The Pigeon Man. You See...THIS Is Why I LOVE New York!


As a Christmas present to myself in December, I decided that the next time I used some of my PTO at work, I would treat myself to TWO days in New York City and book a hotel room. And that's exactly what I did earlier this week. It was so nice to not have to do a quick day-trip, but instead, take two days to just relax and chill. However, I never actually relax or chill while I'm in New York because I'm usually running all over the place so that I can see as many things as I can. Yet, having the luxury of two days, felt more relaxing. To simply have the ability to go back to a hotel room, refresh myself, and then go out again, was such a treat.

Over the next two weeks I will be sharing photographs and stories about my recent trip. But for now, I would like to share a very special experience I had on my second day.

Thursday, I made plans to meet up with a fellow coworker who recently moved to Brooklyn. She and I both feel the same about New York...we LOVE it. So we eagerly decided to spend the whole day together walking around the city and savoring each and every second. But before I met up with her that morning, I grabbed myself a fabulous Americano coffee from Eataly/Flatiron, and then walked over to Union Square Park and sat on a bench, and did one of my favorite things to do in New York - people watch.

The story I'm about to share is one of those times in your life when you say to yourself as it's happening, "This is a simple, but special moment. So cherish it. Take it all in. Notice everything. And then be thankful because you're going to always remember this."

This was also one of those times in my life when I got another validation of how genuinely nice and sincere native New Yorker's are. New Yorker's are so often depicted as rude, unaware, and self-centered. But honestly, they're not. They are some of the most down-to-earth and kindhearted people I've encountered. Yes, New Yorker's don't always have a smile plastered on their face, that's absolutely true. However, native New Yorker's wear their smile on their heart. Inside.

As I was sipping my Americano, I noticed a gentleman who was feeding the pigeons in the park. And what I loved about this man was that he was thoroughly involved in the moment - almost as if he was performing a daily and sacred vocation. And he did it with such a beautiful combination of organization and devotion, yet, a casual ease.

Here are several images I was able to capture with my camera that morning.

I give you...the Pigeon Man.


The little yellow container you see him holding was filled with bird seed, which the pigeons took directly out of his hand.





In the photograph below, please note the little squirrel sitting on the bench eating a peanut. What I didn't initially realize was that the gentleman was feeding the squirrels as well.


Suddenly, furry little squirrels began to appear. I watched as he reached inside a canvas bag (where he stored the peanuts) and hand-fed them...


At that point, I took out a Cliff Bar from my backpack and decided to join him in feeding the squirrels. However, the little buggers didn't want anything to do with it. They quickly sniffed the pieces I tossed on the ground and look up at me as if to say, "Hey buddy, I'm not interested in your friggin' Cliff Bar...I want PEANUTS like that other dude over there is handing out!"

And then the sweetest thing happened. The gentleman, who could see that I was having no luck with my Cliff Bar, walked over to me with a handful of peanuts and said, "Here you go...feed them these. Just hold one between your fingers and they'll take it directly out of your hand."

I smiled at him and said, "That is so thoughtful of you. Thank you. I will!"

So I did as he instructed. I took one of the peanuts, held it between my fingers and alas...the squirrel gently accepted it right out of my hand and then winked at me as if to say, "Thank you...much better!"

The gentleman said, "See...there you go. They have a passion for whole peanuts."


He and I chatted briefly about squirrels and how much we loved them. He also told me of another park in the city that has squirrels with black fur and how beautiful they are.

I thank him again for sharing his peanuts with me and told him how much appreciated it.

He waved, and said, "You're welcome. See ya' later."

I said, "See ya' later. Have a great day."

As I stood up and walked out of the park, I thought to myself..."You see, THIS is why I love New York."

And I could feel my heart smiling 😊


Have a faaaabulous weekend everyone!
X

31 comments

  1. Valerie DaggattFebruary 16, 2019

    Reading this took me back, Ron, but loved reading about the squirrels and birds even more. Just the other day I read a piece in the newspaper that a woman had been warned NOT to feed the birds in on of our parks. I can't think why! Our council or whatever should take a leaf out of a New York book.

