Insensitive graffiti galls couple


| tcimino@queenscourier.com |

When she got the phone call, she was angry. But when she saw it for herself, she was appalled.

Pamela Baumann, who, along with her husband Andrew, founded New York Families for Autistic Children (NYFAC), said she was alerted to the graffiti on the Bernard Fineson Center in Howard Beach on Monday, July 12.

She passed by, with her 16-year-old autistic son, and both were shocked to read “Dirtnikki ♥s retards.”

“‘Mentally retarded’ is a thing of the past,” said Andrew. “It has such negative connotations. Graffiti is graffiti, but this – especially on that building – is terrible.”

In fact, said Andrew, the word “retarded” is so negative that the body under which Fineson – and NYFAC – run, the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, has been changed to the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.

Pamela called Community Board 10, the 106th Precinct, State Senator Joseph Addabbo and City Councilmember Eric Ulrich.

106th Precinct Commanding Officer Deputy Inspector Joseph G. Courtesis assured her that “every single cop has been assigned” to look for the vandal.

And graffiti officer Frank Reina said that he is looking into it and may have some ideas as to who is responsible.

In addition, Reina said, the perp might have tagged other locations in the area, including the library, Blockbuster video and at 133rd Street and Cross Bay Boulevard.

The Baumanns are so upset over it; they have even vowed to paint over the graffiti themselves.