On Wednesday, a vandal scrawled a swastika on the door frame of the Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew on 86th Street and West End Avenue. On Monday, the church was covered in colorful signs drawn by community members who rallied to support the congregation.

Signs proclaimed “Love,” “All Are Welcome Here,” “Enter With Singing Praise and Love,” and “Let Peace Lead the Way.”

“Today neighbors and friends are coming by to leave messages of hope and resistance where the swastika had been!” a representative of the church wrote to us on Monday. Children and adults posted the signs to the outside of the church, setting up a table outside with markers and stationery.

On Sunday, Rev. Vicki Flippin spoke about dealing with the defacement of the church:

“In these acts of creation, move within us. Take what was meant for evil and turn it into an opportunity for good. As we wash away the defilements, let us use the moment, not to feel fear or bitterness toward others. Let not this defilement turn us toward defilement. Instead, let us use this moment to be even more loving to one another, to create with you a better world, to pray for our enemies, to redefine our neighbor, to welcome the stranger, and to aid those in the path of the storm. Consecrate our efforts this day. Amen.”

Police are looking for the culprit or culprits, and have asked people to contact them if they have information.

Top photo by Barbara Migdal. Other photos via the Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew.

Correction: We initially misstated the date of the vandalism. It was Wednesday, not Friday.

NEWS | 7 comments | permalink
    1. Marvelous! This outpouring of love, support & caring is what makes this the Upper Best Side.

    2. ScooterStan says:

      Something to think about:

      The great director Mel Brooks was once asked how he could write such touchy material as The Producers’ great “Springtime for Hitler” (“Don’t be stupid / be a smarty / Come and join / the Nazi party”.

      His answer was, basically, the best antidote to evil and a tyrant is to make fun of them and show how ridiculous they really are.

      For example, what if someone altered that now infamous clip of the neo-Nazi’s marching in Charlottesville but chanting “SHOES (rather than JEWS) won’t replace us”


      It would both drive the hate-mongers crazy and destroy their attempt at intimidation.

    3. Cantor Daniel Pincus says:

      This church used to be the home of the Jewish congregation Bnai Jeshurun. It’s strange that this was not mentioned in the article.

    4. robert says:

      While this symbol is vile, this incident may or may not be hate graffiti at all. On several occasions the 24 ha mentioned that there is a man that is known to them with a history of “mental issues” the has gone around writing this symbol and others around the area. He doesn’t know the symbols import. as well as the others he scribbles. Hopefully there is some sort of camera footage of the event
      The person that I mention as possibly having done this before doesn’t even know what this symbol is. He draws them as well as other symbols all over the uws. He has know major mental issues. He has repeatedly been picked up by NYPD to try and get him the pysch help he needs but he is back out of the hospital before the paperwork is done. Unfortunately this is what happens when all these programs are concentrated into one area. Think the cities “fair share laws”

    5. Jimbo says:

      Thanks for the great advice Mayor Bill.I would have never thought of that.

    6. NYWoman says:

      I just love New York – surprised there isn’t a hawker in front of the church selling “Love Conquers All” T shirts, umbrellas, or buttons.

    7. Barbara Litt says:

      BRAVO/A! Fantastic response to hate!