NEW YORK: EAT SEE PLAY SHOP SLEEP TIPS OUT OF TOWN

SEE

Hua Mei Bird Garden

DSC_0067

DSC_0096

DSC_0074

Our weekend mornings often start earlier than we, as the parents of the household, would like, but we try to make the most of them by getting outside. We frequently head on foot or by subway to nearby Chinatown and the Lower East Side, where we can watch the quieted city wake and start its day. Typically, we stop by a park to play on the playground, first picking up breakfast (often bialys or doughnuts), and coffee. To that routine this past weekend we added a new destination: the Hua Mei Bird Garden.

IMG_1283

DSC_0061

For centuries a common pastime in China, the practice of raising songbirds and taking them to enjoy time outside helped lead to the creation of the garden, which the city recognized in 1995. Gathering here is a social event, both for the older Chinese men who bring their cherished pets, but also for the birds themselves.

From a full block away we could hear the pleasing chatter of the songbirds over the sound of traffic, and arriving at the garden we saw 20 or more highly ornamental cages hanging from racks and placed on the ground, each containing a single beautiful bird. Some of the cages still had their white cotton covers clipped closed, but most were open, showcasing the birds hopping about as they sang. The birds’ owners stood along the row of cages, drinking coffee and talking, listening to the repertoire of songs performed by each bird. At times one cage or another would be moved to bring certain birds in closer proximity to one another, and the birds really seemed to interact. My daughter was fascinated by the whole scene, drawn as much by the brightly-hued plumage of the birds as the sounds they made. We didn’t stay long, but the garden, and the ritual it helps preserve, were lovely reminder of the rich traditions held by the many communities who call New York home.


SHARE

Comments (2)

Rifda
November 16, 2017

Hi! Thanks for your post, do you know if they still organize this in Fall and Winter? Or if they just have it in Summer? I have an assignment from my campus to interview the organizers but need to do it this month. Your reply will be so much appreciated. Thanks!


Shannon in NYC
November 17, 2017

Hi Rifda – I can’t say for certain as we’ve only stopped by in the warmer months, but my guess is that maybe it’s too cold out now for the birds? If you go and they’re there, let me know!


Leave a Comment

ALSO IN THE AREA

SHOP
CW Pencil Enterprise
I love New York for many reasons, but the existence of specialized shops like CW Pencil Enterprise -- an entire store devoted to  pencils (!) - ranks high on the list. I'm by no means a pencil expert, but the selection here seems near-encyclopedic, and with a budding little writer on my hands it was ...
READ MORE
EAT
Greecologies - a yogurt bar in Little Italy
It's not hard at all to find Greek yogurt in most groceries and bodegas in New York, but for something a bit more special and unique, Greecologies, a yogurt lab and café in Little Italy, provides a perfect place to stop for breakfast or a mid-day snack. The shop's signature offering is traditional small-batch Greek ...
READ MORE
BROOKLYN
Community Gardens
Tucked into vacant lots and unused corners of the city, New York's Community Gardens can feel like a real discovery when you happen upon them. Two months ago we exited the subway at 2nd Avenue on our way to brunch and came face-to-face with the Liz Christy Community Garden. How I've missed it all these ...
READ MORE
SHOP
Thomas Sires - A boutique for women, children, and home in Nolita
I popped into the boutique Thomas Sires, in Manhattan's Nolita neighborhood, on a dreary February day and it was just the bright spot I needed during these last few weeks of winter, when it seems spring may never come back around again. In the store, which carries gorgeous items for women, children, and home, the ...
READ MORE