Anyone keeping a list of “Seemingly Harmless Things Ruined by Donald Trump, His Supporters, and His Detractors” can pencil in “banners that sports fans hang from their apartments”—at least in one building across the street from Nationals Park.
Since the 11-story Camden South Capitol building opened in 2013, some residents of the units facing South Capitol Street—directly across from Nationals Park—have hung flags and pennants supporting DC’s baseball team. The decorations are visible inside the stadium from the left-field line, especially when going up the ramp or escalator to the mezzanine level. But Camden South Capitol’s baseball-loving tenants have been instructed to take down their curly W’s and other signage by the end of the month or be fined, according to an email from building management.
— nicole gabrielle (@nicolegabrielle) April 15, 2017
Can confirm that the "nope" flag is really outside Nationals Park. Also shout out to the Astros flag. pic.twitter.com/GGGV6fCRI4
— Gabe (@thelatinochild) April 15, 2017
“While we love our residents creativity and unique decorating, the time has come for us to remind all residents it is a lease violation if you…hang anything off of your balcony—yes this even include banners/flags supporting our beloved Washington Nationals,” reads the email from building manager Shaun Lambert.
The likely inspiration for this sudden order, according to one resident, was a rush of political banners in the past few months, starting with a “Trump: Make America Great Again” flag that appeared shortly after last November’s election. Before that, the only political signs hanging off the building were Black Lives Matter and rainbow LGBT pride flags that were mounted in October on the balcony of the unit three floors below the Trump supporter.
But people in the building say it was the “Make America Great Again” flag that set off a sign war. An apartment one floor above the Trump-friendly apartment hung a flag proclaiming “Resist.” The newest addition, which went up shortly before the start of baseball season, positions the word “Nope” accompanied by an upward arrow directly beneath the Trump sign. And now, what was once a gallery of local sports fandom is just another political shouting match.
Officially, Lambert’s email is a reminder of many balcony activities prohibited by the building’s rental agreements. His note also warns tenants against installing grills or household furniture, leaving unattended pets, and smoking on balconies. But the resident who forwarded the note to Washingtonian says the crackdown only happened after the banner war broke out.
“The takeaway is that the flags caused it,” he says.
Tenants of Camden South Capitol who object to the redecoration order on First Amendment grounds are unlikely to prevail, according to Joel Cohn, the legislative director for DC’s Office of the Tenant Advocate.
“Generally, the balcony rule doesn’t sound that out of the ordinary,” he says.
Correction: A previous version of this article reported the Trump flag was the first political banner to go up. The Black Lives Matter and LGBT pride flags were mounted in October.