We boarded the train and when I got out at Whitehall I called the 78th Precinct to report the anti-Semitic vandalism. When the officer said he would transfer me to 911, I thought he said 311. When the operator came on the phone and said, “911. What’s your emergency?” I was so surprised and confused. I explained I was calling to report vandalism, apologized for disturbing her, and hung up.
When I arrived at the office and told Lisa and Emily about the incident, Lisa suggested I call my local councilmember, because Lisa is thoughtful that way. By the time I reached my desk, Lisa had already sent me Brad Lander’s contact information. I left a message at 8:59 and sent an e-mail with the photo a few minutes after that. Ten minutes later his staff person Emma called me. Ninety minutes later Emma called back to tell me that she reported the damage to the 72nd Precinct, called Councilwoman Sara González who is in the neighboring district to let her staff know, and she would be calling the Parks Department. She also put me at ease by telling me that there had been no reports of additional vandalism.
A few minutes after that I had a message from the 72nd Precinct assuring me that this matter was being attended to and if I had questions I could call Officer Dean Hanan back. Of course I had to call him back to thank him and to find out what happens to the tree. The trees on Prospect Avenue have had a rough few years. The tornado three years ago damaged quite a few, and what the tornado left behind, Sandy took back in anger. And now this. He reassured me that the tree would be okay.
I have lived in South Park Slope since 1996. Prior to today, I have called the police once, and I have never called constituent services for any councilperson. I am so very grateful that my community addressed this matter immediately, sensitively, and with great care. Thank you, Brooklyn.