New York's Metropolitan Opera vandalized with painted obscenities

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City's storied Metropolitan Opera House was struck by a vandal who spray painted obscenities on paintings, sculptures and administrative offices early on Wednesday, police said.

The vandal also spray painted part of a band shell at Lincoln Center, a collection of performance halls in Manhattan that includes the opera house, the New York City Police Department said.

A worker at the opera house first noticed the damage around 8 a.m. There were no signs of a break in, police said. The defacement included profanities, but police not give further details. No arrests have been made.

In a brief statement acknowledging the vandalism, the Metropolitan Opera, one of the world's foremost opera centers, said there was "little or no permanent damage."

The New York Times reported that investigators were examining whether the vandalism was linked to an ongoing labor dispute. The Metropolitan Opera, trying to cut labor costs, has been locked in difficult contract talks with union leaders.

Alan Gordon, executive director of the American Guild of Musical Artists, told the Times he does not believe the incident was related to the labor talks. "Nobody's that crazy," he said.

(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere; Editing by Will Dunham)