Monday, January 23, 2017

The Vandalism of Nikita Whitlock's Home in Moonachie - Part 2

This article is the second part of a four-part series that began on a previous webpage.

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The vandalism of Nikita Whitlock's home took place on Tuesday, December 6, 2016. On Friday, December 9, he appeared on the MSNBC television show All In With Chris Hayes to recount the event.

Hayes was eager to point out that Whitlock's vandalized home is located in the "predominately White" town (at 3:10 in the video) of Moonachie, and Whitlock responded that his neighbors indeed were "not keen" about a young Black man such as himself living there. Whitlock remarked that, until he revealed that he played on the Giants football team, his neighbors feared that his presence might attract drive-by shootings.

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The 2010 census found Moonachie to be ethnically diverse.
* Total area = 1.7 square mile 
* Total population = 2,708 
* Whites = 2,141 (79%) -- but 366 of these Whites self-identify as Hispanic 
* Asian (Filipinos,  Koreans, Indians, etc.)  = 305 (11%)  
* Black or African-Americans = 51 (2%)  
* Other = 275 = 10% -- mostly non-White Hispanics
Moonachie's 660 Hispanics (White and non-White) comprise about 24% of the population. The biggest groups come from Ecuador (123), Colombia (117), the Dominican Republic (96), Puerto Rico (85) and Cuba (54). Racially, Moonachie's 294 non-White Hispanics self-identify as mulatto, mestizo, amerindian or mixed-race.

 In other words, the Moonachie population is roughly:
* 66% non-Hispanic Whites (disproportionately Italians and Sicilians) 
* 14% Hispanic Whites 
* 11% Asians (Filipinos, Koreans, Indians, etc.) 
* 10% Hispanic Mulattoes, Mestizos, Amerindians, mixed-race 
* 2% Blacks (some of whom are Dominicans, Cubans, etc.) 
Since I live only about one mile from Moonachie, I know that the area's non-Hispanic Whites are disproportionately Italian and Sicilian and that many still speak those languages among themselves.

Although Moonachie's Black portion is relatively small, the town's population is ethnically diverse. I would guess that at least a third of the Moonachie population speaks English as a second language.

Hackensack, the Bergen County seat, is only about three miles from Moonachie and has a Black population of about 10,500 -- about a fourth of the Hackensack population. When Moonachie citizens do government and commercial business in nearby county-seat Hackensack, they deal commonly with lots of Blacks.

For Chris Hayes, however, it's enough to say that Moonachie is "predominantly White", a town characteristic that explains to his MSNBC viewers the racist vandalism of Whitlock's home. I'll bet that Hayes' own neighborhood is much more "predominantly White".

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In the 2016 Presidential election, Moonachie voted against Donald Trump.
Registered Voters = 1,664 
Voted = 1,161 (70% turnout) 
Voted for Clinton = 572 (49%)
Voted for Trump = 545 (47%)
Voted for Others = 44 (4%)
 Voted Against Trump = 616 (53%)
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Not only is Moonachie an ethnically diverse town that voted against Trump, Moonachie is also famous for loving NY Giants football players. Already in 1987, The Chicago Tribune wrote about the famous Moonachie-Giants relationship:
.... Upset that the Giants now [in 1987] play in New Jersey instead of New York, [New York Mayor Ed] Koch recently announced that even if the team won the Super Bowl, the city would not sponsor a traditional ticker tape parade down Broadway. 
Calling the Giants a "foreign team," the often flip Koch said, "I would probably go to a ticker tape parade in Moonachie. But if they want a ticker tape parade in New York City, they will have to play in New York City." 
To add insult to injury, Koch mispronounced the name of this small industrial town of 3,000, calling it "mah-NOO-chee," instead of ""moo-NAH-key." 
Koch`s comments riled many in New Jersey and Moonachie in particular. A sign outside a local lobster restaurant says, "Go Jersey Giants; Boo Koch." And a banner at Sunday`s Giants-Redskins game read: "Mayor Koch: Love Thy Neighbor." 
The Giants don`t even play in Moonachie. Their stadium is in East Rutherford, N.J., a mile-and-one-half to the south. Moonachie is identified with the Giants only because a local restaurant, Manny`s, is a popular hangout for Giant players, coaches and fans. .... 
As for the parade, Koch finally changed his mind last week after American Express offered to pay $700,000 to foot the bill for a Manhattan parade. 
But it was too late. The Giants announced Sunday that "the only logical place for a Giants celebration is here at Giants Stadium in the New Jersey sports complex." ... 
In 2015, the NFL Network broadcast a documentary, titled Jersey Guys, about Moonachie's famous love for the Giants. The NFL documentary was reviewed by NorthJersey.com.
... The program ... opens with a shot of the Meadowlands phragmites and narrator Jon Bon Jovi intoning, “When you think of the Giants, you think of New York. But the heart and soul of the Big Blue’s universe is a town you’ve never heard of. It’s here in Jersey, just down the road from the stadium. It’s got a funny name — and a chip on its shoulder.” 
That would be Moonachie, which actually is a couple of miles from East Rutherford — the home of Giants Stadium and now MetLife Stadium. But two former aides to former New York Mayor Ed Koch — who famously suggested the Giants settle for a Super Bowl parade in “Minotchie” rather than the Canyon of Heroes in lower Manhattan — suggested that Koch repeatedly referenced Moonachie because Koch got a big laugh no matter how he pronounced it. 
Phil Miuccio, Tony Cospito and Ken Reihl were volunteer firemen in Moonachie when they got a taste of notoriety from various TV crews for showing up with their truck at the Jan. 1987 Super Bowl celebration at Giants Stadium. The firemen grew wistful when they got a chance to see the footage earlier this year – with Miuccio shown muttering softly, “Lotta time….” as he watched. 
In the program, Miuccio recalled how Koch had “fanned the flames” in the 1980s by referring to the Giants as a “foreign team” and complaining that the team had taken the “NY” logo off their helmets. But the wisecracks about the town name were more personal, Miuccio suggested. 
“There’s no way you throw down the gauntlet at somebody from New Jersey and expect us to go quietly into that good night,” Miuccio said. “No, we’re gonna pick it up and smack you in the face with it — and we did.” 
At the Super Bowl celebration, Miuccio demonstrated how the truck could raise its ladder and drop confetti down on the Giants players as they rode by should a parade be held in Moonachie. 
“As you can see, this will be just as effective as any ticker tape parade that New York City or any other city throughout the United States could give,” Miuccio said sincerely. 
Former Mayor Fred Dressel remains disappointed that the Giants never did hold a parade in Moonachie. But he said he enjoyed the program without reservations — especially because his 20-year-old granddaughter got to see what he looked like in an interview before she was born.
“[The producers] were respectful; they didn’t make fun of our small town,” said Dressel, who has several cameos in the show while current Mayor Dennis Vaccaro also gets a brief comment in the show. “It was some contrast to see people like myself and even the young guys — I call them young guys — and how different we look 30 years later.” 
A number of businesses appear momentarily on screen at various portions of the show, including Ressa’s Meadowlands Cleaners and Manny’s restaurant in Moonachie; the Meadowlands Diner in Carlstadt; and two favorites of former coach Bill Parcells — Elmer’s country store in Upper Saddle River and Bischoff’s ice cream parlor in Teaneck. A “We Love Secaucus” sign from The Rose Bowl also has a cameo.  
The Moonachie firehouse also is the site of a surprise ending to the program that left one of the firemen joking, “I can die now.”
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When Hayes remarked that Moonachie is "predominantly White", Whitlock responded that a nice White female neighbor welcomed his family with cookies. She asked Whitlock what he does for a living, and he explained that he plays on the Giants football team. She indicated that she would pass this reassuring news to her neighbors, who were concerned that he, as a young Black man, might attract "drive-by shootings".

