By Carol Tannenhauser
Somebody decided to ruin approximately 65 people’s Tuesday with a can of red spray paint.
Police got a call at 9:45 a.m. on Tuesday that “multiple vehicles were damaged on Riverside Drive between W. 99th and W. 110th Streets.” When officers arrived they found “approximately 65 privately owned, parked, and unattended vehicles…with a straight red line painted [on each] from the front bumper to the rear bumper on the passenger side.”
Each car had the following incident report affixed to its windshield.
There was no trace of the person who did this. The investigation is active and ongoing.
Thanks to the reader who sent this tip, writing, “Please publish an article about this Criminal Mischief to draw attention to the need for cameras on Riverside Drive…[also] the red spray paint used was likely sold nearby, so someone may recall an odd purchase or a stockpile of red paint. Any lead might help stop this from happening again.”
Wow. Has this happened before? Our neighborhood has changed for the worse. And you can’t deny it anymore. Quality of life crimes must be addressed. Lawlessness muse be addressed. Enough.
No, and nothing like it – even in the Crack 90s – on a scale that would come close.
I’ll say it for the millionth time – what has “changed” is a complete collapse in accountability and consequence;
“It was fun to do, I won’t get caught, and if I do I’ll only get a slap on my wrist.”
Slap on the wrist might be too harsh and could bring a lawsuit. Besides as Nikole Hannah-Jones would claim, “It’s just property.”
anti-car “activists” ?
This was my exact first thought as sad as that may sound.
I wouldn’t put it above them. They deflated tires on the UES last year.
Agree with the call for cameras! We need speed and red light cameras at every intersection.
Nice way to weaponize concerns about vandalism to spite car drivers.
Robert – I would hope that no West Side Rag readers think this destruction of property is OK. But I find it interesting that you seem to be saying that calls that other readers have made for cameras to catch vandals causing property damage are acceptable, but Josh’s call for cameras to catch dangerous and illegal car drivers, who cause the many road deaths and serious injuries that we have experienced on the UWS and throughout NYC, was done out of spite.
I personally welcome enforcement of our traffic laws and would love to see far more enforcement, as we have seen far too often the tragic consequences of illegal driving. I don’t see it as spiting me, a car driver, as I always adhere to the speed limit and stop at red lights. It’s not hard to do.
Where are the cops? Where is the outrage? This neighborhood is a mess!
Any cameras over this 11-block stretch?
Not my vehicle but I’m beyond livid for these people … WHY??? And the person will probably do this again on another street up here … Ridiculous! Are people THAT bored and miserable nowadays?
It’s teenagers who have no disciplined home life. We all know this.
Plenty of nuts well over the age of 19, intent on nothing good, are wandering our streets daily.
Been a resident of the UWS for over 55 years and I always warn people to avoid parking on RSD at all costs. Poor lighting, especially along the West sidewalk allow for constant breaking into cars and vandalism.
Criminal mischief? Seriously? This is vandalism, destruction of property. I don’t drive and I am still outraged. No doubt that most, if not all, of the car owners are tax payers and I highly doubt that this criminal contributes anything to society. Why does this city continue to allow those of us who pay ALL the city bills to be abused by the parasites?
Joanne – Don’t hold your breath. You’ll promptly be told that the perpetrators are “victims” (of something), that you’re overreacting because “noone got hurt,” that Rikers is a hellhole (thus easier for the lazy brains to export crime to the masses, instead of fixing it), and that the vehicle owners are at fault for parking there and for not securing their property (at the very least) with anti-tank missiles.
I don’t think many if any commentators here on WSR will respond in the way you predict. I agree with your drift, though, that using “Rikers is a hell-hole” as an excuse for allowing repeat perpetrators to roam around is harmful to the city.
Correction: there were a few cars between 90th and 95th that had also been spray painted. Didn’t notice until a passerby this morning asked me whether I thought one was personal or random. Then, as I continued walking, I kept seeing more of them and realized it was vandalism. If there aren’t already cameras all over Riverside Drive and through the Park, then that should be corrected immediately. Too quiet and removed for there not to be.
WD40 usually works to remove paint.
argh. Does anyone know how to remove spray paint from a car?
It turns out a little elbow grease and regular soapy cleanser works pretty well
More evidence of the decline of the upper west side. Pathetic. I know this may seem like a “small” crime, but the thinking and intention behind it is important. It shows a primitive mindset and a basic lack of empathy and respect for others/rules/law. The person who did this either did not have the capacity to stop and think about the consequences of this for the victims or they did think about the consequences for the victims and didn’t care — one scenario reflects the hallmark of an intellectual reject, the other a sociopath; neither person is someone we should feel great empathy toward.
