The impression that the pigeon lady from Home Alone 2 has left on every New York transplant is indelible. Her tragic tale of wanting to have children with the man she was married to and him falling out of love with her only to leave her behind prevented her from trusting ever again, leading her to Central Park where she fell in with a group of sympathetic, non-offending pigeons. As New Yorkers, fear of becoming like the pigeon lady grips us all. And, indeed, there is just such a man in Bushwick, who feeds his pigeons outside of a wholesale tortilla factory on Flushing Avenue.
Just like the pigeon lady, he has no name, though locals have taken to calling him El Pájaro. Every day, he comes outside, perching himself against the wall outside of Carrera’s to feed his so-called children. While he’s not nearly as affable as the pigeon lady, and uses tortilla scraps instead of bread crumbs to lure, there does appear to be a sensitive side beneath his rough-hewn exterior.
According to one Bushwickian’s testimonial, Martin Bent, a 23-year-old who had lost his way after getting drunk at Koda, “I was going in the wrong direction toward the projects on my way back home. El Pájaro came to my rescue when a project hoodlum tried to take my wallet and started goading me for being a ‘white boy.’ Thanks to El Pájaro re-creating that moment when the pigeon lady saves Kevin in Central Park, I’m still alive to tell the story.” Of course, there’s no guarantee he’ll protect everyone. Only if it happens to be convenient at the time and he’s not busy doing anything else.
Written by Genna Rivieccio