Before 7 a.m. on Tuesday, cryptic messages were scrawled on the Corinthian columns of Tweed Courthouse, the historic education department headquarters in lower Manhattan.
The message meant to be conveyed by the graffiti, written in royal blue spray paint, was unclear. It was largely a rambling series of words related to social justice such as “unconstitutional murder lower economic education feudal class” and “superior erudite tyrants,” according to the New York City Police Department.
An investigation has been launched, but police said no description is available of who might have left the graffiti or why.
The education department’s maintenance team quickly began cleaning up the mess with a large pressure cleaner.
“Tweed Courthouse is a New York City landmark and we’re disappointed that someone would vandalize the building,” spokeswoman Toya Holness wrote in an email.
The courthouse was designated as a landmark in 1984, and became the education department headquarters in the early 2000s after extensive renovations.
It took two decades to build and was completed in 1881, according to city records. Construction was interrupted by the trial of the legendary Tammany Hall boss William M. Tweed, who embezzled money through the project. He eventually was tried in an unfinished courtroom there and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Police didn’t say what types of charges or fines the tagger might face.