    Great pictures, my friend. Have a great weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Awwww.....what a sweet story! I bet you were so tickled to feed those squirrels, knowing how much you adore them. I wonder if that man goes to that park every day?

    Looking forward to more photos and stories! Happy Weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ron, you express yourself so well. What a wonderful story! Great pics too! I love how you captured the pigeons in flight and the blur of their wings. I've heard of Eataly from friends who have visited New York. They said the food was incredible.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ron, you express yourself so well. What a wonderful story! Great pics too! I love how you captured the pigeons in flight and the blur of their wings. I've heard of Eataly from friends who have visited New York. They said the food was incredible. I bet that Americano was delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ron I completely forgot to mention in my first comment how much I love your first photograph I LOVE NEW YORK. So creative!

    ReplyDelete
  6. "Just the other day I read a piece in the newspaper that a woman had been warned NOT to feed the birds in on of our parks. I can't think why!"

    WOW, that's incredible, Valerie! I can't think why either. Occasionally, while feeding the squirrels and birds in our parks here in Philly, I will have someone (a busybody) come up to me and say that I shouldn't feed them because the carry disease. One time I actually told someone to mind their own business and shut up. HA! However, we've never had our city council or mayor make it a rule or regulation. In fact, I don't think anywhere in the States they have that rule; especially in a city like New York because in that city, they consider birds and squirrels part of the population - HA!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Hope you're having a fantastic weekend!
    X

    ReplyDelete
  7. OMG, you bet I was! And New York City squirrels are even more aggressive than the ones we have here in Philly. They were literally climbing up my pant legs and walking along my shoulders, I kid you not. But I didn't care because I LOVE SQUIRRELS!!!

    "I wonder if that man goes to that park every day?"

    Yes, I think so because of the way (the ritual of carrying the bird and squirrel food in designated bags) that he most likely did this every day.

    He was such a sweet man.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Hope you're having a spectacular Sunday!
    X

    P.S. I've got more stories and pics that I will be sharing over the next two weeks. I did SO MUCH while I was there!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you, Candice :) I took that photograph right after I came out of a photography exhibit in a gallery on upper East Side. Once I got home and uploaded it, I then edited the text.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hey there, Candice!

    Thanks :) I took SO MANY photographs of him. And I took them so fast, that I didn't know if they would even come out. I also manually focused those shots because I needed to use the ZOOM lens.

    Eataly is freaking FABULOUS! I've only eaten the pastries and had their coffees. One day I would like to try their pizza and wine bar because it looks delicious. However, anytime I go it's so damn busy that you can't get a table.

    Their Americano's are so good. Very strong, but smooth.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Enjoy your Sunday!
    X

    ReplyDelete
  10. What a cool story, Ron! I'm so glad you got to spend two, uninterrupted days in NYC so you can share your findings with us!
    LOVE the Pigeon Man! I've never had a bird take food right from my hand, but I imagine it to be a wonderful experience. We used to have an editor at the local paper who always reminded readers during the winter months to feed the critters. And my neighbor daily puts out bread, peanuts, corn, seed, and such for them. I love to watch them scarf it all up from my window!
    You've got some great shots here -- well done. Can hardly wait to read "the rest of the story"! xo

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you, Debbie :) And meeeeeee too..I was soooooo happy to have two full, uninterrupted days in the city. And I got a GREAT deal on a hotel room so it wasn't like I had fork out a ton of money because hotels in NY are incredibly expensive. I was lucky that I book it during the "off season" when not too many people travel to NY sightsee because of the colder winter weather.

    Isn't the pigeon man adorable? The birds (and squirrels) in NY are so used to people that they come right up to you and ask for food - HA!

    "And my neighbor daily puts out bread, peanuts, corn, seed, and such for them. I love to watch them scarf it all up from my window!"

    OMG, that is so sweet! And you're right, during the winter months it's important to help feed the outside critters.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. I will posting more pics and stories within the next two weeks. I took so many pictures that it's going to take me a while to sort through them.

