Action by Assemblyman Cymbrowitz Leads to Signage to Protect Holocaust Memorial Park

December 10, 2018

Holocaust Memorial Park is a place intended for quiet reflection and not climbing, bicycling and skateboarding – and thanks to action by Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn), there are newly posting signs reminding visitors to avoid activities that disrespect the six million Holocaust victims that the space was created to memorialize.

Back in October, officers of the Holocaust Memorial Committee, the nonprofit organization that advocated and helped secure funding for the park at Emmons Avenue and Shore Boulevard, told Assemblyman Cymbrowitz that they’d been chasing away skateboarders and cyclists they saw riding around and even atop the granite memorials inside the park. They pointed out that these activities were damaging the monuments and surrounding greenery and were inappropriate to the nature of the memorial space, which was established in 1985 and completed in 1997.

Assemblyman Cymbrowitz wrote to Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Marty Maher requesting signage barring bicycling and skateboarding and reminding visitors to be respectful of the park’s purpose. The Parks Department quickly agreed. In an email sent to Assemblyman Cymbrowitz on Oct. 30, Jonathan Kuhn, Director of Art & Antiquities at the NYC Parks Department, wrote, “….we consider this site a highly significant memorial within our collection, with a broad educational purpose, that I’m afraid has assumed even greater significance in recent days.” The Pittsburgh synagogue shooting had occurred three days earlier.

On Dec. 10, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz and several Holocaust Memorial Committee co-president Vivian Singer viewed the new signs, which read: “This site honors the memory of those who perished during the Holocaust, symbolizing their places in history through inscriptions on granite stones. This is a place for reflection and remembrance.” Icons on the signs discourage visitors from climbing, skateboarding, bicycling, and walking their dogs on or near the monuments.

“While there is no guarantee that this will eradicate the problem, it is an important first step in making visitors aware that behavior that damages the park and disrespects the Holocaust victims that the park memorializes will not be tolerated,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said.