‘Trump = Plague’ Graffiti Shows Up on More Boarded-Up Buildings

A graffiti phrase that landed a writer in jail is showing up in more spots in the neighborhood and beyond.

‘Trump = Plague’ was spray-painted on boards surrounding a site on 85th Street and Broadway.

Jill Nelson, a longtime Upper West Sider, was arrested after writing that phrase in pink chalk on another boarded-up building at 162nd Street and Broadway, she told us. Nelson, who dubbed herself “graffiti grandma”, said she was roughly handcuffed and jailed without the ability to call her husband. After we wrote about the incident, the story was picked up in other outlets including NBC and WNYC. The chalk was wiped away within hours of her arrest.

But this week, the phrase appeared again on the same board where she had originally written it. The photo makes it look like the words were scratched into the paint, rather than chalked.

“Photographed at 6:30 pm, May 16, 2020 at the scene of the ‘crime’ Broadway & 162nd St, NYC. NOT written by graffiti grandma, and much appreciated,” she told us.

NEWS | 42 comments | permalink
    1. Chris says:

      Liberals are such civil folks they never cause trouble per CNN

    2. Peter Simmons says:

      Another winner for the One Way Ticket to Venezuela! Congratulations, dear! Please enroll all your like minded puppets! With lots of Luck, yours, the Majority of NYC!! Don’t believe the coming outrage from your BFF!!

    3. Wijmlet says:

      This is a wasteful distraction. Let’s work to get Biden elected.

    4. Judith Apy says:


    5. ART says:

      I applaud when I have seen this. Sadly it is TRUE.
      And we need to VOTE!

      I also see this as a tribute to Jill Nelson. She should never have been treated so shockingly. I think about her a lot. Clearly it was racist and cruel.

      Especially in her honor, I hope people will continue to chalk all over and then roll up their sleeves and do whatever is necessary to restore basic decency to the presidency and the Senate

      • Bnyc says:

        Agree 100%

      • UWSHebrew says:

        All that matters are battleground states, so your “Vote!” Plea is preaching to the choir. New York will always vote Democrat. The DNC could put up a popsicle stick as the nominee and NY will vote for it. As evidenced by the present.

        • Michal says:

          A popsicle stick is functional and makes people happy. Already better than Trump.

        • JerryV says:

          UWSHebrew, I respectfully disagree with your position that, “All that matters are battleground states, so your “Vote!” Plea is preaching to the choir. New York will always vote Democrat.”

          Every vote counts! Trying to reduce the number of votes is a Trump objective. In the event that Trump again wins the electoral college vote but loses the popular vote by a large margin, there will be peaceful protests throughout the U.S.

          I can see nonviolent civil disobedience all over our country, starting with refusal to pay federal taxes.
          “No taxation without representation!” (Where did we hear this before?)

        • Paul says:

          Justifying someone who says windmills cause cancer by hitting at the capacity of his opponent?

          Nah. Not gonna work outside your bubble.

    6. jsv says:

      Trump IS a plague and his supporters are traitors to democracy.
      But please don’t graffiti on walls regardless. We all have to live here.
      I can’t believe I have to say this but don’t arrest people over it.

      • UWSHebrew says:

        Half the country are traitors to democracy? What hysterical nonsense. Maybe take a break from Rachel Maddow.

        • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

          UWSHebrew, you have made several recent postings accusing socialists and liberals of being “unpatriotic.” You like to wave the flag on behalf of Trump and your right wing allies. Pot/kettle.

          btw, racism is anti-American, in this day and age. We have national holidays that commemorate Lincoln and King. I haven’t noticed any national holidays for Robert E. Lee and Lester Maddox.

          oh, and before i forget: King was a democratic socialist.

          • Sherman says:

            Hi Bruce

            Bernie Sanders is also a “democratic socialist”.

            He’s also a democratic socialist with three houses.

            It’s amazing how so many lefties know how to game the system and get the best housing at rock bottom prices and not notice their hypocrisy.

            That said, Trump is a moron but I don’t believe in defacing property.


          • Janis says:

            Actually MLK,Jr. was neither a Republican or Democrat. Read his biography.
            And the fact that someone vandalizes private property is not something anyone should cheer on.
            Why not be more concerned about our health, our democracy, the rule of law, and the best person to run the Country? You may not like the President, but he is.
            I hate to see what the Democrats will do if President Trump wins again. Rather than just spray paint, will they burn down structures? It happened once, property vandalized, automobiles burned, and this was not done by Republicans when a Democrat won the White House in the last administration. In 2016 It, sadly, was done by the Left, however.

          • Boris says:

            “In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds”
            – Martin Luther King at the March on Washington

    7. CityGirl57 says:

      I agree with Art and fully support Jill Nelson. It sounds like she was treated with disrespect and the incident was so blown out of proportion…I have long admired her courage in speaking up openly .
      Definitely get out to vote !

    8. trump = putin = death.

      The spirit of Jill Nelson rolls on!

    9. Robert Sweetnam says:


    10. Ben David says:

      Stay safe.
      Vote for Biden (despite Tara Reade).
      Vote for Trump.
      Write in Bernie. Write in Hillary.
      But whatever you do, do not vandalize property – that makes you a bad citizen and a criminal, too., because it is against the law.

    11. David S says:

      “A graffiti phrase that landed a writer in jail…”

      No. It wasn’t the phrase that landed her in jail. It was defacing private property that landed her in jail.

    12. NYPatriot says:

      God Bless America and President Trump.

      • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

        racism and its promotion are unpatriotic; immigrant-bashing is unpatriotic; degrading and ignoring public health professionals is unpatriotic; giving false, misleading, and/or unscientific information in the midst of a pandemic is unpatriotic; promoting birtherism is unpatriotic.

        I have had enough of the Trumpers waving the flag. Stop hiding behind “patriotism”. Say what you really mean: white nationalism.

        • UWSHebrew says:

          Let’s see, I’m a Trump supporter which means, according to you I’m a white nationalist. The problem with that is white nationalists want to expel me from this country or want to kill me, because I’m Jewish. So how can I be a white nationalist? The answer is of course I can’t, it’s just that your point of view is so skewed and off kilter, you simply decided to label someone, which has been in vogue as of late unfortunately, as we see time and time again “Oh he (insert name), is just like Hitler”. Let me explain something to you Bruce Bernstein: my ancestors fought in the American Armed Forces during WWII and two were KIA. My grandmother was in slave labor and concentration camps. The temerity you have to smear millions of people in this country, including me, with the repulsive label of “white nationalist” because I support the current POTUS is beyond reprehensible. How dare you.

          • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

            this is pure demagogy. Why don’t you attempt to address some of my actual arguments? Do you disagree that racism is anti-American?

            Trump has associated himself with racism, xenophobia, and white nationalism, and has used these as the crutch underlying his campaigns.

          • Nevets K says:

            Hello, UWS Hebrew,
            I trust you are well!
            I enjoy and am informed by many of your comments.
            Some I agree with.
            However, I know for a fact that you were mistaken when you made the following claim in the comment from above:
            “So how can I (as a Jew) be a white nationalist? The answer is of course I can’t.”
            Sorry, but you could be. It is neither theoretically nor practically impossible. And how do I know this: Because my brother is Jewish and he is a white nationalist (and a Trump supporter too – though this may be coincidental…)
            As any loving, Jewish brother would do, I asked him how this could be possible. (See, UWS Hebrew, our great minds think alike!) He answered, “I don’t know, I’ve always identified more with being white than being Jewish.” Believe me, my brother is virulently racist and believes absolutely that “the white race” is under attack and must defend itself. Without question, he is a white nationalist.
            Now, obviously, that is not the case with you. But the example of my brother irrefutably proves your assertion wrong. It is very possible to be both Jewish and a white nationalist.
            And if I wanted to argue with you, which I don’t, I would say that Steven Miller is one too.
            But we can certainly agree that for a Jew to be a white nationalist is very much beyond the pale. Not to mention disturbing, nauseating, and repugnant.
            I thank you for your time.
            Please stay well, and all the best.

    13. Alice Sturm Sutter says:

      So glad the message is spreading!! Thank you Jill Nelson!!!

    14. Leon says:

      About a week ago I saw that the Trump sign on the southbound West Side Highway in the low 80s had graffiti over “Trump” but this weekend the graffiti there was gone.

      I think sponsoring that stretch of highway is the only charitable thing he has ever done, and there was obviously a quid pro quo around it regarding his buildings near there.

    15. Will says:

      Graffiti is such a minor crime, it really does not bother me at all when it occurs. People have too much time to complain these days.

      • Please_Leave says:

        If you don’t mind it let me come to where you live and write anything I want. All over the walls an not in chalk.
        It’s my first amendment right.

    16. Robin Bell says:

      Hurrah for timely and courageous civil disobedience! And preaching to the converted can give the converted the courage and words to speak with those still in the dark. Carry on revolting! (P.S. Hi to Peter Simmons from another Simmons formerly at #210!)

    17. jen says:

      where can I get a t-shirt that says this??

    18. Bruce E. Bernstein says:

      We are all Jill Nelson!!

      • UWSHebrew says:

        Not me, she is a disgrace.

      • Rob G. says:

        Perhaps you like to deface public property and and contribute to the decline in our quality of life, but don’t think for a moment that you speak for anyone but yourself. Encouraging anyone to commit a crime, no matter how insignificant, is reprehensible and shameful, no matter which side of the aisle you are on.

    19. MP says:

      How about DeBlasio is the plague?! Or Helen Rosenthal or any of the local leaders. Set aside your poltiical views as hard as that it is. Our local leaders failed us beyond belief. Regardless of your view on national politics, they are not responsible for the upper west side!

    20. GP says:

      Option A: Bicker about graffiti (written in chalk).
      Option B: Work to get Biden elected.

    21. Jill Nelson is guilty of civil disobedience, the highest form of crime, the crime that got Gandhi & Thoreau, Martine Luther King & countless principled others jailed for political speech… & now Jill Nelson joins their exalted ranks by writing ON A BOARDED UP BUILDING! Boarded up! Where’s the harm in that crime???

      And where has it gotten her? Story after story, one photo after another of her eloquent speech, two on this page alone.

      Well done, Jill.

      trump = putin = death of democracy.

      putin puts people who exercise their political thoughts in jail as well, and even has them murdered. He’s also, it must be remembered, a man our POTUS endlessly admires & would emulate if he only he could; don’t let him!

      November = End of Official Rapid-Fire High Dudgeon Tweets.

    22. Jennifer Rosen says:

      Feisty grandma! You go, grandma! The greatest artist of the late 20th century started as a graffiti artist. Basquiats paintings go for multi millions. She did not deface a building only an ugly temporary structure. Big deal. I personally love to hear and see voices of the people. Graffiti art is a time honored urban tradition. Great artists always rebel against status quo.