Queens Assemblymember Fears Chalk-based Graffiti Toy Will Usher in New Urban Dystopia

Photo Credit: Kevin Labianco via Compfight cc
Is it chalk or cocaine? And is there really any difference?
State Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder is very worried; there's a toy on local shelves that's turning children into criminals.

It's called Kidffiti, and it's a chalk-based imitation spray paint kit. It sprays powdered chalk in an unwholesome array of colors. And it might be sending the city's children down a very dark path. Won't somebody think of the children, you ask? Assemblyman Goldfeder is doing just that.

Worried that Kidffiti will condemn a generation to a life of crime by promoting an illegal art form, the Queens Democrat is calling for local stores to take the product off their shelves, hopefully with the help of the city's Department of Consumer Affairs.

Goldfeder held a press conference on Monday to announce his plan of action, and the Voice subsequently reached out to him, mostly because of this quote he gave to the Daily News:

"Graffiti is just the first act of vandalism," Goldfeder said. "It oftentimes leads to drug abuse and drug sales."

That seemed just a wee bit overstated. And because he's a good sport (and a pretty nice guy who probably doesn't deserve all this snark) Goldfeder chose to return our call. He said he'd been asked about the line "a few times" over the past day and a half, so he took the opportunity to, ahem, revise his statement.

No, Goldfeder clarified, he's not suggesting that chalk painting will lead inexorably to a generation of budding Banksys with a package of crack under their sneaker strap.

But yes, he is standing by the sentiment.

"The idea was that graffiti is a gateway crime," Goldfeder said. "Someone who vandalizes a public place may be emboldened to commit more serious crimes."

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