pigeons in flight.

April 21, 2015

white pigeons | reading my tea leaves I get an occasional note from readers who are mystified by my choice to live in New York City. All that subway taking. All those stairs to climb. That small apartment at the end of them.

I imagine that my decision to live in this place has to do with the same things that dictate other people’s reasons for living where they do: family and jobs and a general appreciation for the good that outweighs the bad.  And like anywhere, there are moments in New York that feel so quintessentially belonging to this particular place that their existence makes my pulse quicken, as if to say, “This is it. This is why.”

Two weeks ago, we were walking to dinner at my sister’s in the East Village when we looked up to see a flight of bright white pigeons soaring against a perfectly blue sky. The birds turned and twisted while on top a roof somewhere an invisible puppeteer directed them in their synchronized dance.
white pigeons | reading my tea leaves We watched the pigeons for ten minutes, necks thrown back. James took these shots while I stared at the sky, trying in vain to get Faye to notice her good luck. Magic happens whether we stop to pay attention to it or not, so here’s a reminder for wherever you are: look up.

Other things:
These are the pigeons we spotted.
Bird group names. (A bouquet of pheasants!)
Pigeon fliers of New York.
The Global Pigeon.

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  • Reply Hannah S April 21, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    Very sweet. Its important to enjoy the little things and even with nyc being so dingy and dirty and crowded there is a lot of beauty hidden in those cracks and crevices.

  • Reply Jen April 21, 2015 at 1:46 pm


  • Reply Anita April 21, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    How true and how beautiful! I think I often need that reminder that magic is found where we least expect it!

  • Reply Shuang April 21, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    It's so true: it's up to us to embrace beauty found in the ordinary. šŸ™‚ Thanks for a great start to the day!

  • Reply Anonymous April 21, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    I lived in the East Village for years (by Avenue B), and would frequently see that flock of white pigeons! They actually belong to a neighborhood resident and have a home on one of the local rooftops. I've always been amazed by their beauty!

    • Reply Erin April 21, 2015 at 3:19 pm

      Yes! I linked to a little video of the flier up above! So fascinating (and lovely!).

  • Reply Boo's Mom April 21, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    Wonderful post and links. Thank you!

  • Reply Anonymous April 21, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    What a lovely post.

  • Reply Nikkiana April 21, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    Mmm… Yes.

    One of the streets I walk down on the way to the subway has a flock of pigeons that hangs out there… Someone often empties out leftover food on the edge of the sidewalk for them, so often when I pass they'll be eating. It's become a fun little game to see if I can walk past without disturbing them or whether they'll get spooked and fly away.

  • Reply em metroka April 21, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    love this so much!

  • Reply thissunnyday April 21, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    love this so much! such a good reminder

  • Reply Sarah April 21, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    Sweet post. Love that last line. šŸ™‚

  • Reply Anonymous April 22, 2015 at 12:57 am

    Beautifully put, Erin.


    • Reply admin April 22, 2015 at 2:56 pm

      Sounds lovely, Lexie! Rest assured, lots more than pigeons here in New York, too!

  • Reply Lexie April 22, 2015 at 7:04 am

    We have incredible bird life as part of our everyday life here on the Pacific Ocean. Every day I see Pelicans, Great blue Herons, All manner of seabirds, Lovely seagulls of every type. We have robins, quail, finches, swallows, hawks, owls and eagles as part of our everyday life. We have California Condors swooping overhead in Big Sur. Hummingbirds every day in the garden with the crested jays and yellow tail swallows with Robins at the feeder. . Finches singing in the morning. You have to come to California and see our extensive bird life. It is refreshing to know that NY has some kind of wildlife .

    • Reply Erin April 22, 2015 at 2:56 pm

      Sounds lovely, Lexie! Rest assured, lots more than pigeons here in New York, too!

  • Reply Carissa Thilgen April 22, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    My husband and I are moving to the Jersey/NYC area in June! (He's in the Coast Guard, and right now we're in Florida but we're originally from California.) I'm looking forward to exploring new places and catching magical little moments like these in the city šŸ™‚

  • Reply Cynthia April 22, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    Well put, Erin! I love that you love your city and find ways to capture the magic. When I come to NYC I always get such a kick out of the paid dog walkers. The dogs look so happy to be in the park and out with their friends!

  • Reply Sally April 23, 2015 at 11:58 pm

    I love that point when you're walking, overwhelmed with the feeling, "Oh yes, this is why." My neighborhood in Chicago is not necessarily the safest but as you said, the good outweighs the bad. The boulevards, the greenery in the midst of a concrete jungle, the backyard gardens, the cultural diversity — to me it just makes sense, speaks to who I am. It's a nice feeling, when you feel like you're where your suppose to be.

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