Just in time for Hanukkah, U-Turn reader Frank DeFazio posted the following entry on his Facebook page yesterday:
"Remember the Walgreens Swastika Hanukkah wrapping paper from last week that made headlines and was eventually pulled from shelves? Looks like our very own Macy's in Center City has a problem they might want to address."
The incident DeFazio is referring to occurred last week when a customer complained about a blue and silver gift wrap featured in a Hanukkah display in the window of a Walgreen's store located in Northridge, California. The customer claimed that the disputed wrap, manufactured by Hallmark Cards Inc., contained a swastika embedded in its design.
The swastika, which is a symbol of peace for millions of Hindus, Buddhists and Jainists, has carried a heavy stigma since the 1930s due to its association with the flag of Nazi Germany, the Nazi Party and white supremacy. As a consequence, many non-religious buildings in the Western world that have contained the symbol as decoration have had it removed.
Elina Kazan, the Vice President, Media Relations & Cause Marketing for Macy's, emailed me back an official response: "We very much appreciate that you contacted us to get clarification on the design motif above our Center City store. The store, designed by renowned architect Daniel Burnham in 1910, was designed in a neo-renaissance style drawing inspiration from a Florentine Palazzo. The motif that is referenced by your reader is a Greek Key design which is a standard design motif used in architecture, interior design and graphical art. We hope that we have addressed your reader's concerns on the matter."
Kazan also included this link to a Daily News article from 1987 that references the design.