Some people simply shouldn’t be allowed to be among the general public. Period
And found graffiti on a brownstone on my block which NEVER happened before. Destruction and ugliness is their only means of enjoyment!!
This guy just damaged cars on over 12 blocks and no one saw anything? Where are the cameras? Where are the cops?
Can’t help but pity the sad existence of someone who’s got nothing better going on in life than to cause inconvenience and property damage to others.
I pity them, but anger at their selfishness dominates my emotional response.
Also happened back in late November up near Grant’s Tomb and I couldn’t even get the precinct to come out to make a report.
So in NYPD statistics is this 65 incidents or just one?
Just one incident with MULTIPLE victims
On Riverside Drive above Grants Tomb this also happened on the East side of the street crossing the viaduct to w135th St
This was in January,I see it was posted it also happened in November along the viaduct. Columbia University may have cameras.
Just wanted to add, my car was one of those vandalized. There were tons more cars up near Grant’s Tomb that got sprayed, not just down near 110th. I already knew the risks but 1) I don’t have time to move it around on my block and 2) I can’t afford a garage. Would be nice if there was, instead, ya’know, enforcement as this is the third time i’ve seen this (luckily not on my car) in as many months. I made a police report but who knows.
For anyone else who got vandalized, I’ve heard acetone or a detailing clay bar are good options. I can update when I have time to try to clean it off tomorrow. Definitely look it up before you try something!
Just wanted to give a quick update. To anyone who still hasn’t cleaned their car, this worked wonders for me: 1 bottle of non-acetone nail polish remover and 1 jug of water from Duane Reade, microfiber rags from Max Pro Hardware. Doused a rag in the np remover and gently (but firmly) wiped off the paint. With another rag, doused with water and liberally cleaned off remaining np remover from the car. Took me 15 minutes in all.
Thanks for suggestions on here. Stay safe, all.
Acetone can damage the car’s finish – it’s a paint stripper. Nail polish remover is mostly acetone. I would not use it.
probably the sooner you do it the better right ?
Definitely. But with my job this week, I could only do it at night and I trust the people who drive on Riverside Drive not at all.
This has been happening on and off since at least October 2022 — they got mine in early January.
Having lived in close proximity to Riverside Drive for 20 yrs, it became clear early on that parking there, while ample, is a high risk proposition. I would typically drive 30+ minutes around looking for a spot ‘inland’ just to avoid the pitfalls of parking there…
Parking “ample” on RSD? Haha.
Good example of the “‘nasty nut(s),”
Please start patrolling upper Riverside Park
I walk the dog here every night between 10pm and 1am. a few other dogs around but generally it’s a ghost town. cops sit on riverside and 103 in the bus stop from time to time at night. i’ve definitely seen broken passenger windows and cars on blocks with no tires in the last couple of years. also the dog is sniffing some of these cars quite intensely which means there’s probably a rats nest in there. it definitely doesn’t help that almost none of these cars ever move. the smart person parks elsewhere always.
Sadly, it’s not so easy to park elsewhere. We live in a community in which the community board is mercilessly against those of us with cars. Between the hundreds of parking spots lost on CPW (east side of the street) from the W50s all the way up to the West 100s), the Citibank stations, the constant movie shoots, outdoor dining sheds, construction/repairs, needing to (extremely senselessly) move cars 4x/week (such an outrage), it’s impossible to find parking. Meanwhile, the community board enthusiastically supports each new proposal that will further compound these hardships. Absolute cruelty … and greed bc we all know their ulterior motives.
So we can either sit back and continue to not say/do anything about this or work together to make changes beginning with changing these ludicrous ASP signs from 4x/week to 1 x or 2x/week.
CB7 hates private cars. Doesn’t want UWSiders driving to visit grandma in New Jersey or kids at Princeton.
Or retirees driving to beaches or mountains for cheap getaways in the summer. Wants car owners outta here.
And you can’t fight City Hall.
They don’t want car owners commuting to work here or to their businesses here. If they built more housing so workers can live here, UWS residents would riot.
Or special ed teachers working in the Bronx not near the subway or people reverse commuting to NJ or people volunteering bringing donations to homeless shelters…
No surprise. Communtiy Board appointments seems to be based more on identity and wokeness than ability or common sense.
I have to say that watching the SOTU last night I was disgusted at the childish behavior of some of the Republicans, name calling, baiting and booing. If that’s what people see in Congress, how can we expect kids on the street to act any differently??
This is quite an argument! Yes, local vandals were motivated by Republicans!
What a creative pivot, blaming graffiti on Republicans! Only in New York!
