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Trump Flag in Neighbor's Yard Prompts Man to Post 'Ew' in His Window

By Erin DeGregorio | November 3, 2016 4:19pm
 Michael Byrnes posted a cardboard sign with the word "Ew" and arrow pointing to a Donald Trump flag flying outside the garage next to his apartment building.
Bay Ridge Makes SIgn Responding to Neighbor's Donald Trump Flag
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BROOKLYN — A Trump flag outside a neighbor's home so grossed out a Bay Ridge resident that he made his own sign to show his disgust.

Michael Byrnes placed a cardboard sign in his apartment window with the word "Ew" and an arrow pointing to the 3-foot-by-5-foot flag that flies outside a garage next door on Bay Ridge Parkway.

“The garage could be mistaken for mine since it’s right next to my house," Byrnes said.

"I didn’t want anyone seeing me come out of that house and think that was my garage and my flag.”

Byrnes, who is not affiliated with a political group and plans to vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein, has been living in Bay Ridge for the last three years after Superstorm Sandy displaced him from his Breezy Point home.

The 35-year-old U.S. Navy submarine veteran said he made the sign out of an old Amazon box after he came home from a month-long stay in Breezy Point and found the Trump flag waving on July 31. 

“I mainly put the sign up so I could sit comfortably at my couch — which is right by the front window — and know I had a counter up to the Trump flag,” Byrnes said.

The owner of the Trump flag is lifelong Bay Ridge resident Clifford Jacobs, 62, who owns the garage adjacent to Byrnes' apartment building and lives in a house across the street.

He said he has taken flak from his family, neighbors and passersby about the flag, but refuses to remove it.

“I can’t take it down because it would be giving in," Jacobs said. "It seems like a lot of people just want to shut you down ’til you agree with them, or they don’t want to hear or see other opinions.”

Jacobs said that disapproving looks didn't bother him, but the outrage over the flag heated up Oct. 8 when someone even left in his mailbox a piece of cardboard with the word "racist" written on it.

Nearly a week later, on Oct. 14, he received another piece of cardboard with the word "racist."

“It’s been getting a little more and more intense,” Jacobs said.

The notes prompted him to review hours of security footage from a surveillance camera outside his home. The footage showed two different men had left the pieces of cardboard at different times.

Jacobs said he believes “an organized group who is not happy with the Trump sign” left the notes. He plans to contact other Trump flag and sign bearers in the neighborhood and see if they have received notes as well.

Officer Michael Panepinto, the community affairs officer at the local 68th Precinct, and a representative from Republican state Sen. Martin J. Golden’s office said they have not received complaints from Trump supporters about people leaving anonymous notes.

Byrnes said he had nothing to do with the anonymous notes left in Jacobs' mailbox.

Jacobs, who is a lifelong Democrat, said Trump is the first presidential candidate he's publicly supported and the flag was the first time he posted signage at his home. The flag surprised his family members, but they admired his courage.

“I was very proud and also scared for my brother when he put up the flag in front of his house,” said Lorraine Nelson, Jacobs’ sister.

“I think there are a lot of hidden Trump supporters who are afraid to come out.”

Jacobs said he plans to keep his flag up until Election Day, but may be more circumspect about publicizing his political views again.

“In the future I won’t take sides publicly; I just need to be a little more careful,” he said.