05/19/16 11:25am
A few members of the "Fly By Night" flock gather on a rooftop. Photo: Creative Time/Will Star/Shooting Stars Pro

A few members of the Fly By Night flock gather on a rooftop. Photo: Creative Time/Will Star/Shooting Stars Pro

“I missed Scandal for this?” The woman behind me was not impressed as we sat on risers and watched a small fraction of the 2,000 pigeons in the avian light show Fly By Night prepare for their Brooklyn Navy Yard debut. Her question made me wonder whether I had walked deep into the Navy Yard simply to watch pigeons fly. These, my feathered nemeses, were now the star of a show; it’s a free show, sure, but one with a waiting list and a great review in The New York Times. It was akin to hearing that a childhood bully had become a movie star.

Growing up in New York City pigeons were a nuisance, not works of art. While the city has long had a tradition of rooftop pigeon coops and pigeon fanciers, to which Duke Riley, the artist behind the show, is paying tribute, their charms never seduced me. In fact, despite watching one hatch on my parents’ balcony, I’ve spent most of my life in an avian cold war, never attacking them, but convinced that they would attack me if given the chance. Was detente finally here and and happening in Brooklyn? (more…)

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