Brewer Decries Spate of Hate Crimes on UWS After 3 Incidents in 24 Hr Period

Hate crimes are surging across the city. There were three different anti-Semitic attacks across a one day period on the UWS recently. Council member Gale Brewer says to notify police via 911 for hate crimes or 311 for bias incidents. And she urges citizens to take photos to help officials in any investigation and then contact her office.

| 25 Mar 2024 | 04:29

Sunday morning, [March 17] the NYPD 24th Police Precinct alerted me to anti-Israel graffiti painted on cement bollards in Riverside Park by 105 Street. The Riverside Park Conservancy quickly coordinated to remove the graffiti following NYPD’s investigation.

That evening, photos came in over WhatsApp and email of Effy’s, a bistro on West 96 Street, whose staff had opened that morning to find the frontage covered in red paint and graffiti charging genocide. I reported the incident at Effy’s to the 24 Precinct Commanding Officer and walked to the restaurant. Four officers were already there. They were professional and they also showed their own humanity, expressing sadness over the incident.

I learned the same evening that an individual in a white van assaulted two Jewish men walking on West End Avenue and 100 Street.

All three of these incidents are now being investigated by the NYPD citywide Hate Crimes Unit.

New York City experienced a 10 percent increase in hate crime incidents in from 2022 to 2023, with 668 incidents in 2023 and 359 arrests, according to the NYPD Hate Crimes Dashboard. There were 40 incidents and 15 arrests on the Upper West Side. Since the October 7 attacks in Israel, there has been a disturbing and unacceptable uptick in hate crimes against Jewish and Muslim New Yorkers.

Hateful incidents reported to my office–some masquerading as reasonable political dialogue or free speech–target Jewish owned businesses and those who appear to be Jewish. One man wearing a kippah was threatened with physical violence while invoking Gaza during a dispute with another driver over an available parking space.

Hate crimes are abhorrent and intolerable; and even without an underlying crime, bias incidents perpetuate discrimination and prejudice and make communities less safe for us all. Much thanks to the NYPD, Manhattan District Attorney as well as the Community Security Initiative, a joint program of the JCRC-NY and UJA Federation for their work in enhancing security and being responsive to reports.

Sadness and solidarity must be met with action: I support Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposal to expand the list of charges eligible to be prosecuted as hate crimes, which she included in her 2024 State of the State policy agenda. Under current law, there are 66 offenses that can be charged as hate crimes. New language in the Executive Budget would increase the number to 97, including graffiti.

The proposal, called the Hate Crimes Modernization Act, is sponsored by State Assembly member Grace Lee and State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal. It’s backed by local law enforcement, including Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg, who says it would add tools to bring hate crime charges in a range of cases his office handles regularly. The D.A.’s office increased hate crime prosecutions by 24 percent since Bragg took office in January of 2022 and expanded its Hate Crimes Unit with $1.7 million in funding that I supported from the New York City Council.

West Siders ask me what they can do to help. I worry about the number of incidents that are not investigated. The most important thing to do if you experience or witness a hate crime or bias incident is to report it: 911 for hate crimes and 311 for bias incidents. Unsure? Better to call both. If there is graffiti, take a photo. It may assist law enforcement. After speaking to law enforcement or 311, please contact my office at or 212-873-0828 and we will follow up.