I’m told a baking soda paste is a possible paint remover which acts like a sandpaper. Try a small are first then expand if it does the job. Then find the mischief painter and tar and feather him/her!
Just get some cooking oil, rub it on the stain, wait a few minutes, and gently rub at the paint. It will come off and not damage the car’s paint job.
Why don’t we hang several “simply safe” wireless cameras on poles by RSD and start catching these mischievous people? A block association could handle this!!!!
Our car was spray painted in a very similar way late last year. We used nail polish remover without acetone and it got the paint off the car. Make sure it doesn’t have acetone as someone else mentioned, acetone will damage the car’s paint. We also tried using WD-40 but it didn’t work well.
You guys will love this. There’s even a song about parking on Riverside drive…
When I dropped my daughter off at school on Monday morning on 99th btw Amsterdam and B’way, multiple cars up and down the block had broken passenger windows. Ugh
This is criminal destruction of property by someone who appears to have serious issues. I always park my car on this stretch of Riverside Drive, though my car is in the shop this week and perhaps the perpetrator decided not to waste red spray paint on the red loaner car, getting the car parked directly behind me instead.
While this vandalism is of course awful, I question whether it makes sense for NYC to provide car owners (myself included) with free parking, and to expect the taxpayer-funded NYPD, which has so many other priorities, to serve as free security guards for all the private cars (including mine) parked on NYC streets.
I would love to see NYC institute and charge for resident parking permits and use a portion of the revenue to pay for security cameras and guards for parked cars.
Resident parking permits would be bad for the UWS. Those pushing to remove parking on the UWS are arguing that parking should be removed because of 24% of residents own cars. However, workers, business owners and others use these parking spaces because they cannot or do not want to use public transportation for one reason or another. It’s not like public transit from outside Manhattan is improving either. You get resident parking permits and charge for them, you give more ammunition to the urbanists who want to remove even more parking as they can now argue parking is a privilege for Manhattanites who have the higher income to afford the UWS, which many area workers who drive here can’t afford the UWS and live here comfortably.
Free parking and free security? These things are not free—we pay very high taxes for this. Unfortunately, our neighborhood may have to pay even more to hire our own private security, like several other neighborhoods around the city are doing, if this sort of thing continues. We should all be infuriated by this total failure of leadership to protect our safety and property, and we should absolutely not settle for “welcome to New York.” I’d love to hear from the 24th precinct on where they were over the several hours it took to accomplish this idiotic feat. Just because you live in a city doesn’t mean you should be cool with anarchy.
Doubt parking permits would alleviate parking nightmare at all.
Just another tax without any benefit.
Remarkable the amount of screaming in these comments about something that is cosmetic and reversible.
This incident is definitely not ok. And it contributes to making the neighborhood feel less safe.
But, talk of Riker’s and “tar and feather” is incredibly excessive.
What if it was your car? Would you be this cavalier?
The neighborhood doesn’t “feel” less safe. It is less safe.
I’ve lived here for ten years and things feel the same to me. ¯\\_(ツ)_/¯
I remember a few years ago the captain of local NYPD caught some rich white kid who was putting red paint on SUVs. But he had to ride his bike around and ultimately he got lucky and saw the guy. Heard about it here I think.
Maybe it was a TransAlt activist…or maybe just some dumb kids.
Have you noticed how people stand way bac from the platform edge on the subways following that rash of pushings onto the tracks? I say that to illustrate that rational people will alter behavior for their own well being. Even criminals are rational. Until and unless they realize crime comes with serious consequences, acts like these and others will continue and continue to grow.
Even if they caught the person (or people), he or she would be let back on the street again without bail only to continue tagging cars. And the courts would reduce their charges to a lesser infraction, assuming the vandal showed for court at all. Thank you NYS.
Acetone-free nail polisher remover worked like a charm. Needs a little rubbing, but its worth it
My car got hit twice. In Nov and last week. No point removing the paint since it surely will happen again. I need a car to visit my elderly father and take him to appointments. Sad, that this is how things are here in Morningside Heights
This has also bee reported on West 94th and West 95th Street via Next-door.com neighbor reports. Maybe if there were active cameras they could catch these guys. Defacing a car is a serious crime in the courts (for some reason), and if they could catch them, there would be hefty fines at the least.
But to those who say describe this lawlessness as “nothing like it” (Kevin) – obviously you were not here in the 70’s and 80’s. I was. Johns driving down the street non-stop hitting on women, hookers everywhere, car windows smashed nightly, crazy people actively roaming the streets, tons of SRO hotels (you think it’s bad now?), etc. During the blackout of ’77, store owners were sitting outside their stores with shotguns. What’s going on today is no comparison. The bad old 70’s and 80’s win out.