3.13.2012

AND THREE DOLLAR SODAS

photos via rebecca baust

the other day henry and i were out running errands. it was sunny with a cold breeze and mostly quiet in the neighborhood. i pulled my sleeves over my cold fingers and looked very carefully at all the people walking down the street beside me. some of them were old, some were young, most were wearing big black coats. there were a smattering of dancers. all going this way and that way, not really noticing each other, all getting from point a to point b.

the more i looked the more we all started to resemble pigeons.

bear with me please.

i figure we're all just a bunch of pigeons. dwelling in our roosts in the sky, descending to the streets in search of whatever it is we come here to do, bobbing along at crosswalks and eating street cart pretzels and going about our way. doing things that are terribly crucial and yet wholly unimportant in the grand scheme of things...

pigeons are easily my favorite thing to think about these days. in fact, there was a time a few years ago where i was dead set on writing a children's book about a family of pigeons that lived under the brooklyn bridge. they had thick brooklyn accents. mob pigeons, maybe. i think pizza played some crucial part in it somewhere, but now i can't remember.


and now, some pigeon-related thoughts. 
completely disorganized, without a clear thesis statement:
first. pigeons are FILTHY.
sometimes they're missing an eye. sometimes a leg. usually one of their wings is sort of sticking out all wonky. they have battle scars. sometimes i get the feeling that if i were to ask what happened, they'd tell me a grand, brave tale. (probably it's usually a shoe or a taxi) (what it if was a carriage horse! do you think they could be warring factions of the city's animal kingdom?!?)
when they walk their heads bob just so.
i have, on more than a dozen occasions, waited at a crosswalk with a pigeon. when the light changed it looked both ways, hopped gently down to the street, and made its way bobbing across to the other side.  what i want to know: WHY?
know where you never see a pigeon? in a tree. know where you always see a pigeon? on the tops of air conditioning units. 
coming across pigeon road kill while crossing the street is terribly humbling. 
people bring stale bread to feed the pigeons in the parks all the time, and then they sort of hang out on park benches with their pigeon suit on. i would not be wholly surprised to find that those pigeons bring food to the people too, from time to time.
a lot of the times when i see a pigeon i feel like i want to run to catch up to it, and then punt it swiftly in the bum. does this make me a psychopath?
does the pigeon have a natural enemy in the city? who do they fear? nobody? who eats pigeons? homeless people?
pigeons are related to doves. in fact, pigeons ARE doves. and yet, doves are NOT pigeons. discuss for three paragraphs. (i just mean, this could be the start of a good essay, if you wanted to.)
about three times a day i'm reminded of that scene in 30 rock when tracy jordan says "stop eating people's old french fries, pigeon! have some self respect! don't you know you can fly?" 

anyway. 
pigeons. right?

thanks for the shots, rebecca!
(in this one i believe i am saying, "huck! do you see the puppies?")

56 comments :

  1. I love pigeons. And I LOVE this post. Day: made.

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  2. Ha! This made me laugh.

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  3. French people eat pigeons. I love the part about the crosswalk. So funny!!

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  4. Made me LOL! I have a love hate with pigeons! I love to feed them but despise when they rip open my garbage! I can't believe that I haven't read your blog before today; where have I been! And I LOVE your red jeans. You have inspired me to try coloured jeans; I hope I look half as cute as you:)

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  5. love the jeans - and pigeons? i guess when you put it this way...

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  6. mob pigeons. animaniacs. classic.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ee2EzWdO-oo

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  7. My favorite mental image from this post? Warring pigeon factions. Why do I feel like there is a Roald Dahl inspired story waiting to be written about that?

    Awesome.

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  8. I need your mafia pigeon family children's book. There's nothing like it out there so get on it man. And please name someone in the book Amy even if it a minor character. Also I am convinced after Disney balboa red hen and pigeon posts that one must be a size 2 or less to wear colored/printed denim and look cute. I would look line a tomato/lemon/fat leopard. I'm sticking with dark denim.

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  9. best post ever. please write the book already!

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  10. You crack me up, this was a cute little vignette :) and where in the world are those pigeons going??? Maybe a pigeon convention...

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  11. I think you should start a pigeon series on instagram. Just saying.

