This afternoon, workers dropped a black tarp from the roof over the windows on Eighth Street displaying the Confederate and Israeli flags.
[Photo via @zmack]
It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the tarp — building management or concerned neighbors. Both the property manager and the NYPD had reportedly asked the tenant to remove the flags.
As of now, one of the Confederate flags is still in view. Not sure if workers plan on adding another tarp. [Updated: See below]
The flags had been on display here at Avenue D for months, according to various published reports. (The amount of time varies from five months to a year, depending on the source.) As The Daily Beast noted, "It was only after a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend that the whole neighborhood took notice of Confederate flags across from their homes."
Multiple sources in published reports described the tenant, a 43-year-old male, as mentally ill.
Per the Daily News:
The head of an East Village block association says the clamor to evict a local resident for displaying two Confederate flags is completely misguided.
“This is not someone whose intent is to inflame passions or anything like that,” said Michael Schweinsburg, president of the Eight B C D Block Association. “He is a mental health concern. So no, eviction is not something I would welcome or support.”
And The Daily Beast: "The flags, according to several neighbors who know their owner, might be as much a product of mental illness as they are of racism."
Police have been on the scene since a man threw rocks at the windows on Wednesday morning.
Updated 3:15 p.m.
Updated 4:45 p.m.
DNAinfo reports that the top-floor windows "showcased a pair of the German Naval flags emblazoned with the cross for roughly a decade before they were replaced by the Confederate flags." A neighbor also said that the tenant "routinely shouted racial slurs out his window several times a week until about four years ago."
[Reader-submitted screengrab from Google Street View]
There's an unconfirmed reader report that a man was arrested last night for tossing a rock or some projectile through one of the windows...
Updated 2 p.m.
The flags have been removed.
Previously on EV Grieve:
Report: Anger over Confederate flags on 8th Street and Avenue D
I can still see the Confederate flag. Meanwhile they covered up the American and Israeli flags. Plus they should have used a white tarp, ironically it's much easier to project images of love and tolerance onto a white one. If only thet were true about people.
The 5-10 nationwide Alt-Right Marches on Google planned for Saturday have all been supposedly cancelled due to the backlash from the Nazi terror attacks and murder in Charlottesville. They were going to march on Google's office in Chelsea and then rally in Washington Sq Park. They would never try to rally in Tompkins Square Park because I doubt anyone including the homeless people and Crusties would put up with that nonsense. But they might still show up here to show support, because obstinate people are always stuck on stupid. Note to Nazis: we don't want you here either.
Whether it is the landlord or activists, I am proud of whoever placed this tarp over the windows. This man is taunting his neighbors who are people of color, and he is a bully. This kind of behavior can't be explained away by mental illness. I have know people who were mentally ill enough to be institutionalized, and they weren't racists. No excuses should be made for this man.
@3:10PM. I agree. People are saying to leave this guy alone because he is supposedly mentally ill, but he's living a normal life, he isn't institutionalized and seems to be higly functional. To excuse him for some alleged "mental illness" which may amount to being highly antisocial or having some deranged thoughts is ridiculous. I have a lot of cranky neighbors but that doesn't mean we have to excuse their abnormal behavior. Those flags are an obvious affront to his neighbors and this neighborhood, If he wants to fly a Confederate flag maybe he should move to Alabama, although even there he would be met with resistance now.
What a coward? He puts these flags up but remains in hiding. Why not come forward and state your case? And he has gotten away with scaring his neighbors for years. This is not right. The people in that building should not have to live in fear of a bully.
I'll bet the tarps are a violation of the warranty of habitability. I doubt they will stay up there for long. The flags are hateful and disgusting, but surely not illegal?
"A neighbor also said that the tenant "routinely shouted racial slurs out his window several times a week until about four years ago." - Wonder why that stopped? Maybe he lets the flags do the yelling for him.
What ever happened to free speech?
Isn't this infringement on his constitutional right to express himself, as misguided as it may be? Lawsuits probably will follow...
Doesn't he have a legal right to display those flags?
I would argue this isn't a case of free speech. It's a case of harassment and intimidation. He would never be able to do something like this in Germany or France, where they learned a lesson after WWII. I can't wait until his name comes out, and his employer finds out what he has been doing.
It is funny that those who belong or support hate groups always want to remain anonymous.
Love thy neighbors
It is funny that ANONYMOUS 6:26 wishes to remain you know.... anonymous
We are well down the slippery slope if those tarps stay up. Yes, free speech for even the speech you don't like. How about especially for the speech you don't like?
I would think the landlord can modify the outside of his building as sees fit. Doubt the tenant has any case.
It could be argued that he is creating a danger for the other residents of the building and preventing them from peaceably enjoying their homes. My guess is that if he is doing this, he is a nuisance in other ways, too.
UM! Isn't EVERY confederate flag flyer asshole mentally ill... #EVICT
7:49 hits it right on the head. Free speech for ALL, especially when you disagree. Some of you are salivating at dragging this guy either to some institution or to jail---it so pisses you off he has that flag. Some of you want his name even. Wow. To harass him? Destroy his life? Make him lose his job? Does that make you feel better, so morally superior?