    Hope you had a fantastic weekend!
    X

    ReplyDelete
  12. that's rich, man. hotel in NY! awesome. it's also very cool. great story with the pigeon man. i know how much you love squirrels. look forward to seeing more pics. i was in new york this past week at the westminister dog show. loved it!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Great story, Ron and, as always, fantastic photos! You really capture the heart of New York. Just don't let the squirrels grab your nuts!

    But, dude, you were in town for two whole days and you didn't tell me?!? I'm sure you were busy, but let's really try and meet up soon in either the Apple or Philly.

    Meanwhile, take care, buddy, and I'm looking forward to the rest of your photos.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hey there Val!

    HA! I know, I felt so extravagant because that's something I've never done before. But I got a GREAT deal on a hotel because of it being "off season" in NY.

    It's funny because the friend I was supposed to met texted me that morning and said that she would be late because she had to wait for her landlord to bring something over to her apartment. So, I decided to walk down to SoHo and take my time, get a coffee, and sit in the park and just people watch. And had that not happened, I would have never seen the pigeon man. What a cool experience!

    "i was in new york this past week at the westminister dog show. loved it!"

    OMG...that is soooooooooo AWESOME! I had no idea they held that dog show in Manhattan. Isn't New York faaaaaaaaaaabulous?

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a grrrrrreat week!

    X

    ReplyDelete
  15. "Just don't let the squirrels grab your nuts!"

    Bwhahahahhahaaha! Rob, that cracked me the hell up. Brilliant!!!

    And it's funny you mentioned that because after I fed the peanuts to that squirrel, all the other ones who were nearby came charging over to me, literally climbing up my pant leg and over my lab trying to get more peanuts. One of them even walked along my shoulders.

    Yes, will do. I promise that the next time I'm in either in NY or you're in Philly, we'll get together. I only planned to meet up with my friend last minute (on Thursday). On the first day I was there, I went to a photography exhibit, and then ran all over the city to capture specific areas with my camera. To be honest, I was really in the mood to be alone and visit certain areas and sites that I've been anxious to see and photograph.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, buddy. Have a fantastic week!

    X

    ReplyDelete
  16. What a great post, Ron! You've really captured the essence of New Yorkers, I suspect. I have fed squirrels by hand before and it's a very gratifying thing to do. They just look so happy getting a handout! They're like little furry welfare recipients, ha.

    Great idea spending the night in NYC. I bet you probably could have used a second night in order to really do it justice!

    ReplyDelete
  17. "I have fed squirrels by hand before and it's a very gratifying thing to do. They just look so happy getting a handout! They're like little furry welfare recipients, ha."

    Yes, Mark, isn't that such a WONDERFUL experience? And the squirrels in NY are not the least bit shy because they'll walk up to you and ask you for food - HA! They literally climb on you and walk all over you, I kid you not.

    I was actually thinking of spending a second night in NY but decided to make it one because I wanted enough time to come back home and have two days to upload and edit all my photographs before I went back to work. I took six days off and it FLEW by so fast.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a fantastic week!

    X to you and Tara

    ReplyDelete
  18. http://ladyfi.wordpress.comFebruary 19, 2019

    What a heart-warming post and I loved your photos! Can't wait to see more.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Ron, these captures are wonderful! Whenever you speak of New York you make me miss it. "Yes, New Yorker's don't always have a smile plastered on their face, that's absolutely true. However, native New Yorker's wear their smile on their heart. Inside." LOVED that! You're right, we don't always wear a smile on our face but we're sincere and genuine.

    I'm so glad you had the opportunity to spend quality time in your favorite city and booked a hotel room. I can't wait to hear more stories and see more photographs.

    Have a wonderful week, Ron xo

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thanks, Fiona :) I went crazy with my camera while I was there last week because I had TWO WHOLE DAYS to enjoy the city :)

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a great week!
    X

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hola Denise!

    Thank you :) What was very special about this day was that it was Valentine's Day, so I couldn't have had a better day spending it in the city I love the most - New York! My friend also loves NY, so we had such a great day hanging out.

    I'll be posting again this week, so stay tuned.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, girl. Have a faaaaaaaabulous week!
    X

    ReplyDelete
  22. Great photographs, Ron! You really have a talent for capturing the energy of city life in New York. I know you won't born there but you are a true native New Yorker in your heart!

    I've been to Union Square Park several times. I love that area of Manhattan.

    I'm so happy that you took more time on your recent trip and booked a hotel. I can't wait to see more photos and hear more stories. Glad you were able to meet up with your coworker.

    Have a great week, neighbor! X

    ReplyDelete
  23. "I know you won't born there but you are a true native New Yorker in your heart!"

    Elaine, from the very first time I ever visited New York, I felt like a native. New York is a city has ALWAYS felt like home to me. I freaking LOVE that city. And every time I come back from visiting there, I always feels more energized and creative because of the energy there.

    Isn't Union Square Park faaaaabulous? It's got such a great vibe.

    I got a great deal on a hotel room. It was the hotel my brother and I stayed when he visited two years ago. It's a hotel perfectly situated in the city that is centrally located.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, neighbor. Have a fabulous week!

    X

    P.S. We might be getting some snow tomorrow. Yipeeeeeee!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Rockin' captures, Ron! Damn, you have such a talent for capturing urban life. And not only through your photographs, but also the way you describe what you see. Love the cigarette hanging out of the guys mouth. What a great character!

    Looking forward to more, dude!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Aw, thank you for your kind words, Matt! :) I love urban life is what I enjoy capturing the most because there is always so much to see, especially in a city like New York. You can literally do nothing such as sit in a park and drink coffee, and end up feeling like you're doing a lot because of everything that's going on around you.

    I LOVE the cigarette too! And he held that thing in his mouth the whole time he was standing there. At one point I think it went out because when he walked over to talk to me, there was no longer any trace of smoke.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, buddy. Have a super rest of your week!

    X

    ReplyDelete
  26. Well, this made my heart smile from ear to ear! It warms my heart to see people taking care of the creatures in our world. Your scenes reminded me of Home Alone: Lost in New York and the Pigeon Lady...and the one in Mary Poppins (original) too. The genuineness of the people is probably downplayed because the media seems to looks for the bad in situations most of the time. Rarely do they expound of the good....because that doesn't result in controversy and division. I love your street photography. Well done. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  27. "It warms my heart to see people taking care of the creatures in our world."

    Me too, Lisa! :) And that's what really touched me about this experience. That, and the gentleman's offer to share his peanuts so that I could feed the squirrels.

    "The genuineness of the people is probably downplayed because the media seems to looks for the bad in situations most of the time. Rarely do they expound of the good....because that doesn't result in controversy and division. "

    A-MEN! And yes...you are absolutely right about that. The media thrives on negativity because they know how it feeds into controversy and division. AND ratings.

    Thank so much for stopping by, my friend. Always a delight to see your comments. Have a great rest of your week and weekend!
    X

    ReplyDelete
  28. What a wonderful story! We feed peanuts in the shell to the blue jays here - they swoop in and grab them off the rail of the deck. And of course, there are plenty for the squirrels, too, who I'm always happy to feed. Because they're so freaking cute.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I agree! Squirrels are soooooooooooo freaking cute, aren't they? And it's a riot because city squirrels are so different because they have absolutely no fear of people and have no problem running up to you (or ON you like they did me) and asking for food. HA!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend!
    X

    ReplyDelete
  30. What a wonderful story, Ron! I could so see this in a collection of essay's about life in New York City. Outstanding pictures!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thank you so much, Daniel :) As this experience was happening, I knew it was going to be something that would be a simple yet, special moment. I was so lucky to get these pictures because I was snapping my camera so fast.

    Have a great week, and thank you for stopping by!
    X

    ReplyDelete

I moderate all comments before publishing. Thank you for stopping by.