Kosher Grill on UES is Robbed, NYPD Rules Out Hate Crime After Disinfo Spreads Online

According to the NYPD, windows at the Pita Grill were smashed during a Sunday, November 26 robbery. With tensions in New York City at a simmer due to recent events in Israel and Palestine, misinformation quickly spread online about the establishment being targeted by pro-Palestine protestors. The NYPD is investigating further, but has so far ruled out any hate motive.

| 04 Dec 2023 | 01:36

A kosher grill on the UES reportedly had its windows smashed during a robbery, leading to premature declarations of a hate crime by some social media commentators riled up by tensions in the Middle East.

Indeed, photos shared widely indicated that Pita Grill–located at 1603 2nd Ave.–had its storefront shattered on November 26. However, UES pols such as City Councilmember Julie Menin posted online that she had “received an update from the @NYPD17Pct regarding the broken glass at Pita Grill. The Precinct reports that this is not an antisemitic incident but rather a burglary where items were taken and a civilian intervened.” Mark Levine, the Manhattan Borough President, echoed Menin’s analysis in a post of his own. He noted that he was “open” to the idea of it being a hate crime, but that so far this remained in the realm of “theories spreading online.”

State Assemblymember Alex Bores, who also represents the UES, chimed in as well: “Pita Grill 57th and 2nd Ave had its glass broken overnight. I’m awaiting confirmation of what I am seeing online, which is that this was targeted at them because they are a kosher restaurant. If so, this is clearly antisemitic. I’m in contact with @NYPD17Pct about it.”

Meanwhile, certain conservative activists and journalists spread the notion that the incident was not a robbery, but rather an attack on the grill by pro-Palestine protestors. They provided no evidence for their claims. Jonathan Haronouff, a contributor to Fox News and Isareli newspapers such as Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post, provocatively compared the event to the infamous 1938 Nazi pogrom known as Kristallnacht (“Night of Broken Glass”).

The NYPD confirmed to Our Town that an investigation into the incident remains ongoing, and that a suspect took two bicycles from the store.