3. Fake Mosaic Tiles Covering Up a Confederate Flag Design

Roy Lichtenstein mural in Times Square
The Times Square–42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal station.

If you are looking at a band of mosaic decorations running just below the ceiling in the Times Square–42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal station, you may notice something off about them. In certain spots around the station, the MTA has covered sections of the mosaics with specially designed vinyl stickers that almost seamlessly blend into the wall. They are covering up a design that multiple historians have concluded is purposely supposed to resemble the Confederate battle flag. The mosaics were designed in the early 20th century by Squire Vickers and were supposedly an homage to New York Times owner Adolph S. Ochs. Ochs was a known supporter of organizations like the Daughters of the Confederacy and was open about his admiration for the Confederacy and the Lost Cause.

After the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, calls for the designs to be taken down prompted the MTA to cover the mosaics even though they disputed the mosaics’ link to the Confederacy. Kevin Ortiz, an MTA spokesperson, said, “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,” back in 2017.