Because of this gossipy neighbor, much of the neighborhood certainly knew that Whitlock played on the Giants football team and also that he was a married family man with two small children. Perhaps much of the neighborhood knew through this gossipy neighbor also that he had graduated from Wake Forest University.

Still, Hayes was eager to insinuate to his MSNBC viewers that Whitlock's "predominantly White" Moonachie neighbors were reflexively hostile to the strange presence of a Black family. It's no wonder -- MSNBC viewers were supposed to understand -- that Moonachie's "predominantly White" environment would produce local racist vandals inspired by Trump's rhetoric.

It's remarkable that Moonachie's Trump-inspired vandals have not vandalized a Hispanic home in a town where about a quarter of the population is Hispanic. According to the US census, the Hispanic portion of Moonachie's population grew from 13% in 2000 to 24% in 2010, whereas the Black portion has remained under 2%. Somehow Trump has failed to inspire any vandalism of homes among the town's rapidly growing Hispanic population.

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The Whitlock family ate out on the evening of Tuesday, December 6, 2016, and their home was empty from 6:30 to 8:45 p.m. Most of their neighbors were likely to be home, however. It was a school night, and the television schedule featured the semi-final of the popular singing competition The Voice. It was a risky time for a racist Trump supporter to break into the Whitlock home without being seen or heard.

The Whitlock home's residents included Nikita's sister and a downstairs roommate (at 2:15 of the Hayes video) -- either of whom might become a problem for the racist Trump-supporting vandal.

Between 6:30 and 8:45 there was a heavy rainstorm. The weather station at nearby Teterboro Airport recorded the rainfall's development.

* The rain began to fall during the period from 4:51 to 5:51 p.m., when 0.01 inches was recorded.

* The next rain measurement was recorded from 5:51 to 6:41, when an additional 0.03 inches was recorded.

* During the final six hours of December 6, the rainfall totaled .62 inches.

The local media had forecast the heavy rainstorm all day. However, when Nikita Whitlock departed with his family at 6:30, when the rain had begun to fall, he did not take along an umbrella. When he and his family returned home at 8:45, the rain was pouring down.

During this rainstorm, the racist Trump supporter broke in, vandalized the home and exited.

Whitlock indicated to Hayes (at 1:00 in the video) that he left his family in his car and went into his home to get an umbrella. As he opened the door, however, he immediately saw the graffiti. Therefore he did not enter his home. Instead he returned to his car, phoned the police, and took his family to another location. The police came to the home and collected evidence for about four hours. After the four-hour investigation (about 1 a.m.?), Whitlock was allowed to enter the home and see all the vandalism for himself.

In the Hayes interview, Whitlock gave the impression that he alone left his car at 8:45 during the rainstorm to get an umbrella. However, in his earlier interview with The Record reporter Andrew Wyrich, Whitlock indicated that he was not alone at the door.
I opened the door, turned on the light and saw the swastika. Immediately we walked out and called the police.
Why didn't Whitlock take along an umbrella at 6:30 as the predicted rainstorm was beginning? Who was the other person who accompanied him to the door during the downpour at 8:45?

When the police were collecting evidence in the home, did they find indications that the racist Trump supporter had entered the home from an outside rainstorm?

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This is the second part of a series of articles.

Part 1

Part 3

Part 4