Yesterday morning, New Yorkers noticed that white flags had mysteriously replaced regular American flags on the top of the Brooklyn Bridge. A continuing media frenzy ensued, with every publication taking a slightly different angle on the story, and the lack thereof.
Initially, the Wall Street Journal wondered if it was “an art project, a political statement or just tomfoolery,” while the police remained stumped, still reviewing the security footage. John Miller, the NYPD’s anti-terrorism chief, observed extensive “pre-operational planning” but no “particular nexus” to politics or terrorism — just “trespassing.” Unsurprisingly, the Daily News dove to brand this as a “terror scare” anyway.
No actual suspects have so far been named. Yesterday, the Daily News and the AP quoted a joke tweet from the Bicycle Lobby claiming responsibility for the theft, but the line from the articles has since been removed. This morning, the Gothamist decided to place suspicion on the person who originally put a photo of the flags up on Instagram, as well as another Instagram user who used an image of some other white flag. Both users refuted the accusations.
(GIF: ABC News)
According to USA Today, “at 3:30 a.m., lights atop the Brooklyn tower went out, followed 12 minutes later by lighting on its Manhattan twin. Police said the group used rectangular aluminum cooking pans fastened with zip ties to cover the lights.”
NBC specified that they were American flags that “had been bleached white.” The New York Times speculated upon this point, writing that “the white flag of surrender seemed the obvious allusion, until it emerged that the flags were actually bleached Old Glories, raising confused questions of patriotism and politics.”