There are two Confederate flags, several Israeli flags and what appears to be an American flag with 13 stars...
The Post reports that the flags have been hanging in the windows for several months. (Updated: The Daily News says that the flags have been there for a year.) However, after the weekend's deadly violence that erupted at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., people are now taking notice of these flags.
According to the Post, people threw "rocks and bricks" at the windows yesterday.
“They’re scary, we don’t know who we are dealing with in the neighborhood. I feel uncomfortable because that represents evil. I see the protests in the news and I come home and see this,” said local Louise Abddhal, 56, as a chorus of others yelled at the window.
Residents had turned a blind eye to the offensive banners in the past, but started getting mad after Saturday’s rally in Charlottesville ...
“It’s been there forever and no one said anything. Now it’s going crazy. Virginia is bringing more light and attention too,” said longtime resident Janet Brown.
At night, the flags are illuminated in the windows.
Buzzfeed Senior Editor Matt Stopera tweeted this Saturday night...
Ave d and 8th street in NYC right now. If you think awful racism isnt everywhere then wake the fuck up! pic.twitter.com/eHGCeb5j1T— Matt Stopera (@mattstopera) August 13, 2017
Police responded to the rock tossing, though no arrests were made, the Post reported.
Updated 5:25 a.m.
The Daily News filed a story overnight about the flags. The also posted a video showing a man on the corner throwing throws at the sixth-floor windows.
Last night around 11, police had blocked off the area outside the building and were attempting to speak with the tenant. (The Post reported that the leasing agent had reached out to the tenant as well.)
"We don’t want a riot here," Michael Schweinsburg, the Eight B C D Block Association president, told the News.
Schweinsberg said he hoped that the cops can convince the tenant to take down the flags — for the sake of the neighborhood.
“The cops went up there, there was absolutely no response to repeated knocks on the door,” he added. “So the idea now is that they’re going to reach out to the landlord and ask for something to be hung from the roof to cover it up. That way hopefully he will communicate.”
The NYPD said that they will keep a patrol car on the scene "to monitor the situation."
[Photo from last night at 7:30]
Updated 10:30 a.m.
The Daily Beast has more details, including that the tenant has lived in the building for 12 years.
The flags, according to several neighbors who know their owner, might be as much a product of mental illness as they are of racism.
The apartment building’s superintendent Ruben Vargas told The Daily Beast that the flags have been up for five months.
Until then, the tenant had been a building nuisance. Two neighbors were scared of him, Vargas said, and a third had moved out “because he goes off on a rampage inside the apartment throwing things around.” Multiple people described the tenant as mentally ill.
“Some days he’s talking to you, then you see him again and he’s out cursing and saying racist words. ‘Heil Hitler,’ all these things,” Vargas said.
Updated 11:30 a.m.
Here's a statement from City Councilmember Rosie Mendez...
Recently, I was made aware that confederate flags were hung in the windows of an apartment building in my district. It saddens me that a symbol of hate and oppression would be displayed in my district — a multi-ethnic district that is comprised of and embraces its racial and economic diversity. More troubling is that these flags remain in display after the tragic and fatal events that occurred in Charlottesville this weekend.
I am concerned as I am hearing that local community residents are upset by the display and are taking some matters into their own hands. There have been reports made to my office of counter actions taking place at the residence that are alarming and illegal. You can voice your displeasure, but you cannot throw objects at the windows, to the building or block anyone’s entrance or exit to the building.
While this display may be offensive to many of us, please know that each and every one of us has rights and protections under the United States Constitution. We all have a First Amendment Right to Free Speech. Displaying a flag, in and of itself, is not illegal and there are no legal actions that can be taken to have this individual remove the flags from his/her windows.
However, there are limitations to our First Amendment Right to Free Speech and if this individual steps outside of those limitations, then local law enforcement can take the next necessary steps.
I want to remind everyone that this is a multiple dwelling building. Many other individuals, families with children, live in this building and are probably equally offended by the display. I ask that you please respect and support your neighbors who reside in this building and who unfortunately live next to this individual.
While I do not know nor do I have any contact with this individual, I respectfully request for everyone’s safety that s/he take down this flag — a symbol that is so offensive to the surrounding community.
To my neighbors, I hope you continue to exercise your First Amendment Right as we traditionally do in this community, but we must do it within the letter of the law. Please do not exceed or violate what is permitted expressions of free speech.
Lastly, my staff and I have been in contact with the local precinct and we have been informed that the situation is being monitored.
Updated 8:30 p.m.
Earlier this evening, 12 to 15 people were gathered on the southwest corner. Some of them had signs with them that read "End Racism," and other messages. No one was actively holding them up at this time. There was one police vehicle parked on Avenue D. There weren't any news crews at this time, though there were two photographers on the corner.
The Daily News filed a second story earlier today that names the resident.
Workers have dropped a tarp over the windows. Read that story here.
The flags have been removed.