New Yorkers Scrub Swastikas Off Subway Train | NBC Southern California
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New Yorkers Scrub Swastikas Off Subway Train

"I've never seen so many people simultaneously reach into their bags and pockets looking for tissues and Purel," a witness wrote on Facebook

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    A local lawyer and other passengers aboard an uptown 1 train banded together to clean anti-Semitic graffiti scrawled throughout the train car Saturday night. (Published Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017)

    New Yorkers stick together through thick and thin — that's why a group of subway passengers worked together to erase swastikas and anti-Semitic phrases scrawled on a subway car.

    Gregory Locke, an attorney based in Harlem, was heading home from dinner Saturday evening and boarded an uptown 1 train at the 50th Street station near Broadway.

    As soon as he stepped into the train car, the 27-year-old said he felt something was off. The atmosphere was uncharacteristically quiet. He then saw the swastikas and anti-Semitic phrases scrawled on the train walls in black marker. 

    A Facebook post on Locke's page shows photos of the graffiti and passengers scrubbing the car windows and subway maps to remove it.

    James Roarty/NBC 4 New York

    A few moments after the train pulled out of the station, a passenger suggested using hand sanitizer to remove the Sharpie graffiti.

    "One guy got up and said, 'Hand sanitizer gets rid of Sharpie. We need alcohol.' He found some tissues and got to work," Locke wrote.

    By the time the train arrived at the 66th Street-Lincoln Center subway station, not a trace of the offensive symbols were left.

    About two to three people wiped off the markings, while others helped by getting tissues and whatever else they could, Locke said. Some were silent, but no one was unsupportive.

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    "I've never seen so many people simultaneously reach into their bags and pockets looking for tissues and Purel. Within about two minutes, all the Nazi symbolism was gone," he wrote.

    He says at least two swastikas were scribbled on every window, at least two per door, with at least 20 markings in total. He said he tried to get a glimpse at neighboring cars, but couldn't say with certainty if there were any other similar instances.

    One of the phrases written on the doors read "Destroy Israel, Heil Hitler."

    A Texan woman riding in the same car said she's never before had to deal with a situation like the one she encountered Saturday night and was visibly shaken. Another passenger suggested that instances like this have become the norm since President Donald Trump took office a few weeks ago.

    "No sir, it's not," Locke responded in the post. "Not tonight and not ever. Not as long as stubborn New Yorkers have anything to say about it."