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Monday, March 30, 2009

Land Sharks

Fire Island has very few amenities and no cars - it is loved for this very reason. A quiet refuge with red wagons and walkers, it is one of the most remarkable environments considering its proximity to New York City. Typically, the very few bars and restaurants that do exist in some communities are quite poor, catering to a captive audience. But invariably, a combination of boredom and curiosity does set in, and a visit to the local watering hole at least once is inevitable.
While weekending there many years ago, a friend returned from the only bar in town. When asked about the nature of his adventure and the type of people he found, he replied "land sharks, nothing but land sharks." By land sharks, he meant men who had no purpose other than a very focused and singular mission to score with women. Perhaps we found it repugnant because there was not even the artifice of a mating ritual at a bar at that time. Or perhaps we were just jealous that we did not have the chutzpah to join the mix and endure the slings and arrows of female rejection.
The nice thing about being a pigeon is that courtship rituals are so well scripted. There is no anxiety, trepidation or self consciousness in their application. Best of all there appears to be no stigma or concern with rejection.
The recently vacated Mexican restaurant, Senor Swanky in Greenwich Village at Bleecker and Laguardia, was a place that proclaimed itself as "celebrity hangout" on its signs, a source of hilarity for a number of we neighborhood residents. It has been closed since July, 2008, and its awnings and ledges have become a very busy pigeon roost, with droppings everywhere. In observing this appropriately consecrated place (the restaurant was dreadful from what I have read), I observed the mating ritual of two pigeons in a very linear style, confined as they were to the edge of the canopy. Left to right, right to left, left to right. Persistence is part of the game. 
The mating rituals of the feral pigeon (Columba Livia - Rock Pigeon or Rock Dove) are of course well documented with behavior like bowing, tailing, driving and cooing. But we may never know whether some males, unsuccessful in their courting efforts, will return to some of their brethren and when asked about the doves at Senor Swanky's, will respond in defense - "land sharks, nothing but land sharks." :)


Anonymous said...

Just wanted to let you know that I love your blog! I haven't been to New York yet but it seems like a city worth to get know (that's a stupid thing to say, isn't it?) and your posts are like a little adventure for me now. Thanks and keep it up!

Brian Dubé said...

hannahspring - thanks!

An Honest Man said...

Your comments made my day!

Julie said...

very good and great commentary