The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for August 14th, 2009

Not Whippoorwills, just Pigeons

leave a comment »



Bird lady 001 by you.

30th road and 45th street, Astoria -photo by Mitch Waxman

Vestigial. 30th road is a truncated street in Astoria that runs between 44th street and 47th street and then reappears between Crescent Street and Vernon Blvd at the East River. Newtown Pentacle Headquarters is located in a nearby Matthews Model Flat, and 30th road is a favorite destination for our beloved mascot and sentry- a stout little mutt named Pazuzu- who is easily rattled by the traffic and tumult of the busy thoroughfares of 30th and 31st avenues which define this area called Astoria Heights.

One afternoon, on a brisk January day, Zuzu (as we affectionately call her) and I were effecting our normal patrol of the neighborhood when she suddenly froze in place. Even over the din of my headphones, blaring their ever present diatribe of postmodern historical interpretations and para-political podcasts, the grating call of the Columbidae drew my attention. Luckily, I had my trusty pocket camera with me, and saw what one city council member would render a crime take place.

Bird lady 002 by you.

30th road and 45th street, Astoria -photo by Mitch Waxman

A lady walked past my canine companion and I, an older woman of small stature, with bags of crumbled and stale baked goods in her wizened fingers. It was her for whom the birds flocked, and in her honor had the fowl begun their antiphonal opera.

The dog grew excited and nervous, her agitation activated as much by the movements of such a large number of birds, as by the presence of nearby foodstuffs.

Bird lady 003 by you.

30th road and 45th street, Astoria -photo by Mitch Waxman

Further observation over the next few weeks met this kind soul of Astoria arriving at the same time every day to feed her unctious mob of avian admirers, her arrivals always heralded by the flock swelling to great numbers awaiting her.

Such behaviors are remarkable when one considers the vast metropolis surrounding our quaint old village whose skies are both their playground and larger habitat.

On more than one occasion, I attempted to converse with her- but a stern countenance and heavily accented reproach was my reply. Pazuzu, a gregarious and good natured dog possessed of an always friendly disposition, was far more insulted than I by the rebuff as she was hoping for an introduction to the birds.

Bird lady 004 by you.

30th road and 45th street, Astoria -photo by Mitch Waxman

There are several individuals who feed the fowl in this part of Astoria through the long dark months of gotham’s winter. One often spies heaped piles of bread and stale cake crumbled on the sidewalk. Especially if one is in the company of an always ravenous mongrel named Pazuzu.

Another point of view on Pigeons is provided by…

Pigeon Control Advisory Service

A great NYtimes magazine article on PICAS and their philosophy of Pigeon Control

Zuzu offers her own bird control services to the public for a modest fee, contact us for availability.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 14, 2009 at 2:54 am

Posted in Astoria

%d bloggers like this: