Upper East Side in uproar over taxi driver feeding pigeons


He ruffles their feathers.

A yellow cab driver angered Upper East Siders by dumping pounds of birdseed along a 20-block stretch of the neighborhood, attracting rats and hundreds of pigeons – and their poo.

“A lot of birds would come,” said Harvey Fein, 66, a doorman on East 79th Street, who saw the Yorkville Birdman spreading seeds near a retirement home down the block. “It wasn’t a meal for one, it was a family dinner.”

The near-daily feedings, which occur between East 80th and the Ed Koch Bridge, have resulted in dozens of birds congregating regularly on stretches of 1st and 2nd Avenues, turning walks through these blocks into literal shit shows. .

“There was one day when there were so many that I had to cross 64th Street to cross 1st Avenue,” said a 54-year-old hospital administrator who requested anonymity. “I’m scared to walk past because someone is going to poop on me.”

Renee Johnson, 61, a security supervisor at Temple Shaaray Tefila, which is next to a regular feeding area for the taxi driver, said her employer ‘cleaned my clothes for me because of the pigeons’ who threw bombs at him.

A New York City taxi driver caused an uproar on the Upper East Side by dumping pounds of birdseed along a 20-block stretch in the neighborhood.

A picture of a yellow taxi.

After the taxi driver threw the bird seed at the corner of East 80th Street and 1st Avenue, the furious driver flipped the bird and shouted “Fk you” after seeing someone take a photo .

No one knows why the driver, who appears to use 20-40 pound seed bags, is so devoted to his feathered friends.

“He might do it for karma,” offered neighbor Mike Volfman. “It’s good karma with his religion and bad karma with the people of the Upper East Side.”

The taxi driver, however, is not so kind to his fellows.

After dumping enough seeds ‘to feed a few hundred birds’ at the corner of East 80th Street and 1st Avenue, the furious driver flipped the bird and shouted ‘Fuck you’ after seeing Volfman take a photo of his taxi.

Volfman has filed complaints with the Taxi & Limousine Commission and started a petition to put an end to the feeding frenzy.

“I heard that the TCL [sic] will do nothing, so I want to involve the local government,” he wrote.

A photo of birds flocking to a corner covered in bird seed.
Upper East Side residents said the bird seed attracted rats, hundreds of pigeons and their droppings.
Hillary Woodward

Long-time resident Hillary Woodward had a run-in with the driver in late August, after leaving her taxi parked at the M15 bus stop during rush hour to disperse her seeds.

“Bird poop itself and birds flying into our faces are a health concern because they carry germs,” ​​she said. “I said to him, ‘Hey, you’re contributing to a problem here. “”

Not everyone is outraged. A 25-year-old woman who fed birds on her fire escape during the pandemic thinks pigeons are ‘misunderstood’.

“If you ask anyone here, they’ll say they poop everywhere, they’re dirty,” she said. “I think they’re really cute.”

The driver recently declined to comment for The Post after leaving enough bird food near the synagogue to attract more than 50 pigeons and sparrows.

A woman invaded by pigeons.
Earlier this year, residents of Kips Bay started a petition to end the overfeeding of pigeons in their neighborhood.
JC Rice for NY Post

Feeding pigeons is not against the law, but people who feed the birds and do not clean up any of the resulting waste may be subject to offences. A 2019 Parks Department proposal to ban feeding pigeons and squirrels and institute a $50 fine faced a swift backlash.

“Feeding birdseed to pigeons attracts rats, which breeds more disease,” said Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright, who represents the Upper East Side, Yorkville and Roosevelt Island. “I have urgently requested the Taxi and Limousine Board and the Department of Health to address this serious public health hazard.”

TLC said it “strongly encourages all licensed drivers to operate in a professional manner and that includes acting as good neighbors in the communities they serve. We take all complaints seriously and treat them as it suits.

Earlier this year, residents of Kips Bay started a similar petition to stop the overfeeding of pigeons in their neighborhood.


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