You are reading

Kew Gardens Homeowner Comes Under Fire For Hanging Banner Saying Biden Administration Marks the Beginning of Socialism

The sign at 82-28 Abingdon Rd. Sunday (Image by Aleda Gagarin)

Jan. 26, 2021 By Michael Dorgan

A local candidate for city council has taken issue with a large banner hanging in front of a house in Kew Gardens that claims Joe Biden’s inauguration marked the beginning of socialism.

Aleda Gagarin, who is running as a progressive to represent District 29, came across the banner at 82-28 Abingdon Rd. Sunday and posted an image of the house and the sign to Twitter.

The banner reads: “January 20, 2021, Death of Democracy, The Beginning of Socialism.” The date marks the day Joe Biden was sworn into office as the 46th President of the United States.

The banner also features a hammer and sickle as well as an image of Lady Liberty crouched over with her hands in her face. The banner drapes between two flag poles in the middle of the front garden that each fly the USA flag.

“It’s just so silly, the person is clearly misunderstood,” Gagarin told the Queens Post. “Joe Biden is certainly not a socialist.”

Gagarin noted that Biden doesn’t even support universal healthcare.

“The sign also uses communist imagery that shows a clear lack of understanding,” she added.

Michael Ricatto, who owns the house and put up the banner, disputed Gagarin’s claims and said he knows exactly what he is talking about. Biden’s policies are socialist, he said, and all hardworking taxpayers will have to pay more due to his left-wing policies.

Furthermore, Ricatto added that there is little difference between socialism and communism and he considers socialism as communism’s “little brother.”

“We worked hard for years to amass what we have and I don’t like being forced to support someone else,” Ricatto said.

Ricatto believes that American democracy is under threat and claims that the presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump. He argues that the democratic process was upended.

“There were too many ambiguities that were never reported and most of the media lean left,” he claims. None were proven in court.

However, Gagarin says it was Trump who put democracy at risk.

“Trump was trying to kill democracy, he was trying to overthrow our actual government, that’s very clearly true,” she said, referring to the attacks on the Capitol on Jan 6.

Gagarin said that while she was offended by the sign she respects his right to free speech.

She said she was more offended by previous signs put up by Ricatto that expressed his outright support for Trump. She said that Trump’s policies targeted undocumented residents in Queens.

“I don’t agree with propping up a fascist whose policies terrified our immigrant brothers and sisters,” Gagarin said, referring to the rise in ICE arrests in Queens under Trump.

Trump’s wall, she added, was “a waste of money, stupid, childish and inherently racist.”

82-28 Abingdon Rd. (Image by Aleda Gagarin)

Ricatto has courted controversy relating to his signs in the past.

In 2016, his pro-Trump lawn signs were constantly stolen. In response, he stapled “wanted” signs on public trees in an effort to catch the people swiping them. The Parks Dept. fined him for damaging the trees.

Nevertheless, Ricatto said he will not let anyone deter him from exercising his right to free speech.

“They are not going to shut me up, they will never shut me up,” he said.

He also said that people are afraid to voice their opinions due to a fear of backlash from the left and that some people have thanked him for putting up his signs.

“There is a silent majority out there, not so much in Queens but there are enclaves of right-leaning people.”

Donald Trump saw his support in Queens rise in the 2020 election with 26.8 percent of citizens voting for him – up from 21.8 percent in 2016.

Ricatto said he has not received much trouble for putting up his signs but joked that a person has been sending him tissues in the post since Biden was elected. The tissues are for Ricatto to wipe his tears since Trump lost the election.

He said that while he disagrees with Biden’s position on a myriad of issues he wishes him well and is not hoping for him to fail.

“We are all one big airliner and Joe Biden is now pilot, I am not hoping for him to crash.”

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Queens Public Library celebrates Black History Month with nearly 150 programs highlighting Black resistance, culture

Feb. 2, 2023 By Carlotta Mohamed

Throughout February, Queens Public Library will celebrate “Black Resistance” – the theme of its 2023 Black History Month observance – with nearly 150 comprehensive programs and initiatives, including theater performances, author talks, and art workshops for all ages, spotlighting various aspects of Black heritage, culture and resilience. 

Popular places where you can watch the Big Game in Queens

Feb. 2, 2023 By Tammy Scileppi

Hey, football fans! Game time is fast approaching, and across the city and here in Queens, you can feel the excitement brewing as the two teams prepare to take the field on Super Sunday, Feb. 12. So, kick back and watch the big game, and don’t miss Rihanna’s exciting performance during halftime. 

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘Limitless possibility’: BP Richards announces community visioning workshops on redevelopment of Creedmoor Psychiatric Center campus in Queens Village

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. and Empire State Development on Tuesday, Jan. 31, announced the launch of a series of community visioning workshops that will be held to hear input from eastern Queens residents about the redevelopment of the 50-acre Creedmoor Psychiatric Center campus in Queens Village. 

The first community visioning workshop will be held on Thursday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m. at P.S./I.S. 208 located at 74-30 Commonwealth Blvd. in Glen Oaks.

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.