Legislation is for the birds

The Brooklyn Paper

Bay Ridge’s pigeon man can be found most summer days on the corner of 79th and Third Avenue selling used books off a fold up table. When the guy spots a family walking by, he calmly extends his hand up in the air and moments later a pigeon swoops down and sits on it.

Of course, the guy isn’t the reincarnation of St. Francis, he just hides some breadcrumbs in his hand or something, but while the act may be a little tacky, it shouldn’t cost him a $1,000, which could become a reality if one local pol gets his way.

This anti-pigeon measure is the brainchild of Councilman Simcha Felder (D-Bensonhurst), who on Monday unveiled an ambitious plan to outlaw the feeding of pigeons. His goal, he says, in to cut down on that feared social menace: pigeon droppings.

“The people of New York are sick and tired of dodging pigeons and their droppings as they walk around the city,” Felder said. “The government needs to take responsibility for this issue and end the free reign of pigeons in our city.”

Felder is well known to readers of The Brooklyn Paper. This is the Othodox Jewish man who hid in a City Council men’s room rather than vote for openly gay Councilwoman Christine Quinn for speaker (even though he supported her!). And this is the same member of that esteemed body who started crusading against flyers and handbills after his mother got a litter summons for an errant circular.

This time, at lease, Felder has identified one of the true horrors of city living. Everyone has had that moment, usually during a nice summer day, when something hits the top of your head and after reaching in your hair with hopes that what you felt was an acorn or anything but the pigeon guano now in your hair and hand.

Inconvenient, yes, but is this really the reason we elect our public servants into office?

Yellow Hooker may not be a scientist, but on face value, the concept of trying to stop pigeons from pooping on us comes across as slightly insane. Pigeons don’t survive in the city because we feed them. They survive here because there is garbage all over our streets that they eat. We already have laws against garbage and everyone just ignores those.

I mean, no one can seriously believe that this city needs more bureaucracy in the form of a pigeon czar (that’s right, a pigeon czar!) any more than we need more reasons for law enforcement to ticket residents, or more reasons for neighbors to call 311 to report 9-year old girls throwing bread crumbs on her stoop.

What’s next? Are we going to sponsor legislation to outlaw rainy days or cursing cab drivers?

St. Francis, the 12th-century friar who was known for preaching to birds, wouldn’t have lasted two hours in this environment.

There are prices of city living that we all must deal with and the occasional pigeon poop in the hair is one of them. Local pols who are oblivious to the limits of their own powers are another.

Matthew Lysiak is a freelance writer who lives in Bay Ridge.

The Kitchen Aink

Credit where due: Blogger “Left in Bay Ridge” told me the news: A Starbucks is opening up at 85th Street and Third Avenue, raising the community total to four. …

Last week, Councilman Vince Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) joined former patients of Bay Imaging to announce the release of thousands of medical records held hostage by the radiological facility during an 18-month fight. Woman who need access to their records are encouraged to call Gentile’s office at (718) 748-5200. …

Watch out Gentile: Speculation is heating up that state Sen. Marty Golden’s able aide, John Quaglione, is eyeing a run for City Council. Gentile is not term-limited until 2013. …

You, too, can sue the Metropolitan Transportation Authority! In an effort to give a voice to commuters, Rep. Vito Fossella (R–Bay Ridge) is urging residents to e-mail complaints about driving since the start of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge construction, which Fossella will submit to a judge as part of his lawsuit against the MTA. E-mail testimonials to FixTheVZB@gmail.com. …

CNBC’s Lawrence Kudlow was the guest of honor at the Brooklyn Conservative Party’s Nov. 1 dinner at Rex Manor on 60th Street and 11th Avenue. In addition, Sgt. Nick Badolato received the Jim Ryan Award for Longtime Service to the conservative cause. The party’s county chairman Jerry Kassar was also on hand, along with state Sen. Marty Golden and New York State Conservative Party Chairman Michael R. Long. And it’s not exactly lions lying down with lambs, but Kings County Republican Party Chairman Craig Eaton was also there.

Reader Feedback

Alex Holdsworth from Park Slope says:
Pigeons are the most disgusting creatures on the earth and people who feed them should be thrown in jail!
Nov. 16, 2007, 2:07 pm
Ben says:
Re Matthew Lysiak's column -

Evidently he doesn't grasp the seriousness of the problem. It's not just a rare case of something undesirable hitting your head. Perhaps there are no pigeon stations near his dwelling so he is dwelling in the state of 'ignorance is bliss', rather then in the gritty reality of non-yuppified Brooklyn. It's not merely a 'social menace'. It's a health and safety hazard as well. Why does he ignore the health hazards of pigeon droppings ?

Additionally, his citation of the councilman's religion is totally out of order here. What does that have to do with this ?

Perhaps the councilman's proposals could use some adjusting, but to blast the concept of addressing the problem shows a lack of understanding of the situation outside the prettified corners of the borough.
Nov. 16, 2007, 3:45 pm

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