While COVID-19 has curtailed recreational options for local families, thats no excuse for kids cavorting among the monuments in Holocaust Memorial Park and drawing on the stones erected to remember the six million men, women and children murdered by the Nazis, said Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn).
According to the Holocaust Memorial Committee, which brought the issue to Assemblyman Cymbrowitz attention today, children have been seen skateboarding and defacing the monuments with colored chalk and urinating between the stones. Candy and ice cream wrappers have been left strewn throughout the memorial park.
A member of the Holocaust Memorial Committee, the nonprofit organization that advocated and helped secure funding for the park at Emmons Avenue and Shore Boulevard, told Assemblyman Cymbrowitz that outraged neighbors were calling daily to complain about the situation.
Residents have described the situation as unbearable, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said.
While COVID-19 has certainly limited the recreational opportunities for neighborhood children and families, the pandemic does not excuse this unacceptable behavior. The idea of anyone playing and climbing on a memorial site is offensive and demonstrates either an ignorance or callous disregard for the purpose of the park, he said, adding that the memorial markers and greenery were also being damaged by this activity.
In late 2018, at Assemblyman Cymbrowitz request, the Parks Department installed signage to discourage visitors from climbing, skateboarding, bicycling, and walking their dogs on or near the monuments. It was hoped that the signs would educate visitors and remind them to avoid activities which disrespect the six million Holocaust victims that the space memorializes, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said. Clearly this has not worked, as the current situation demonstrates.
The lawmaker has written to Parks Department Borough Commissioner Martin Maher and 61st Precinct Captain Gaby Celiba asking them to collaborate on resolving the issue.