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  12. haha love this post.
    pigeons? interesting. i should give it more thought while i'm back in san francisco!
    xx jes

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  13. HAHAHA! This made my morning. I can now carry on with the rest of my mom chores. Thanks for the giggle. :)

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  14. I will forever be a devoted loyal reader solely because you put that line from thirty rock in this post. HILARIOUS!!!

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  15. Oddly... I swear I started hearing pigeon sounds cooing away in my head as soon as I read your comparison. While we don't have many pigeons in Alaska, or live in high rises (generally), I used to take lots of pictures of them when I lived in Puerto Rico. I love how they rise and flock together

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  16. natalie. you know we don't walk around eating street cart pretzels like pigeons because street cart pretzels in nyc are always a disappointment. come on, now.

    i love that tracy jordan line.

    you're not a psychopath for wanting to kick them in the bum. i get the same feeling, too. you are a psychopath if you actually do it. a fine, but definite, line.

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  17. Apparently, in SLC, the natural enemy of pigeons are the owners of an unnamed Chinese restaurant. My friend was a Health Inspector back in the day and she said that there was a Chinese restaurant in SLC that she had to fail because they were catching pigeons, killing them in the kitchen and cooking for chicken dishes. Yuckety, yuck, yuck.

    P.S. She hasn't eaten at a Chinese restaurant in 2 years.

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  18. 1. no one can pull off colored denim quite like you.
    2. i wanna smack a couple pigeons who may or may not be mating underneath my AC unit right now.
    3. however, you have given me a bit of respect for le pigeon.

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  19. red on red! you are a bright pigeon at least!

    gandacummings.blogspot.com

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  20. Hahah, I loved everything about this! Pigeons are sort of football shaped, so I totally get the urge to kick them too. Though that's not entirely fair because, during my time in Boston, I learned the hard way that pigeons are far nicer than city ducks.

    Also, I'm adoring the red ensemble! And the outfit details! :)

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  21. "who eats pigeons? homeless people?"

    Love!

    I went to college at Barnard and there was a guy who everyone called "the squirrel man" and he wandered around Columbia interacting with the squirrels.

    Do you want us to call you "the pigeon lady?"

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  22. I do not like pigeons--in London they are too brave and come and peck at your feet and would eat the sandwich right out your hand if given the chance.

    And their scars and ailments freak me out majorly--I saw one once with just one foot, weird!

    And I don't understand why they don't fly more too--if could fly I would be swooping everywhere.

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  23. You can always count on Tracy Jordan to tell it how it is.

    I wonder who the kingpin pigeon of NYC is. You should do a research project on it.

    ♥Abbey
    Along Abbey Road

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  24. I love pigeons, I do! In your pigeon wondering, have you ever wondered why you never see baby pigeons?! Major mystery of science.

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  25. This is perfection. Living in NYC I have plenty of pigeon stories (the best of which includes a homeless man walking up to my sister and I with a dead pigeon in his hands and asking, very serious like, "Do you know what killed this pigeon? STARVATION. Starvation.") Also, a pigeon took the time to poop on me yesterday and I am considering this very good luck because I could do with some right now and who am I to turn it down? Also, that Tracy Jordan line is one of the things I have laughed hardest at in my 23 years of life. Oh man, it's up there.

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  26. How do you do it? How do you take such a simple subject and make it sound so... you make me wish I'd written this myself.

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  27. I really hate pigeons...I fear I may have a minor bird phobia...and yet I loved this post! It's true, you never see a pigeon in a tree! They prefer to hang out with us mere un-winged mortals I suppose. Very interesting to think about indeed.

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  28. Whenever I think of NYC pigeons, I see them cleaning apartments. Blame Enchanted.

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  29. how very insightful. i'll never look at a pigeon the same way again :)

    p.s. isn't it funny how excited we get to point out puppies and other animals to our children?! love that look on your face.

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  30. My favorite part was when you quoted Tracy Jordan, because he's a jedi. And also the rest of it was my favorite part too.

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  31. you are so funny! never read a post about pigeons! i remember seeing a peg leg pigeon in New York once-he was tough ;)

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  32. I once made a Facebook group called "Kick a Pigeon" ... it lasted about a year and then I received a warning and the powers that be took it down because it was "hateful, threatening, or obscene."

