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‘Black Lives Matter’ Mural Outside Trump Tower Is Vandalized Multiple Times

Weather: Dangerously hot: A high in the mid-90s will seem closer to 100. Afternoon thunderstorms could bring strong gusts.

Alternate-side parking: Suspended through Sunday.

Nearly every week since “Black Lives Matter” was painted in front of Trump Tower in Manhattan, someone has unloaded a bucket of paint on the giant yellow letters.

In one incident, two women shouted “All Lives Matter” as they ran across the three words while pouring paint on them. Another time, a woman yelled, “Bill de Blasio doesn’t care about Black people!” as she smeared the street art with paint while on her hands and knees.

As of Monday night, the words had been defaced by paint at least five times. Most of the paint throwers were swiftly arrested, the police said, and city workers repainted the letters.

The defacing has come as many New Yorkers continue to protest against systemic racism and police brutality in the wake of the killing of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis.

The first incident happened just four days after the painting’s unveiling on July 9, the police said. A man walked to the street — the block of Fifth Avenue between 56th and 57th Streets — with a paper bag, took out a bucket of red paint and poured it mainly over the word “Lives.” Workers from the City Department of Transportation quickly cleaned and repainted the letters. No arrest has been made.

Four days later, the police said, two women and one man arrived with blue paint; a video showed one of the vandals wearing a shirt that read “All Lives Matter.”

The next day, a Times reporter saw a group of women throwing black paint on the words as they screamed phrases including “Refund the police” and “Jesus matters.”

The two most recent incidents occurred on Saturday and Sunday, when a man from Rochester cast paint over the street art, the police said.

The street project has been seen as the latest dispute in a feud between Mayor Bill de Blasio and President Trump. The two have repeatedly clashed over New York prosecutors seeking the president’s financial records and the mayor’s presidential primary bid.

In one case last year, the president called Mr. de Blasio “the worst mayor in the United States.” A few months later, Mr. de Blasio told BuzzFeed that Mr. Trump would “not be welcome back in New York City” when he left the White House.

“The president is a disgrace to the values we cherish in New York City,” a spokeswoman for Mr. de Blasio said in June. “Any time he wants to set foot in the place he claims is his hometown, he should be reminded Black Lives Matter.”

In response, the president — who has repeatedly disparaged protesters — wrote on Twitter that the project was a “symbol of hate.”

Fifth Avenue isn’t the only city street painted with “Black Lives Matter.” The words have been placed at Foley Square in Lower Manhattan and on Fulton Street in Brooklyn, among other locations.

Across the country, other cities have embraced similar paintings. In Washington, Mayor Muriel Bowser had “Black Lives Matter” painted on a street leading to the White House in early June.

In Portland, Ore., and Cincinnati, the street art has also been vandalized. And this month in Martinez, Calif., two people were accused of defacing “Black Lives Matter” signage and charged with a hate crime.

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Want more news? Check out our full coverage.

The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.

Last weekend, 105 bars and restaurants, mostly in New York City, were cited for social-distancing violations. [Eater New York]

Piles of emergency coronavirus meals meant for the poor were found dumped in Queens. [New York Post]

Rents are dropping and vacancies are increasing. Could rent regulation be endangered? [The City]

NASA is about to send a 2,200-pound rover to Mars. The mission — the last of three spacecraft being launched to the red planet this summer — will help bring scientists closer to answering the longstanding questions about life on other planets and whether Mars could be a base camp for further exploration.

New Yorkers, stuck in their homes millions and millions of miles away, can follow along through MarsFest, a series of free online events being offered on Wednesday by the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan. (The museum is closed because of the coronavirus crisis.)

“We want to inspire wonder in this time when everything feels overwhelming and people feel shut in,” said Bella Desai, the director of the museum’s public programs. “Science pushes us forward, and there will be even more opportunities for exploration and discovery and hope on the other side of this pandemic.”

The rover, Perseverance, is expected to land on Mars in February and collect samples from the planet’s surface. A helicopter named Ingenuity is also part of the mission; NASA will be making its first attempt to fly a helicopter on another planet.

During MarsFest, a Facebook event at 10 a.m. will introduce Mars to children. At 1 p.m., scientists will lead a virtual field trip to the planet via YouTube. And at 8 p.m., a livestreamed “Space Comedy Jam” will feature stand-up acts, music performances and space-related games. Get more details about the day and register for the livestream comedy show on the museum’s website.

“What better way to escape quarantine than to take a virtual field trip to Mars?” Ms. Desai said.

It’s Tuesday — space out.

Dear Diary:

I drove to the Upper West Side on a sunny day last fall to deliver a rocking chair to a young friend who was in her last month of pregnancy. The chair was one my mother had given me decades ago when I was pregnant with my first child.

Because a rocking chair is awkward to carry, I hoped I would find a parking space near my friend’s building. Alas, no luck. The closest space I could find was on Riverside Drive near Grant’s Tomb about a dozen blocks from her apartment.

After some experimentation, I decided that the best way to carry the chair was to hold it by the arms, upside down, with the seat above my head and the rockers up in the air.

I felt a bit conspicuous as I headed off down the sidewalk along Riverside Park. The park was full of people, and I was a gray-haired woman carrying a rocking chair upside down over her head. I was sure I would get some strange looks, and maybe a comment or two.

I needn’t have worried. No one batted an eye.

— Jane Scott

New York Today is published weekdays around 6 a.m. Sign up here to get it by email. You can also find it at nytoday.com.

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