NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A pair of Confederate flags hanging in the windows of a residential building are raising tensions in the East Village.
Neighbors said the two Confederate flags, that hang next to Israeli and American flags, have been in the sixth floor windows of 403 East 8th Street for more than a year, but many are angered by the sight following the events in Charlottesville over the weekend.
Angry neighbors gathered outside of the building Wednesday night. One person was seen on video hurling something at the windows.
An East Village resident, named Darren, noticed the flags the other night and said he was disgusted.
“I moved away from Nebraska to get away from that stuff, I hate it. I hate that it’s happening in New York. This is not a place to raise your racist flag,” he told 1010 WINS’ Samantha Liebman. “I don’t want it on my block.”
“I was sick about it and it made me really shocked that that was going on in this neighborhood because there are so many minorities,” another resident, named Lacey, said.
Ernest Johnson, who lives across the street, said he noticed the flags a month ago but after events in Charlottesville this weekend he thinks they have to go.
“I don’t think that’s proper for him to have that up because due to the situation that we’re going through now, it’s not proper,” Johnson said.
“It’s offensive, especially with the ethnic makeup in this neighborhood.” a woman told WCBS 880’s John Metaxas. “So it’s kind of shocking.”
Others cite the First Amendment and said the tenant is entitled to express his views.
“I think it’s terrible, I think it’s the wrong neighborhood, but Freedom of Speech and whatnot,” said Robert, a lifelong resident. “To each his own, I mean I’m nonviolent, I have my life to live so I’m not trying to intrude on anybody’s Freedom of Speech.”
“As much as we’re protected by free speech, some people’s opinions are going to prevail, and we just kind of have to learn to be tolerant of each other,” a woman added.
Another lifelong resident, named David, said he knows the tenant and that he’s not a racist.
“He’s got something mental with him — medical problems, it’s not racial, there’s something wrong with him,” David said.
Two NYPD patrol cars now sit on the corner of East 8th Street and Avenue D just in case anybody decides to take action against the tenant on their own.