BY TRONE DOWD
Elected officials and Jamaica Estates residents gathered in front of the long- abandoned Holliswood Hospital building Friday morning to condemn hate speech that a vandal had marked on the walls of the defunct facility.
Anti-Semitic imagery was etched into the already-shattered windows of Holliswood, while racial slurs were spray-painted on the walls inside the building. The vandals were believed to have defaced the building at some point between June 16 and Father’s Day, according to Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows), who lives just a few houses down from the site.
Weprin added that his daughter was the first person to notice the offensive markings during a family visit. Upon further investigation, Weprin discovered the other tags. Upon leaving the property, Weprin said that he noticed a red Toyota Camry idling outside. When he approached the vehicle, the car pulled away.
Police have tracked down the owner of the Toyota and are interviewing her to determine if there is any connection to the incident, which Weprin said is being viewed as a hate crime.
“Our main message today is that we will not tolerate any kind of hate speech or graffiti in our neighborhood or in any neighborhood,” Weprin said. “We want to come together as people in good faith to condemn these type of hateful acts. This is not just vandalism or teenagers performing mischief. This is hate speech, which is very hurtful and has dire consequence.”
The old Holliswood Hospital has been a site that has attracted a slew of negative attention since it was left vacant two years ago. In 2016, it was sold to a developer named Steve Cheung, who is said to be building single-family homes at the site.
The property has repeatedly become an easy target for squatters and vandals. In December 2016, the Queens Tribune reported that the site received two “unsafe building” violations due to several unsealed openings that allowed entry to intruders.