A pair of German artists, Mischa Leinkauf and Matthias Wermke claim that they are the masterminds behind the placement of bleached-white American flags atop the two towers of the Brooklyn Bridge. They say they did it to honor the German designer of the Brooklyn Bridge, John Roebling, who died on July 22, 1869, the same day as the incident.
“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” Mr. Leinkauf, 37, said. “That beauty was what we were trying to capture.”
They say they did not expect such a negative reaction from city officials, who feel that the incident not only embarrassed the police department but also seemed to be making fun of an American, and especially a New York City, icon.
The police say they are still investigating the incident, as at least one other person has taken responsibility. Reverend Bud Green, a marijuana advocate, also claims that he perpetrated the stunt.
The pair say that they always planned to come forward about their actions, and to return the two flags they replaced with their hand-sewn, white ones. They say that when they removed the flags they did it with the utmost respect, folding them carefully in using the United States flag code.
The Germans insist that they took precautions to insure their safety climbing up the towers, and that they meant no harm by their actions.
“From our Berlin background, we were a little surprised that it got the reaction it did” Leinkauf said. “We really didn’t intend to embarrass the police.”