NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Transit officials have decided to alter subway tiles at a Manhattan station that have a cross-like design similar to that of the Confederate flag.
The tiles feature a blue cross with white border over a red background, but there are no stars on the tiles and the cross matches up with other parts of the wall’s design, 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern reported.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority Kevin Ortiz said Friday the agency is modifying the tiles at the 40th Street entrance to the Times Square subway stop to make it “crystal clear” that they don’t depict the flag. He said the design installed decades ago was meant to reflect Times Square’s status as the “Crossroads of the World.”
“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,” Ortiz’s full statement read.
The decision comes in the wake of the deadly rally over a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, which has caused communities across the nation to remove Confederate memorials and symbols.
Stern went to the station to ask straphangers what they think of the design.
“It looks like it has a resemblance of a Confederate flag,” said one man.
“It just looks like an ‘X,'” another man said.
“I think for peace sake maybe they should change it,” one woman said.
“To me, it’s not offensive,” another woman said.
The MTA didn’t say how the tiles would be changed or when the work would begin.
On Wednesday, two plaques honoring Lee were removed from a maple tree outside St. John’s Episcopal Church in Brooklyn.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is also asking the Army to have Confederate names removed from the streets of Fort Hamilton.
Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city will conduct a 90-day review of “all symbols of hate” on city property in wake of last weekend’s events in Charlottesville, Virginia. The mayor has already ordered the removal of a granite marker honoring Henri Philippe Pétain on the Canyon of Heroes on Morris and Broadway in Manhattan. Pétain was found guilty of treason in France after he helped the Nazis lead thousands of the Jewish faith to their deaths.
Meanwhile at Bronx Community College, the college president said the school will be removing and replacing the busts of Lee and Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson after requests from community members.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)