Blight on the Boardwalk

Graffiti mars a community treasure.

I finally had time to take a stroll along the new boardwalk connecting Silver Sands State Park and Walnut Beach on Sunday.

My heart jumped with joy at the sight of the natural beauty: Charles Island, low tide, seagulls cracking open shellfish for lunch, and even a baby deer tiptoeing in the marsh.

But suddenly my heart sank into a slum of slurs.

"P-City" is a tag I've seen before. It appears to be a reference to drugs that first came to light in December when several homes and businesses were marred by graffiti in the Silver Sands section of Milford.

Another note scrawled across the wooden slats announced that a girl in town is for sale for a mere $20. Her name was spelled out, but then spray-painted over. How considerate.

A third used an offensive homophobic slang word, but misspelled it. Ignorant and illiterate. Now, come on.

I was peeved. How could such scoundrels have been allowed to deface such a beautiful place that taxpayers spent $2.4 million to build? It opened to much fanfare just a few months ago.

Fortunately, I'm not the only one who is offended.

I overheard another visitor declare, "They're destroying our boardwalk already."

And a second, who spotted the graffiti about the girl who's for sale for two 10-dollar bills, told a walking companion, "Oh you missed it. Don't worry, you'll see it when we come back."

No. You shouldn't have to see it the first time, let alone view it a second. The only things you should be looking at are the seagulls, the seashells and the sea grass -- anything to keep your mind off the pressures of everyday life.

The markings on the boardwalk are quality-of-life crimes that one mayor in a city south of us once cracked down on -- prompting the crime rate to plummet in a much larger metropolis. New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani squeezed out the squeegee men and other scoundrels and managed to make the Big Apple a safer place to work and live.

Some New Yorkers thought he was nuts at the time. But in the end, there seemed to be a method to his madness.

Giuliani apparently believed that allowing petty criminals to get away with stuff like grubbing from the public or tagging subway cars signaled, "No one is watching," which made ruffians, robbers, and rapists feel free to run roughshod over the laws of the land.

With that premise, the graffiti along Milford's shoreline needs to be cleaned up as soon as possible (i.e. yesterday) before something far worse occurs, like the double stabbing last year at Walnut Beach. We must not let the markings sit there another second -- and set the tone for our great shoreline.

Mayor James Richetelli shares the same sentiments.

"I'm aware of the appearance of graffiti on our boardwalk and I'm very disturbed by this," he said in an email. "It simply is unacceptable for such a community asset to be vandalized this way.  

"Our Department of Public Works will be removing the graffiti and our Police Department will continue efforts to identify those responsible.  Our shoreline is one of our city's treasures, and we must continue providing safe, healthy and unspoiled ways for our citizens to enjoy it."

A spokesman for the Milford Police Department told Milford Patch both the city and the state patrol the area because Silver Sands State Park is state property and Walnut Beach is city property. Officer Jeffrey Nielsen noted a bridge connects the two areas along the boardwalk.

How often are city police down there? Nielsen says it depends on the number of calls police are busy with in the rest of town on any given day.

But he encourages anyone who sees anything strange by the boardwalk -- including vandalism -- to call police at (203) 878-6551.

An attempt to reach the state was unsuccessful.

Please allow me to offer a few suggestions:

-- How about having graduates of the Citizens Police Academy patrol the boardwalk in the daytime, sporting official police caps and coats, so they can serve as a deterrent and a direct link to the Police Department?

-- How about putting up surveillance cameras, even if they're dummies, to deter crime?

-- How about nabbing the boob who keeps writing "P-City" all over "M-City," as in My City or Milford City? How about giving him community service -- like power-washing the boardwalk?

-- And, finally, how about gathering up all the graffiti artists and getting them involved in something worthwhile, like the art project the "Murals of Milford?"

Just a few ideas, folks. Just a few ideas -- to reclaim the boardwalk as our own. After all, we did pay for it.

