Soho’s graffiti vandals are so intent on wreaking havoc that they go back to target cleaned buildings —including one that had to be repainted 12 times in the past year, The Post has learned.
Business owners in the trendy neighborhood — which has been plagued by an uptick of graffiti and crime in recent weeks — are fighting a losing battle with taggers who just keep coming back, said Joan Arata, owner of Modern Acupuncture on West Houston and Wooster streets in Manhattan.
“As soon as we paint over the graffiti, they consider it a clean canvas and come right back to spray paint again!” said Arata — adding that she has been forced to repaint the building 12 times in the past year.
Vandals amped up the destruction by shattering a window of her acupuncture center in broad daylight May 28 — causing at $2,000 in damages, she said, adding that a nearby Starbucks window was also recently broken.
“It’s a combination of the city not doing anything and landlords not taking responsibility,” she said of the vandalism. “It is extremely upsetting.”
Businesses in the neighborhood, some of which are already struggling to recover from the coronavirus crisis, have closed because of vandalism, she said.
“It looks and feels like the South Bronx, and yet it’s Soho,” she said — adding that the amount of graffiti in the neighborhood has tripled in the past year. “It’s crazy.”
Footage she sent The Post shows the front entrance of her business, and much of the surrounding block, covered with graffiti.
Arata wants the city to install more surveillance cameras to deter crime in the area and to increase the penalty for vandalism.
“The real Catch 22 is that even if someone figured out how to catch them, what’s going to happen?” she said. “There needs to be real consequences.”