Town of Islip launches investigation after graffiti found in Brentwood skate park
BRENTWOOD, N.Y. — A long-awaited skate park on Long Island has been vandalized.
Officials in the Town of Islip are investigating who branded the new park with more than a dozen large spray-painted tags. The newest vandalism follows years of park closures.
It’s the pride of Brentwood — a new skate park for the youth of the town of Islip. The $1.2 million skate park within Roberto Clemente Park opened just two months ago.
“When I look around today, sadly, I’m appalled. This is graffiti. This is vandalism. It’s an ugly act and, make no mistake, it is a criminal act,” Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter said Monday.
Sometime between Thursday and Friday, graffiti makers left their marks. After examining surveillance video, Suffolk County Police believe some of it was created in broad daylight.
“We need the help. If you see something, say something,” said Mary Ann Pfeiffer, CEO of Youth Enrichment Services.
When asked if the graffiti is gang tagging, Pfeiffer said, “I hope not, but no matter what it is, I don’t want that stereotyping of Brentwood. I want people to still feel safe.”
“Once somebody puts one graffiti, then the next person puts the next graffiti on top of that, before you know it, it’s graffiti everywhere,” said Suffolk County Police Ins. Vincent Maronski.
The park was closed for years after illegal dumping was found. At the same time, the community was rocked by gang murders. Town officials say even if it’s just imitation gang markings, symbols of hate and violence are not welcome.
“We will find you and you will be turned over to face the consequences,” Carpenter said.
Skaters said they don’t agree that all graffiti detracts.
“The art in the park on the ramps, I feel it goes with skating,” said Terrance Clark of West Babylon.
“It’s kind of inevitable at skate parks that there’s going to be graffiti — art being part of the culture,” said George Leininger of Babylon.
“There is a culture of art, but this is not art,” Suffolk County Legislator Sam Gonzalez added. “They’re hurting everyone in this community who has fought so hard to get this done. It has been years, years.”
The park will now have to be closed Tuesday for graffiti removal. Officials say they have to be careful not to further damage the skating surface, and will have to consider the additional cost for more surveillance cameras.
Anonymous tips can be called into Suffolk County Police or the town of Islip — 631-224-5306.