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LIRR replacing Far Rockaway train seat etched with swastika

A Long Island Rail Road rider’s discovery of a swastika on a train seat led to the agency pulling the train out of service Tuesday.

The rider, Jake Adler, 30, tweeted a photo of the anti-Semitic symbol scratched onto the back of a seat on a Far Rockaway train Monday afternoon, along with the message, “This goes way beyond poor service.”

The LIRR responded to Adler on Twitter Tuesday morning, thanking him for bringing it to the railroad’s attention. “We take these matters very seriously and have reported the car for immediate servicing,” the LIRR tweeted.

Later Tuesday, LIRR spokesman Salvatore Arena confirmed that the train car had been pulled from service to have the seat replaced.

“It will be gone. It’s happening as we speak,” Arena said. “We are especially sensitive to any kind of offensive graffiti or vandalism,” Arena said.

Adler, who works at the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center, a Jewish policy group, said that while he wishes the railroad had gotten back to him sooner, he was ultimately satisfied with their response.

“I’m sure they don’t want to have a swastika on their car any more than I want to sit in front of a swastika,” said Adler, 30, of Far Rockaway, who suspects the vandalism was the work of a “stupid kid.”

“But there are people who take that train who are Holocaust survivors who were there when swastikas were actually flying from flagpoles,” Adler said. “I imagine they would be pretty traumatized.”


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