City Island, The Bronx, NY – Several restaurants in the Bronx’s City Island neighborhood reported getting anti-Black and antisemitic handwritten notes in the mail.
One note said: “[N-word] and Jews are bad news.” Another vile letter had a drawing of a swastika on it, warned that the Nazi Party had resurrected and supported Adolf Hitler.
“It’s despicable. It’s despicable,” said customer Lauren Coleman.
The NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force said it’s aware of the hate mail and is working with its state and federal partners to investigate who is behind them.
The owners of Seafood Kingz, a Black-owned restaurant that opened this year, were directly called out in a follow-up letter for reporting the racist writings to the media. That didn’t stop the owners from speaking out against hate again.
“I would rather be here celebrating, but instead we are here because of hate. Racist hate. We will not take part in racist hate. We are here for a family business for generations to come,” said Darryl Lelie, owner of Seafood Kingz.
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez got word of the incidents and spoke in support of the restaurants. The lawmaker said that in the first quarter of 2022, hate crimes went up in the United States, particularly in New York City. That’s one of the reasons Congress passed an anti-domestic terrorism bill to increase reporting of these types of incidents across the country.
“That is why it’s very important that we don’t let any incidents like these slide, that we come together as a community and very loudly proclaim that the community is together and on the same page, and that there is absolutely no place on City Island or the country for antisemitism or anti-Black racism,” said Ocasio-Cortez.
The letters had no return address on them, just a single stamp and a scan indicating they were mailed from New Jersey. The investigation is ongoing, but people on City Island have a message for whoever is responsible.
“Love, more love. No matter the religion. No matter the race,” said Derek Lelie, co-owner of Seafood Kingz.