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College Point task force targets graffiti

Residents of the College Point area, tired of seeing graffiti everywhere they turn in their small community, have formed a task force to deal with the illegal spray-painting problem.

The group's initial meeting was held Monday at the College Point Board of Trade office. Members met with representatives from the borough president's, state Sen. Frank Padavan's (R-Bellerose) and City Councilman Mike Abel's (R-Whitestone) offices to discuss existing anti-graffiti laws and how College Point should deal with the vandalism.

The trade board has combatted graffiti for years by funding the voluntary cleaning efforts of resident Leo Nicholas, but trade board President Fred Mazzarello said it is not enough.

Mazzarello opened the meeting by reading a summary of a graffiti hearing convened by Padavan in 1991.

Padavan found Community Board 7, including College Point, had a major graffiti problem and the city was not doing enough to enforce existing graffiti laws. Current laws call for up to $500 in fines and/or up to three months' imprisonment for violators. The mayor can also offer a reward leading to the arrest and conviction of graffiti artists.

"In 1991 it was a serious problem," Mazzarello said. "Today I think it's worse."

Last year Mazzarello and College Point civic leader Sabina Cardali attended a court hearing for a local graffiti artist, nicknamed "Shorty 140."

The pair said they were disgusted when Shorty received one year's probation from the judge "after he ruined so much stuff."

Many at Monday's meeting agreed that the courts were too lenient and also said local police precincts were not aggressive enough in investigating graffiti.

Their anger was fueled when they learned the representative from the 109th Police Precinct did not make the meeting.

"The fact the Police Department isn't here is very disturbing," said Dan Bersa from McDonald's Restaurant.

Suzie Metaxes, director of a local senior center, said graffiti artists should pay for the cleanup and perform community service. If young perpetrators cannot afford the penalty, their parents should be held accountable, she said.

Matching the mayor's reward was also suggested.

Mazzarello said businesses are often too slow in removing graffiti, and one spray-painted area soon spreads like a cancer.

Jay Bond, a community board liaison for the borough president, said that office offers free graffiti removal as an incentive to property owners to clean up as quickly as possible.

He also said six rapid-response, graffiti-free zones were established last spring in Jamaica, Flushing, Corona, Forest Hills/Rego Park, Queens Village and Far Rockaway, based on complaints received and community input. Property owners within the zones who sign liability waivers receive free graffiti removal.

Bond said cleaning has only been done in two of the zones because not all property owners have turned in their liability waivers, and the program and zones will be re-evaluated this spring. He suggested property owners in College Point push for a zone in their area.

The lack of activities in town for youth was also a factor many said contributed to the graffiti problem.

Martha Flores-Vazquez, a city council candidate for Julia Harrison's (D-Flushing ) seat, was not at the trade board's meeting, but she has some anti-graffiti proposals of her own.

Vazquez has proposed building a community resource center in the area and one of its goals would be graffiti intervention.

Vazquez said arresting and fining graffiti artists is a short-term solution.

"Long term is to deal with this issue and channel what they're doing into something positive," Vazquez said.

She said one example was a program in the Bronx that takes graffiti artists and trains them in graphic arts. Participants are then hired to paint decorative murals.

A similar creative approach is taken in Long Island City, where managers of the Phun Phactory provide space for graffiti artists to paint and officially display their work as in a museum.