Though I hate the statue of Lenin---I find it offensive because his ideology caused untold millions of people to die, their minds and bodies were enslaved--would I cause a fuss and cause it to be struck down? Nope. Leave it. It's just a fucking statue. Same with the flag. Fuck it. People burn the US flag? Well, it's a shame but fuck it. they have that freedom too though I personally disagree with them.
Slippery slope, people. .
How are you intimidated and harassed. By a flag. That's hung for months. By a man you've never had words with.
Leave the dude alone. It's his house. His windows. His opinion means as much as his neighbors to me.
Isn't regularly yelling out the window considered a disturbance and a menace? Wouldn't that alone be grounds for eviction?
The government/cops cannot halt or punish him without good cause to do so. Other citizens are free to show ways to express their displeasure, but can also run afoul of the law or statues if not careful. The landlord probably has attorneys for this.
Ask the NFL
6:21 - we do not live in france or germany - we have a first amendment right to free speech - despite your desire to have censorship, which will lead to an elimination of comments like yours, minor exception right?
Yeah, what did happen to free speech? Why don't we just erase all the parts of history and art that we find unacceptable and live in a mediocre homogenized bubble. Looks like that's the future of the USA.
Look up incitement. This is not constitutionally protected speach. It is inciting violence. Those flags represent oppression and racism.
Maybe it is time to think is this person okay does he need help is he able is this a cry for help in some way?.
On his own property. However, he rents, so his landlord owns the property and can request him to remove the flags.
Has anyone seen him? Does anyone know how he is reacting? I see his windows in the front are open, but I haven't seen him looking out.
Mental illness does not necessarily give this guy a pass. It's possible to be mentally ill and still intentionally and knowingly spew hate -- case in point, 45.
If the sight of a flag incites you to violence, maybe we should be reevaluating who is mentally ill. If you are unable to handle your emotions due to the sight of a flag, you are emotionally immature at the least and honestly, incapable of being a serious part of the free speech discussion. Just because you do not like something does not mean you get to tear it down. If we want to live in a country where we are free to express ourselves we have to live with others who are free to express themselves no matter how much we disagree. When did we start to forget this?
Actually what this guy is doing may not be protected as free speech. A woman who lives on the upper West side in the Ansonia had a neon peace sign in her window and was forced to remove it because it violated New York City zoning laws related to lighted signs. What this guy is doing by putting flood lights behind his flags at night is creating a lighted sign. He may be violating the same zoning law that forced the woman's peace sign to be removed.
I find find silencing speech much more scary than any piece of cloth.
Bring back all the flags of every nation. Silencing is persecution.
Right now police are scuffling with neo-Nazi protesters in Berlin while trying to keep them away from a bunch of counter protesters. Today in Boston at noon two huge rally's are planned, one supporting the alt right then Nazis and one against it. The Boston police are very concerned that violence my break out. What this guy is doing by displaying the flags is encouraging the Alt-right and the neo-Nazis to take to the streets and wreak havoc. We are just moments away from violence breaking out in the streets in cities around the world because this is what the alt right and Trump and the neo- Nazis want.. That's where the potential for violence comes in, not from his neighbors are from normal people, but from the people who support the hateful an extremist ideology that those flags represent. Take the flags down now. Stop inciting violence.
Most buildings have bylaws or house rules preventing you from hanging signs or flags in the windows. It's meant to prevent you from using your residence for commercial purposes, which would get the landlord fined.
My real fear about this is that apartment building will become a tourist attraction.
The tenant has a right to display his flags for it's in his own apartment and not only does he have the first amendment to rely on he also has the fourth to protect his right to privacy and home. if they were outside that will probably be against code.
If anything, and going by witnesses who claim he used to yell racial epithets from his window (but never seeing it or knowing where they were coming from, sounds like this guy just yelled shit and ducked inside like a petulant child) and his vast flag collection which included iron cross flags, now that he's hanging confederate flags at the absolute worst time, requests should be honored about the identity of this man for he is being a nuisance.
A real man with convictions would stand up for his beliefs and rights and confront his neighbors and the media.
It's also curious why the community board and the landlord would want to protect him. It just leads to more intrigue and will not go away. Really what's so special about this guy?
Slippery slope is right. There was a recent takedown of a confederacy statue by protesters in Deluth, N.C.. The video was not that appealing and the people there were obnoxious and looked stupid beating it up. It led to 3 people being arrested.
The Daily News has identified the guy by name. I will not share it here to give him any more fame or publicity, but a quick lookup shows he is in his mid 40s and has a Hunter College email address. I doubt Hunter College will be happy to see his name in the newspaper.
Boy, talk about intolerance and hate. Give it a rest. He's just a nutter wth a couple of flags. I don't if anyone will be swayed/influenced or feel some sort of kinship with him. There are more important issues that will make a difference to the lives of the EVers and America.
I'm more offended by the luxury condo building being put up right next door.
There are more important issues that will make a difference to the lives of the EVers and America.
Like widening economic disparity and stagnant wages
I agree, 1:32. I, too, am more offended by -- and have much more to lose from -- the appropriating condos invading the nabe.
Hey high-horse peeps..where was the rabid outrage the first day this nutjob displayed his flag? I guess you needed a few months and a little prodding via media frenzy to get really offended.
Whatever happened to people paying attention in the 8th grade? "Free Speech" is between you and the government. Even then there is nothing in the Constitution that says the rest of us have to sit quietly. Nice try though
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