It’s happened again. Another “thin blue line” has been painted on the ground in Staten Island. This time, it’s on an asphalt path in Clove Lakes Park, running parallel to Royal Oak Road.
The last time this happened, it was our island’s own resident patriot-artist, Scott LoBaido who was responsible, painting the symbol onto the median in front of the 122 Precinct on Hylan Boulevard. (See our recent article:Scott LoBaido Paints Blue Line In Front of 122 Pct On Hylan; City DOT Responds With Cease & Desist Letter. Scott Turns Letter Into “Red, White, and Thin Blue Line” Artwork )
Mr. LoBaido’s activist-artwork was vandalized immediately after he completed it by an anonymous Staten Island woman who had painted “Black Lines Matter ≠ All Lives Don’t Matter” over the line.
But who’s responsible this time?
We may never know. Unlike Scott’s iconic American flags that are all over the island and United States, rendered in his unmistakable style on the sides of buildings and walls of all shapes and sizes, the Thin Blue Line is simply a line painted in blue. Anyone could have done it. All it would have taken is some blue paint. And a roller.
Now, before you go thinking Mr. LoBaido is a lousy artist only capable of graffitiing lines on the ground, know this: he’s actually a masterful visual artist and sculptor, confined to no particular style or subject.
Of course, Scott loves painting the Flag and Patriotic themes, and so that’s why so much of his work is in this domain. (See our article:Scott LoBaido: Visionary Artist and Vocal Titan of Staten Island )
He’s a brilliant conceptual artist as well, understanding the role of the artist as the person who provokes society to think and reflect and emote.
Some news organizations sell Scott LoBaido short. In fact, he’s not an attention seeker but a real artist, skilled, to be sure, and totally cognizant of what an artist is. But again, the Thin Blue Line in Clove Lakes Park may have been done by Scott. Or it may not have been. The oaks are not telling.
The Thin Blue Line in Clove Lakes Park runs for quite a distance on a trail that sees many joggers, Moms with strollers, and dog walkers each day, people from all walks of life, of every color and ethnicity imaginable.
Perhaps the graffiti was done in the dark of night, or so early only the blue jays and squirrels were witness to its creation.
Clove Lakes Park is one of Staten Island’s favorite public parks, abutting the neighborhoods of Westerleigh, West Brighton, Sunnyside, and Clove Lakes. The park is home to the island’s largest tree, a tulip tree almost 120 feet tall. There are numerous lakes in the park. There are also outcroppings of serpentine rock located along its hilly trails, formed almost 500 million years ago during the Ordovician period.
All kinds of animals call the park home. The park features a picnic area, the Staten Island War Memorial Ice Skating Rink, baseball diamonds, fields, basketball courts, and miles and miles of hiking trails. Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of Central Park in Manhattan and Prospect park in Brooklyn, also designed and terrascaped Clove Lakes Park. It is sometimes referred to as Staten Island’s Central Park.
The Thin Bluer Line symbol is not the antithesis of Black Lives Matter. It is a symbol that stands for a concept, the idea that the police maintain the line that keeps society from creeping into anarchy, violence, and chaos. The fact is, not everyone in our society conducts themselves in an upright manner, and without the police, some would prey on the innocent.
Richard Enright, a police commissioner for the NYPD, publicly used the term way back in 1922. The police, or “boys (and now girls) in blue” as they are sometimes called by NYC residents, are the people behind the symbol.
There was even a 1952 TV series called The Thin Blue Line, produced by Los Angeles Police Chief William H. Parker on NBC affiliate KNBH. The show was nothing like COPS or contemporary police shows that have recently been cancelled as calls to “defund the police” shape public discourse. The Thin Blue line featured discussions between a moderator and a panel of exports.
Opponents claim that the Thin Blue Line flags are not about saluting the police and the essential work officers do, but rather a way of dividing the population into “us and them,” the police and the policed.
This claim is absurd on its face; the police are members of the very communities they serve, Staten Island being home to the highest number of NYPD personnel of any county. And, many police officers on our island fly the Thin Blue Line flag under their American flag in front of their homes.
It’s a symbol of solidarity with the community, rather than opposition to it; it’s meant as acknowledgement that the police stand as enforcers of law and order, the keepers of the peace. While many try to read more into the symbol, their interpretations are not rooted in reality, but rather paranoia and deluded fantasy.