Queens Black Lives Matter Mural Doesn’t Matter Anymore

Jamaica, Queens, New York

In a few weeks, New York City (and other American cities) will be recognizing the one year anniversary of the extrajudicial murder of George Floyd committed by Officer Derek Chauvin and also the start of the Black Lives Matter mass protest demonstrations that followed it.

Which brings up Mayor de Blasio’s feeble recognition of that momentous tragedy and other preventable deaths at the hands of overzealous police based on the race of the victims. Inspired by Mayor Muriel Browser, who ordered a mural of the movement’s universal political slogan on a street in Washington D.C, the Blaz decided to sextuple down on Browser’s tribute and painted 6 murals on the 5 boroughs. The one placed on the world’s borough of Queens was on Jamaica Avenue in Jamaica, right in front of the landmark Rufus King house and park.

I happened to witness it being painted last summer in July as volunteers put the finishing touches on it.

 

The mural covered both sides of the two way street and spanned about 2 blocks. Although not as elaborate as the BLM mural on Fulton St. in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn; he people did a great job painting it, although this would have been better if the city repaved the street with new asphalt before they did it. But The Blaz might have been in a rush that he didn’t bother, make that didn’t want to bother getting the permits to paint the slogan on the street.

Sadly, the mural that is supposed to be a tribute to civil rights and in memoriam of Black lives cut down by wanton aggressive policing, is no more.

All that’s left of the world renowned civil rights slogan is faint traces of the words “lives” and “matter” on the lane going eastward. The word Black is wholly vanished. Wonder when de Blasio and the Department of Transformation Transportation suddenly decided the Black Lives Matter on Jamaica Ave. pretty much didn’t matter anymore and decided not to maintain it like the more elaborate and huger mural on Fulton St. in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.

What’s especially odd is that there hasn’t been much agitation about it all, considering the various efforts the Blaz made last year in his vain efforts to preserve the BLM mural he spitefully had painted in front of Trump Tower on 5th Avenue (even though he already painted a mural in Harlem) after it was vandalized with gallons of paint every week last summer and in one final act of destructive activism, covered with tar being dumped by a pick up truck. But it looks like that one is going to meet the same fate of the vanishing one in Queens, going by the stains still remaining and paint fading on the street mural.

It’s clear that the Jamaica Ave. mural didn’t get the same protection as the Brooklyn and Midtown Manhattan ones, the latter two benefiting from the presence of steel barricades, leading to traffic getting diverted away from the murals. While the one in Jamaica looks as if the avenue was never shut down to traffic on the day after the painting was completed, plus how this strip on Jamaica Ave., right by a city park no less, obviously was never considered to be part of the city’s open streets program.

But this mural, as well as the others in the other four boroughs, was never about the message and the movement of Black Lives Matter, it was only about optics. The Blaz exploited BLM to mural wash away his idiotic policy decisions during last years protests; from his idiotic and unenforceable 8 p.m. curfew, his NYPD’s violent maltreatment of protesters and anyone that happened to be near them, whether journalists or essential workers and his appalling insouciance of his NYPD’s abuse of authority and trampling of first amendment rights to publicly assemble which consequently led to charges of human rights violations and an investigation by A.G. Letitia James condemning the NYPD’s gross mishandling of the protests, leading to an overhaul of disciplinary measures for rogue officers.

Although a fresh coat of paint can absolve this, it might be better to let the digression and neglect of the Jamaica Ave. BLM mural serve as an example of what happens when movements get politicallyy co-opted by virtue signalling opportunists like the Blaz as he winds down his last months as Mayor of New York City. The mural’s current state should serve as a condemnation symbol of his, his bureaucracy and elected district officials fleeting memories. This mural signifies nothing, and that’s all that should remain as it’s eradication continues under the wheels of daily traffic.

 

Jamaica Avenue’s Million Dollar Pit Of Despair And Graffiti

 

Richmond Hill, Queens, New York

On the day after the six-alarm fire that destroyed the homes above storefronts in Richmond Hill and taking pics of the charred windows on the buildings, strolling about 8 blocks east by Lefferts Blvd. there exists this unsightly gated wall protruding on the sidewalk next to a barber shop and a ministry. I call it a gated wall because it’s secured with a lock and chain.

Unfortunately the wall itself wasn’t as resilient. As evident by this unsightly and hazardous profusion. Which is easily accessible to passerby, especially children.

It wasn’t hard to deduce what happened here. Apparently a bunch of graffiti artists were looking for a convenient venue to bomb and also are coming strapped with axes along with their aerosol paint cans.

Just some standard tagging, no offense to the artists oevure. Also standard but more varietal was the detritus strewn on the platform of the spacious lot, with a piece of the breached wall lying askew on a shoddily structured fence.

I wish I can recall what used to be here, most likely a mixed use building probably with a restaurant. It also looks like it was recently razed because there are no indicators of new development being done here going by the absence of NYC Department of Building placards. It also looks like this wall has been in this condition for a few weeks now, including that gaping jaggered maw.

The only indication that this pit belongs to anyone is the one sign affixed to the wall on it’s east side. A company named Signature Premier Properties is advertising their company and website on this open and blighted space.

With some sleuthing on the duckduckgo and that monopoly search engine, this premier property with quite the sordid history was put up for sale about 3 weeks ago a few days before Thanksgiving. And Signature PP is asking $999,000 for it.

I cannot fathom why they decided to cut a grand off the price more than how they came to this ostentatious value. Maybe it’s because of it’s current status as an “unimproved land” that didn’t qualify for the rounded out million. But advertising the property as “convenient to all!” certainly exacerbated it’s unimproved condition of the lot with all that vandalism and pollution.

Apparently as the recent picture shows, they had to improve and fortify the property post hasteĀ  and it shows with this incredibly cheap upgrade. Which includes a new “gate”. This looks like the handiwork of dustheads squatting in an foreclosed home and is not up to the standards of anthropomorphic cartoon animals.

Conspicuously absent from the repurposed wall is Signature’s ad sign…

And if Signature PP or whoever owns this pit think this is going to stop rival taggers from getting in they are sadly mistaken. A crowbar or even a $1.99 Trisonic flathead screwdriver that you can get from the nearest 99 cent stores can easily pry those planks down or even a good rain to loosen them up for a tae kwon do superkick.

Usually the default reaction/response to scenes like this is to refer it as another definitive sign to what a shitty year 2020 is (and it is the worst year in this young century); but this is Queens and scenes like this have been always been manifest. And none more than on the southern and eastern sides of the borough far from tony Brooklyn and Manhattan and the interests of elected officials, which includes even the ones who represent the districts here.

It’s only amplified even more because of the pandemic and people either have no time to care or using as an excuse not to be concerned. But the thing that makes this blighted eyesore worse is that it actually has a value on it. Urban decay is being marketed and sold as a luxury product.

There will be a buyer for this shithole just like there are buyers for a wall with a banana being held by duct tape and Mark David Chapman’s autographed copy of Double Fantasy he got signed after he killed the artist who created it. But for now, this unimproved land belongs to the taggers, hooligans, homeless and anyone else who dares to enter. Or break and enter into there. But at least the residents of Richmond Hill and the borough of Queens can take a scintilla of pride knowing that they are walking in the presence of opulence.

Even though it’s speculated and fabricated…