EAST WILLIAMSBURG —A dummy with its arms tied behind its back and a cloth over its head was spotted swinging from the the limb of an East Williamsburg tree, is either an ill-conceived Halloween prank or an act of abject racism, residents said.
Residents of Orient Avenue noticed the dummy Wednesday morning, strung from a tree on the north side of the street, and the the second in a matter of weeks to be found within a few block radius.
The 3-feet-long, doll, still hanging at around 4 p.m., was dressed in dark clothes, a white belt, and a had a white face with its head wrapped in a piece of cloth, and hands tied behind its back.
“It’s super odd and bothersome and I don’t know what to make of it,” said Suset Laboy, 35, who posted about the dummy on Twitter. “It may well be holiday decor but the setup is just offensive.”
Diane Villa, 54, who’d lived on the block for 25 years, had a more definitive interpretation of the doll when she noticed it Wednesday morning.
“I thought it was racist. You hung people like that in the old times,” she said. "Maybe some racist people moved into the neighborhood.”
Several others who spoke with DNAinfo thought it was more likely a benign Halloween prank.
When Paul Gondry, who lives in the house next to where the dummy hung, noticed it Wednesday morning he thought it was “just like a Halloween prank,” he said. “Seems harmless.”
The dummy spotted Wednesday is the second in a matter of weeks to be seen swinging from neighborhood trees.
Three blocks away on Kingsland Avenue on Sept. 25, in front of the Cooper Park Houses, a dummy was found hanging which some residents there interpreted as a "spiteful symbol of lynching."
No arrests have been made in this case, but it is being investigated as a possible hate crime.