Mystery Of White Banners On Brooklyn Bridge Solved: The Germans Did It, But The Reason Is Weirdly Commendable

The Brooklyn Bridge was subjected to a daring act of vandalism on July 22. A bunch of unknown alleged miscreants had successfully replaced the American Red and White with white banners. However, within 20 days, New York’s finest have cracked the case and apparently a few Germans are responsible for the act that had the city’s citizens furious about the lapse in security.

Interestingly, Berlin-based artists Mischa Leinkauf and Matthias Wermke have come forth and confessed to their act of vandalism, which many believed could also be viewed as attempted terrorism. But the duo has said they never meant to embarrass the New York Police Department or pull something akin to an act of terrorism.

Instead, they wanted to celebrate the bridge and its engineer John Roebling, who was born in Germany and died in 1869 on July 22, reported the NY Daily News. The duo successfully managed to hoist the white flags onto the bridge in the dead of the night. Justifying the act, Leinkauf said:

“We saw the bridge, which was designed by a German, trained in Berlin, who came to America because it was the place to fulfill his dreams, as the most beautiful expression of a great public space. That beauty was what we were trying to capture.”

But as expected, their tribute to Roebling and the bridge set off a chain of responses from the NYPD, which significantly beefed up security at major bridges after the police department interpreted the flags as a serious security breach, reported MSN. Many New Yorkers felt that while it was just the flags, it could have been bombs too. Lapses in security could have cost the Big Apple dearly.

However, the pair expressed surprise that their daring late-night act to replace two huge American flags on two separate pillars was perceived as an act of vandalism. Explaining their intentions, the duo said:

“This was not an anti-American statement. From our Berlin background, we were a little surprised that it got the reaction it did. We really didn’t intend to embarrass the police”

The duo went on to elaborate that they had hand-sewn the flags using two kinds of white fabric to evoke the stars and stripes. To ensure the original flags were respected, the duo even folded the original American flags in the ceremonial method. As for the actual act, the German duo said they were inspired by artists like Gordon Matta-Clark, who climbed the Clocktower Building in Lower Manhattan in 1975.

Interestingly Leinkauf’s post-event retrospection is ironically summed-up:

“Few people would care if we did the same thing in Berlin. Of course, we did not have the same problems with terrorism.”

[Image Credit | NY Daily News]