The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced Thursday it would be removing a tile pattern that passengers complained looked like a Confederate flag.
Times Square Station is adorned with red rectangles with blue lines running through the diagonals. Passengers have complained that the design was too reminiscent of the Confederate flag, with some even claiming that the 100-year-old design was an intentional nod to New York Times publisher and Southerner, Arthur Ochs.
The Times was skeptical of that claim in a 2015 factcheck. They quoted an MTA artistic director who noted that "the banding design was based on geometric forms with multicolored palettes, and the various designs are seen in stations that opened at this time."
The MTA, for its part, denies that any resemblance to the flag was intentional, and claims that the design was chosen as a homage to Times Square itself.
"These are not Confederate flags, it is a design based on geometric forms that represent the ‘Crossroads of the World,'" a spokesman told the local Fox affiliate, using the nickname for Times Square. "To avoid absolutely any confusion we will modify them to make that absolutely crystal clear."
The announcement was met with mixed reactions on Twitter, with some accusing MTA of oversensitivity.
this is getting ridiculous. I hope someone stops this from happening. https://t.co/qAIbQU3EfU
— Yashar Ali (@yashar) August 18, 2017
Yes that's the problem with the subways in NY. https://t.co/EzHEAbAPJ8
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) August 18, 2017
Oh for God's sake this is getting ridiculous. https://t.co/ocZynX91nF
— Jeff B/DDHQ (@EsotericCD) August 18, 2017