Lord of the Pigeons

More sweet press for the birdman of the East Village.

The venerable CBC Radio program As It Happens beat the new Gawker to a perfect, new kind of Gawker story. A profile of one of New York’s last pigeon keepers.

AntonvanDalenSelfPortrait

Anton van Dalen, a 77-year-old Dutch native who grew up in Toronto before coming to the U.S. in 1975, has been taking care of a rooftop, snow-white brood since the late 1980s. At the same NYC address that he has occupied since 1972. From the radio report:

He tends to his 43-member flock on the rooftop of his East Village apartment building, where he trains them to fly together – putting on a nightly show for the pedestrians below.

Van Dalen says it’s a lost art. It seems New Yorkers aren’t as enamored with pigeon keeping as they used to be. “People are always off traveling somewhere,” he says. “The pigeons needs attention every day. You can’t just take off.”

The CBC coverage follows a video piece earlier this month by Huffington Post multimedia fellow Savannah O’Leary. In February-March, van Dalen had a solo show at the PPOW Gallery. And for those interested, his personal website features a pigeon coop live stream.
 
[Image of van Dalen art piece, via: ppowgallery.com]