(JTA) — A Jewish heritage mural painted on the side of an office building on the Lower East Side of New York was painted over by the new owner of the building, angering area residents.
There was no warning about painting over the mural, which was created in 1973 by local teens and professional artists, the New York Post reported.
The mural features six themes: the Holocaust, immigration through Ellis Island, the 1972 Summer Olympics Munich massacre, sweatshops, labor unions and the local significance of the Forward newspaper.
The building with the mural is next to the Bialystoker Nursing Home, a city landmark.
Investor Rob Kaliner’s The Ascend Group recently purchased both properties. Kaliner is planning to demolish the office building and build a high-rise apartment building in its place.
He told the Post that he painted over the mural because large chunks of paint were falling off on passers-by.
“It was purely done for safety reasons,” Kaliner told the Post. “The building is going to be demolished anyway, and I wanted to make sure for the safety of residents and the people walking around there that it was taken care of without pieces falling off.”
One of the teens who helped paint the mural, Sara Krivisky, told the Post that residents were upset that Kaliner did not tell anyone about his plans to paint over it.
“The community was not aware this was happening this morning,” she said. “The way it was done is very disrespectful to the history and the heritage of the community. Those faces on the wall are our parents’ faces, they’re our faces. It’s just very sad that that’s the way it had to end.”