Sunday, August 8, 2010

In Praise of Zelda the Turkey

Like anyone else who falls in love with New York, I'm a sucker for the marquee attractions. I visit the Met at least once a month, I swoon over the skyline, and godsohelpme I love Rockefeller Center at Christmas. But it's the little things that make for an enduring affair. One of my very favorite little things about New York that few people know about is Zelda the turkey.

Maybe I'm ornithologically biased because I'm a big old birdwatching nerd, and I've mentioned Zelda briefly before, but I think the fact that there's a wild turkey living in Battery Park for no discernible reason other than she just seems to like it there is charming as hell. She even has her own Wikipedia entry. She's a bona fide New York character. And she's named after F. Scott Fitzgerald's wife, who at one point was found wandering in Battery Park in the grip of madness. If that's not New York gothic, I don't know what is.

But as for Zelda the turkey, she seems to be pretty well-adjusted. She's been in Lower Manhattan for years, she takes tourists in stride, and happily wanders among the people lining up for the Statue of Liberty ferry, though she will get a little annoyed when kids chase her. The other day she sat next to me as I ate my dinner in the park. It was awesome.

And there are no male turkeys reported in the area. Zelda does not seem to mind. She is her own turkey. We could learn a lot from Zelda.

Here's a brief video of Zelda saying hello. It's not my best cinematography, and I inadvertently cut it off early because I was so delighted she was coming over, but you get the idea. Viva Zelda.