Mapped tote bag mislabels church

October 13, 2008 3:24:48 PM PDT
A tote bag that displays a map of Williamsburg is at the center of a controversy in Brooklyn.The graphic designers who made the bag apparently thought it would be funny to mislabel a Russian Orthodox church as "The Mosque."

But the church isn't laughing.

The $25 canvas tote shows off the sites of Greenpoint and Williamsburg, but not everyone is clamoring to buy one. The domes of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Transfiguration are quite recognizable, and many are fuming at its misrepresentation.

"We celebrated our 100th anniversary three weeks ago," the church's rector, Reverend Wiaczeslaw Krawczuk, told the New York Post. "This is one of the oldest landmarks of Williamsburg."

And he worries that the bag may misinform someone looking to pray at a mosque.

The bag's designers were never looking to cause a stir.

The designers, 30-year-old Derick Holt and 33-year-old Milton Carter, told the newspaper they considered it "ironic hipster" humor to deliberately mislabel the church.

"That's just what everyone calls it, as in 'Let's meet at "The Mosque" side of the park,'" Carter told the Post. "If you were new to the neighborhood, you wouldn't know what (the church) was, but you'd know the domes."

But whether it was intended to be a harmless joke, many we spoke to do not approve.

"I don't think it's funny," resident Tanner Clapham said.

Reverend Krawczuk says he's not angry enough to call up the designers and demand the bag be pulled from local stores, but he is upset and wishes they weren't being sold.

"In my opinion, they shouldn't be selling this," he told the Post. "They should put it in the garbage."

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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