No matter where you live in New York, whether it's the most rarefied gold-plated neighborhood, or the most threadbare and meager, there's always an old lady--she gets up before everyone else--who scatters bird seed on the sidewalk for hordes of pigeons to peck at.
It hardly matters that most true New Yorkers regard pigeons as flying rats, that if pigeons lived on discarded pizza crusts alone they could be as calorically-rich as Croesus. It hardly matters that the seed is spread in front of doorways, or in crosswalks, or in bus stops, so literally 40 or 60 birds have to be shooed away just to go on with your daily routine, hopefully without getting shit on. None of that matters, no matter where you live, this old lady is up with the milkman making life good for the pigeons and horrible for everyone else.
Hordes of pigeons are a fact of New York life and yet another petty annoyance that sometimes leads someone over the edge to gun-wielding madness and they wind up shooting nine at a local basketball pick-up game.
The old men who sit on the wooden benches that gird the concrete islands on the upper west side's stretch of Broadway can often be caught feeding the birds as well. They have in their oily brown sacks three day-old kaiser rolls that they bought for a dollar at a dirty linoleum bakery. One they gobble surreptitiously, like a kid sneaking yet another candy bar at Halloween. One is for a snack later on, around four, when they warm up the 21-inch Quasar television to watch the nightly news. And the last they tear small clumps from and toss to the hungry birds.
There's an old New York ditty that goes like this:
"If I had the wings of a sparrow,
If I had the ass of a crow,
I'd fly over your house tomorrow,
And shit on your mother below."
I know Yahweh, and the Buddha, and Allah, and Jesus Christ himself say we must love all creatures great and small.
But I'm about two commutes away from buying an army surplus flamethrower and cooking the fucking things.