MTA will ‘modify’ Times Square subway mosaics that resemble the Confederate flag

Posted On Fri, August 18, 2017 By

Posted On Fri, August 18, 2017 By In Midtown, Policy, Transportation

Image via Wiki Commons

The day after Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo announced plans to review and remove controversial public Confederate structures and markers throughout the city, the MTA says it will do the same. Well, sort of. Over 90 years ago, station architect Squire J. Vickers installed mosaics resembling the Confederate flag at the 40th Street entrance for the 1, 2, 3 trains to honor early New York Times owner and publisher Adolph S. Ochs, who had “strong ties to the Confederacy” and was buried with a Confederate flag when he died in 1935. But yesterday, MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz told Gothamist, “These are not confederate flags, it is a design based on geometric forms that represent the ‘Crossroads of the World’ and to avoid absolutely any confusion we will modify them to make that absolutely crystal clear.”

Times Square subway, NYC subway Photo via Norris Wong/Flickr

Civil War historian Dr. David Jackowe told the Post in 2015 that Tennessee-raised Ochs “would run editorials and pictorial editions devoted to Dixie.” It’s said that his mother, Bertha Levi Ochs, “was a charter member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and helped smuggle spies and quinine during the war.”

Though the MTA hasn’t been clear on what it means by “modify,” Mayor de Blasio announced Wednesday a 90-day review of “all symbols of hate on city property.” Similarly, Governor Cuomo has asked the U.S. Army to reconsider its decision to keep the street names that honor Confederate leaders Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson at Brooklyn’s Fort Hamilton. He also said the busts of Lee and Jackson will be removed from CUNY’s Hall of Fame for Great Americans in the Bronx. On Tuesday, officials announced that two plaques in Fort Hamilton honoring Robert E. Lee–tacked to a maple tree outside St. John’s Episcopal Church–would be taken down.

[Via Gothamist]

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