Nina In New York: Peafowl Gone Wild
A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.
By Nina Pajak
Another day, another escaped peacock gallivanting about the city like a regular bird about town.
This most recent freebird (sorry, irresistible) escaped from the Central Park Zoo on Tuesday after spending months slowly pecking out a discreet tunnel under the aviary netting. Park authorities found that he’d been cleverly hiding his work under a pin-up poster of Daisy Duck. He spent the night lounging on the windowsill of an apartment building at the rawther posh, peacock-worthy Upper East Side address of 65th and 5th Avenue before returning at his leisure to the zoo this morning.
Frankly, I can’t blame him. Here he is, day in and day out, stuck enduring the incessant, impolite staring of overweight tourists, sticky-fingered, noisy children and distracted nannies. All anyone ever talks about are the stupid penguins anyway. Sure, he had the enviable Central Park address, but what good is it really if your privilege is your prison? He wasn’t trying to run away forever. He just wanted to see a little bit of the world, experience true city living, maybe get a mani-pedi and a little frozen yogurt. Of course, he had to make the obligatory Twitter appearances while he was out. Used to be, a peacock could break out of captivity, show off some feathers, take a snooze and call it a day, but the pressures of contemporary fame demand much more from wild fowl.
The thought hadn’t actually crossed his mind until he heard about the Bronx Zoo peahen who, to the shock and awe of peafowl everywhere, spent a glorious few days evading capture and hanging out on the hoods of people’s cars. She was a peafolk hero! And sure, the Bronx peahen was on the honor system, allowed to roam the property freely (at least, she was then), but the Manhattan peacock wasn’t about to let some netting stop him. Girl, please. He would not be outdone.
Anyway, all’s well that end’s well, and the peacock is home safe and sound back inside the park. His adventure was fun, but like so many who have spent a lifetime behind aviary walls, he knew life outside wasn’t for him. On days when he’s feeling glum or frustrated, he can comfort himself in his memories of the day he stole the spotlight from that smug Bronx peahen and lived it up, Gossip Girl style.
In related news, the city council is considering holding an emergency meeting on peafowl control reform within the five boroughs, as the birds have clearly grown smarter than their human handlers. As the saying goes: one peafowl escapee, shame on her. Two peafowl escapee, shame on us. Something like that.
Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.
Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.
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