Rally recalls a piece of Williamsburg history
Aug 26, 2020 | 1513 views | 0 0 comments | 158 158 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The calls for Mayor Bill de Blasio to step down are getting a little louder.

Artist Scott LoBaido of Staten Island organized a “non-political” rally in City Hall Park on Saturday calling for the mayor’s ouster. We’re not sure how a rally calling for an elected official to leave office is “non-political,” but that was apparently the case.

LoBaido accused the mayor of "screwing the working man and small businesses" with his policies.

Among the speakers was Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, who ran against de Blasio on the GOP line in 2017 and lost.

"Don't blame me, I didn't vote for him,” she told the crowd. “It breaks my heart to see this city being destroyed. He puts more and more money into the budget, he raises your property taxes, yet everything is getting worse."

We bring up the rally primarily because longtime North Brooklyn residents (are there any more of those?) might recognize the name Scott LoBaido.

Picture it, Williamsburg 2003, and the city had just closed Engine Company 212 on Berry Street. But before the city could remove the actual fire truck from the building, a dedicated group of activists – among them the son of Adam Veneski, who stopped the city from closing the same firehouse in the 70s – raided the firehouse and , in some case, chained themselves to the truck.

They were eventually arrested and removed, but they took turns camping outside the firehouse all summer long to stop the city from removing the engine, which had become a symbol that the shuttered firehouse wasn’t really closed for good.

Enter Scott LoBaido, who heard about the efforts to reopen the firehouse and decided to lend his artistic efforts to the cause three months after the occupation of EC212 began.

On a warm summer evening, LoBaido and some volunteers made their way to the roof of a textile factory next door to the firehouse and unfurled the infamous banner, a picture of a gun-toting then-mayor Michael Bloomberg shooting a man through the heart of his “I Love New York” shirt.

It was provoking to say the least.

Rumor has it that the mayor’s motorcade drove past the mural as he made his way to the airport for a trip to Israel, and ordered that it not be hanging when he returned to the city.

A few days later and after several unsuccessful attempts to have the sign removed, police made their way to the roof of the factory and removed the sign.

LoBaido was able to get the mural back from the 94th Precinct, and he was charged with a minor infraction. A judge later dismissed the case.

The sign was taken to the People’s Firehouse, Inc., a local nonprofit that was created in the wake of the community activism from the first successful attempt to save EC212. Rumor has it that a woman took the mural from the building, and it has never been seen since.

If you know anything else about LoBaido’s EC212 banner or its whereabouts, get in touch with us at polposition@queensledger.com.
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