Last week, American Legion Sixth Memorial Post No. 1833 received a notice of encroachment/order on a bench that was painted with the American flag, according to the New York Post. The New York City Department of Transportation stated that they received a complaint about the bench so the American Legion would have to remove it. One complaint. One. Then after the firestorm, the DOT rescinded the order, calling it erroneous.
Some in the Post article blamed Mayor De Blasio for the complaint, since his former home is not far from the bench. And they definitely felt “singled out” because the bench was painted like an American flag.
The bench was put up in April. It was meant to be a conversation piece. It got way more than that.
“There are other businesses on Fifth Avenue that have a bench on the sidewalk. I don’t see anyone bothering them. I think it’s because of the flag.” Salvador Oliva, Sergeant-at-arms for the American Legion Post.
“It’s an American flag. We live in America. We want to know why they want us to take it down. We don’t get it.” Mariana Guzman, American Legion Post Event Organizer
“The man who painted and built the bench — a commander of the Sons of the American Legion at the post, who only identified himself to Fox News as “Joe” — said the DOT issued the post a notice on Monday to remove the bench within 30 days.
He added the city would fine them and charge them to have it removed, in addition to putting a lien on the property of the non-profit.”
The American Legion had planned to fight the City on their order, and were not removing the bench. Suddenly, a DOT spokesperson from the city said the removal order was done in “error” because the bench was entirely in the tree pit and not encroaching on the sidewalk. No kidding.
They wouldn’t say who the complainant was in the first place. But whether it was someone who was “offended” by the flag, or someone who just wanted to cause trouble, at least the New York City DOT woke up in time.
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