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  33. Two pigeon stories...

    When I studied in London I was walking through Trafalgar Square once and came upon a rather large flock of pigeons (actual pigeons, not the little known first draft of the popular 80s band). There was a little girl, maybe 2, running around being cute when she decided to walk up to the flock, pick one up and proceed to present it to her mother. Who then proceeded to smack the pigeon out of her daughter's hands.

    Then in Paris one weekend not long after that first incident, it was my friend's birthday and... You guessed it. A homeless French man kicked a dead pigeon directly into my friend's shins.

    Awesome.

    (And you're not alone... I want to kick pigeons all the time)

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  34. you are hilarious, girl! and i love that quote from 30 Rock. great post!!!
    xo TJ

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  35. Hilarious! The one legged pigeons always make me sad.
    Hey what stroller is that? I need a decent umbrella stroller that isn't also a piece of junk. Ours was $40 at Kmart and you get what you pay for apparently, cuz it's juuuunk and we need something small but not junk.

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    Replies
    1. ours is a maclaren volo that a friend was no longer using and i LOVE it. looooove it. two thumbs up!

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  36. oh my heck, but i'm afraid of the pigeons! i didn't actually know that until approximately 37 pigeons seemed to attack me all at once while i was walking around buckingham palace. (that may be a gross exaggeration, but it felt true at the time! one of them even dive-bombed at me! and i'd never actually seen one fly before that point in my life!) the pigeons in scotland were much more relaxed. the ones i came across in nyc last summer were more spazzy than calm, but nothing like those i met in london...

    anyway...i've had some harrowing experiences with pigeons, and i think the thought of kicking them, soccer-style, in the bum is a funny and wonderful thought, indeed! however...i'm too afraid to even approach them, so...

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  37. haha girl you are so right! this is a fantastic post. your thoughts on pigeons killed me a little bit. so hilarious and so true.

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  38. Have you read Don't let the Pigeon Drive the Bus & Pigeon finds a Hot Dog - both very good pigeon books that may answer your pigeon questions!

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  40. This post had me rolling on the floor in laughter! Your random thoughts make me so happy, because I often have these types of convos in my head (is that weird? I'm not sure, but it happens!) So when I read these, I just love it!! Keep it coming!

    tippeecanoe.com

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  41. I love the pigeons! I love when they walk with me on the sidewalk, fight over chewed up gum, and I especially love the black and white ones that look like cows! When I see them on the train platform I'm so overcome with joy that I call PIGEONS! in a lucifer-like voice that scares bussiness-people. Seriously. Pigeons are awesome. Also, the urge to "pigeon punt", overwhelming.

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  42. Um, I love how that lady is looking at you in the first picture. hahaha it kind of made me laugh. And that 30 rock quote is funny but deep! Now it's probably going to get stuck in my head too.

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  43. i hate all things feathered. pigeons included. rats with wings.

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  44. I SAW A PIGEON IN A TREE ONCE.
    I took a picture because I, like you, believe it is the last place you will find a pigeon. but I saw it. it was weird, perhaps he was lost or trying to befriend a normal, tree-dwelling bird.

    bedroomocean.blogspot.com

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  45. Aw! E 86th! I get off on that stop on Lexington and work on 1st and 91st! I love seeing pictures of places I know! Cool Cool!

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  46. I love your outfit!

    Oddly enough I wore something very similar...
    ourdearestfamily.blogspot.com/2012/02/lady-in-red.html?m=1 here I thought I was..so creative. It's always good to remember that I am just in fact a person.

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  47. we'd be besties if i could get my husband to be serious about moving to nyc. we would be! i love this post. we could hang at church and i'd be jelly of your baby daily. that's all.

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  48. Thank you for your recommendation.I want to tell you True Religion Outlet store is also a good choice.

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  49. This is when I first decided to read your blog. It's my personal favorite. You are hilarious. I am now an avid follower and love reading your posts...and your style!

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  50. Senior year of highschool, I was in Rome and I saw a pigeon get run over by a Vespa. It made an awesome popping sound. One of my animal-loving classmates cried because we were all laughing at the sound.

    Yea, we're terrible.

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