Friday, June 13, 2008

Birdman & Rat

Yesterday I encountered both the Birdman and the big inflatable rat at the worksite for the condo to come at 245 West 14th St. This is the recently demolished spot where McKenna's and Tequila's used to be. Curious, I managed to dig up a rendering of the condo. The website for developer Millennium NY has a teeny, tiny picture...



...which looks quite blurry zoomed in:



Also, those neighboring buildings look nothing like what's still standing there. So I wonder if this is actually what's coming. Anyway, back to the Birdman/rat story.

The construction workers were standing around with their unfair-wages & bad-working-conditions signs hanging around their necks when they began calling out, "Birdman! Birdman!"



I was snapping a pic of the rat when the famous Birdman came down 14th, cawing like a crow, his hat festooned with feathers. The rare sighting of an actual New York character, that endangered species, is always an occasion for celebration, especially in his vanishing natural habitat. Running into the Birdman at the site of a new condo was like coming upon a Spotted Owl at a forest logging camp.



I stayed very still so as not to spook him. Curious about the inflatable vermin, he stopped in front of me and the rat. He looked at me and I looked at him. I aimed my camera and ventured, "Hey, Birdman, how do you like that rat?" He looked at my camera, then the rat and, without a word, cupped a hand around his mouth and began squeaking in approval before he wandered off again.

Who knew he did mammals?



In a weird coincidence, right after this encounter, I got to my computer to find the guy was in the same day's City Room blog. He must be getting around. So enjoy this video of the Birdman, aka Stanley Long, doing his impressive bird and rat impressions.

1 comment:

Joshua said...

Oh, is that who that is! I ran into him on Christopher Street in the West Village and didn't have the slightest idea who he was. He was doing bird calls on a street corner and the surrounding yunnies seemed rather disturbed, which amused me.
Even though I didn't know who exactly he was, as I watched this fellow who has the guts to shout bird calls in public (to the obvious discomfort of our homogenized gentry) I knew I liked him.