RONALD M GOLDWYN October 25, 2011 at 02:05 PM
Denise, I agree with you and let me add a suggestion. Public Service! Let our court system add a few hours of public service on to any fine the judge may impose. As you stated about Rudy, in NYC this kids were made to remove the grafiti off the subway cars that they defaced. As a kid living in Brooklyn NY until 1947 I and all school kids defaced walls sidewalks and girls coats with pastel chalk especially on Halloween. Trick or treat had a true meaning back then, with overturned garbage pails and chalked up driveways, but that was over 60 years ago. RON GOLDWYN the most experienced candidate for PZB. Ben Blake now agrees with me, "Because experience DOES matter" I’d love your vote as a birthday present on Nov. 8
Michael Brown October 25, 2011 at 02:13 PM
You will never stop graffiti unless you catch the culprits in the act. Find a good solvent an clean it off.
Jim Goldstein October 25, 2011 at 03:33 PM
I agree with Mr. Goldwyn! When the graffiti criminals get caught and go before a Judge have the courts add some community service to the convicted's persons pennance, cleaning up what they defaced is a good start
Ronald E. Kauffman October 25, 2011 at 04:35 PM
Graffiti is easy to remove when it's newly painted. I used to help my business neighbors remove it with a little paint thinner. Check a small inconspicuous area first. The boardwalk looks like it's painted battleship grey. Paint over it.
RONALD M GOLDWYN October 25, 2011 at 05:07 PM
Yes there are many ways to remove the eyesore, but the real problem is the vandelism done by young kids who think that what they are doing is fun. In NYC many grafiti artists were so pround of their work that they signed their names. As a means of controlling them the city gave them blank walls for them to exhibit their skills. This is one solution whereby grafiti is turned into art. RON GOLDWYN the most experienced candidate for PZB. Ben Blake now agrees with me, "Because experience DOES matter" I’d love your vote as a birthday present on Nov. 8
Denise Buffa October 25, 2011 at 07:05 PM
Thanks, Ron. I did mention community service, i.e. power-washing the boardwalk, and getting the graffiti artists involved in the Murals of Milford project. Right on.
RONALD M GOLDWYN October 25, 2011 at 08:47 PM
Denise Great minds must think alike. I would like to see not only grafiti artists but all people convicted of petty crimes doing public service. We should not be having our DPW spending time to clean up this vandalism. RON GOLDWYN the most experienced candidate for PZB. Ben Blake now agrees with me, "Because experience DOES matter" I’d love your vote as a birthday present on Nov. 8
Concerned Citizen October 25, 2011 at 08:52 PM
That is far from Graffiti that is just plain vandalism Graffiti is an art. Don't get them confused. A bit ignorant of you.
Gringo_man October 25, 2011 at 10:17 PM
A common thing left out of articles when referring to State Park property is the contact number for the State Environmental Conservation Police, the law enforcement branch of the DEEP (formerly DEP). When you see something illegal happening at a State Park, beach, or forest call them, they may have an officer in the area. Call them at (860) 424-3333. Obviously if there is an emergency, call 911 rather than a regular number. Most of the new boardwalk is on state property. The point where the dirt parking lot at Walnut Beach ends (by what used to be Nettleton Ave) is the end of the City property. These "P-City" clowns have tagged stuff up down there before. They defaced a number of signs in the park and a trailer for the Region 2 State Animal Response Team that was parked at the City's Animal Control facility within the Park. I also saw that they also tagged areas around Eisenhower Park.
Denise Buffa October 26, 2011 at 12:42 AM
Thanks for the clarification. I have seen great graffiti as art. You're right. This isn't it.
RIck George October 26, 2011 at 12:55 AM
Graffiti with the permission of the property owner is art. Graffti without the property owners permission is vandalism as stated in Websters and Wiki! Anonymous name calling is just plain rude!
Corey Sipe October 26, 2011 at 08:22 AM
I agree with all the suggestions posed on here. Let's catch these punks and put their names and faces in the newspaper. They can do thousands of hours of community service for all the property they defaced!
Jim Goldstein October 26, 2011 at 12:30 PM
Art is hung in a musume or public building, Graffiti is a crime against private or public property. If "Graffiti Artists" wish to display their "Art" have them get a canvas and place their "Art" on it and then display it to the public, but not on our sidewalks, buildings, autos, and especially not our Parks.
Pam November 01, 2011 at 12:25 PM
I am opposed to any cost to the city to remove/repair the damage to the boardwalk. The perpertrator(s) should be forced to PAY for whatever work needs to be done and then engage them in some form of community service - obviously they have plenty of time on their hands!
PAT P November 30, 2011 at 12:59 AM
I love the new boardwalk at Silver Sands and have been walking on it daily now for 3 months. I was extremely upset when I came upon the graffiti for the first time. It just makes no sense for something so wonderful to be blighted in such an ugly way. I am dismayed that nothing has been done to remove it as of 11/29/11. Someone sprayed over the girl's name so why not paint the remainder of this obnoxious mess. Here's hoping that either the State of CT or the City of Milford do something to remedy this disgrace!!
annoying pet owners April 24, 2012 at 12:18 AM
Dogs are illegal on the boardwalk and beach too!
PAT P April 24, 2012 at 01:07 AM
Here it is April 23, 2012 and the graffiti on the boardwalk at Silver Sands has not been removed!! I must say that the boardwalk was finally repaired after Hurricane Irene left it quite torn-up. Was it too much to ask to match the new boards to the gray of the entire boardwalk instead of using dark brown!?! Sigh...at least it is repaired and safe for all to enjoy! So let's get with it and remove the disgraceful graffiti...if we can repair, we can remove! Please City of Milford and/or State of Connecticut blight is not right on such a beautiful walkway!


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