By Seth Daniel
Several members of the community in and around Washington Street have sounded off for a persistent problem with the ownership of the New York Mart on Washington Street and their lack of interest in removing graffiti from their store.
With more graffiti than clean walls, last week residents and the City sounded off to the Sun about the lack of attention to the situation by the owner of New York Mart (next to the Tufts University parking lot).
Washington Gateway Main Street (WGMS) Board members said the store needed to begin meeting community standards, starting with the graffiti removal and then moving on to other things like the metal grates.
“Having graffiti and tags on facades has a negative impression for the City and the South End,” said Randi Lathrop, representing the Board. “Owners need to take it off graffiti immediately when it appears. Also Washington Gateway Main Street would like to see the New York Mart keep their roll down grates up and open their blades too so you can see into their market and also keep their lights on after closing. Transparency of the storefronts and keeping graffiti off the exterior sends a positive message to the neighborhood. WGMS can work with the New York Mart to remove their solid roll down grates through assistance with the City of Boston. Very few business have solid roll down grates in the district anymore.”
That was followed up by the Mayor’s Office, with Sam Chambers – the South End Mayoral liaison – saying the mayor encourages businesses to be pro-active about graffiti.
“The City, especially Mayor Walsh continues to encourage businesses and property owners to remove non-sanctioned graffiti as soon as possible,” said Chambers. “We know that non-sanctioned graffiti helps bring in seedier elements and contributes to unhealthy environments. We also remind residents to use 311 when they see graffiti and if they feel comfortable, to let the property and business owners know ASAP so it can be remedied.”
Old Dover Neighborhood Association President Ken Smith encouraged the owners to work with the City to begin to rid the building of graffiti.
“Uninvited graffiti on buildings is an issue throughout this city,” he said. “It is unfortunate that people choose to damage the property of our businesses and homes in the South End. It would be helpful for the building owner to collaborate with the local police department on possible solutions.”
The Sun visited the store and found a very neat, clean and efficient store inside. However, the outside was covered heavily with graffiti on all side.
Later, the owner – who would not identify himself – returned a phone call.
He said he is willing to cooperate, but didn’t know what to do and whether removing the graffiti would cost him any money.
He said he hopes to work with the City to find resources to remove the graffiti and make the store as nice outside as it is inside – and to make neighbors happier.
City officials are reportedly working with the owner on some solutions.