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Reader Feedback

John from Whitestone says:
I use to see shorty140 every were I went , he was up all over the 5 boros. A true graffitti writer I wonder wat ever happened to him
March 24, 2012, 2:22 am
Wow. from Cpoint says:
Mr. Hernandez is still toy to this day.
Dec. 25, 2012, 11:22 am
Eric from Bayside says:
Been doing his thing since early 90s much props
April 2, 2013, 3:54 am
White man from College point says:
I was saw this kid get arrested by 15 cops on 9th ave for jay walking I think this is a simple case of the abuse of the stop and frisk protocol that is going on. Because of this mans race and style of clothes and cars he is being targeted unjustly.
We look at the front page of the news now and justin bieber is being glorified for writing graffiti , while this man is being persecuted.
Nov. 8, 2013, 11:40 am
Alex Diaz from Flushing queens says:
140 was always being harassed by the cops on a regular basis . I witnessed cops pull him over for no reason rip him out the car toss him on the ground they even kicked him a few times . Then they searched his car didn't find anything so they took him in for driving while Hispanic . I salute that kid always looked out for his peoples and the kids a positive role model who made a change but will always be looked upon as a criminal . I hope to see him again one day to thank him for always keeping it real .
Jan. 17, 2:17 am
Annie Wick from college point says:
We all loved Shorty140 he always gave back to the community he loves the kids , he would always look out for people in need. I remember summer of 99 he would always roll nup on my block not sure why but i always thought he was seeing this chick . 140 was always a cutie . He would buy the whole block ice cream for all the kids and give out money . He was kinda like the Robin Hood of college point a good man . Last i heard he was spotted some were in miami sipping on a wet willie dripping in diamonds . . God bless him
Feb. 1, 1:47 pm
Bloody ratchet from South side says:
I was in da bookings with son... I seen his paperwork lil —— got bagged with 30 stacks and no twerk... Dem —— try puttin son under the jail..... And da funny shi was dat son lit up the whole bookings wit dat real good good and wasn't even wettin dat was talking bout he had some ill Jew lawyer was gonna eat da case that's my word .... That dude TRU ..
P.s. And my son was head to toe in Louie
Feb. 17, 9:17 pm
Justin from Ridgewood says:
I herd my man got pinched for some DWI shi
Nov. 12, 5:35 pm
Rick . P from Brooklyn says:
I been reading about Shorty140 . Tcs getting arrested for something he did in the past . He a stand up dude always good to the people . I met him back in the days he a real street cat did his time like a gee .. Hold your head 40
Dec. 14, 6:47 pm
Melo 823 from college point all day says:
My man shorty140 dam cops took him away ..they say vandalism I say bs .. all over the boroughs we all seen the the art never any bad words just freedom of speak from a great artist and writer true words and phrases from a great unfounded writer ..u might have gotten my boy but u n everyone will always remember the name shorty140 one if the greats .. it ain't vandalism it's expressions of memory's from artists .. take a look on 14 my homie may he rip jme they mad a beautiful memorial portrait of him after he was stab n killed while servicing our country protecting our freedom and after yrs of being there they forced them to remove it for no reason at all....and no one had issues with it... all over u see graffiti on highway on walls stops signs... it will never end .. u say graffiti we say artwork ...thought in the United states of America we had freedom of speech what they write is nothing but our freedom of speak as artist. Artists that the world thinks is bad cuase it ain't Picasso! !! There all just trying to get noticed cuase the world won't give them the time of day . If it was ugly them yes call it vandalism but if it ain't ugly why bother leave it alone at least they will get noticed by the world as well as ur dead beat store or highway ...at least in traffic u got something beautiful to look at ....Dam cops care more about the little stupid —— then the people getting killed or rapped n rob .how many open cases all u dam pigs got open that u can't solve , so instead of finishing those up ud rather take the easy way out and grab people that ain't doing no harm to anyone...... u car more about the guy smoking weed then the guy that just robbed the bank or shot the clerk ..why don't u actually do some real police wrk n stop messing around with petty —— .probly cuase it's easyer cuase u ain't that good at ur job consider ING u try to get the nickel n dime guys to wrk for u cuase u can't find the kingpins urself but u call urself cops .....
Dec. 16, 12:15 am
Melo 823 from college point all day says:
140 was a true gee n Will always be , no matter were he is .. he gave. He always looked out for the fellas n hunnys in the hood he always had ur back no mater what , even the little kids that new hi. Loved him he looked out for everyone..... just like all the born n raised cp family .... my man ain't no joke better belive he ain't going out without a fight
Dec. 16, 12:20 am
Vicky Dimarzo from Bayside says:
He is a good person no matter what he has done . Free SHORTY140 ........ Queens king
Dec. 16, 1:40 am
Mike Pennington from College point says:
Free Shorty140 TCS , DWS.... RIP Comp TCS
Dec. 16, 6:40 pm
Mellissa .P from Bronx ny says:
I grew up on his art leave him alone he always writes inspiring messages that motivate people , SHORTY140 is my favorite graffitti artist .... They want to lock him up and throw away the key , meanwhile cops are out there shooting unarmed teens eveyday and still we seek justice and nothing has changed. If you ask me I think police need to worry about harden criminals who commit real violent crimes not a kid from queens who expresses his feelings on a wall ..........
Dec. 18, 1:07 pm
Cope 2 from Bronx says:
A true toy . Queens was always a joke in the graft game
Dec. 18, 2:44 pm
Set krt from Forest hills says:
Shorty 140. What a toy . Thank god the bagged this bird again.
Dec. 19, 3:38 pm
Sir fpv from Palemetto street Ridgewood says:
Hold your head Shorty 140. Got mad love for you dog. Call me I'll give you some Oxys to take away the pain ... Works for me
Dec. 19, 4:19 pm
Jon doe from East ny says:
Cope is a certified snitch who works with the police . . He pretty much Donnie Branco . I seen paper work on that old fart . . And Set Krt is to —— to call anyone toy so that's properly some toy fronting like set ...... SHORTY140 about that life real authentic street cat who always kept it 100
Dec. 19, 6:38 pm

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