The Pigeon Keepers of Bushwick

October 4, 2011

Mike Tyson ain’t the only guy in Brooklyn keeping boids.

Brooklyn photographer Chris Arnade writes us about a documentary, Pigeon Keepers of Bushwick, that he’s recently worked on with Rattapallax Productions;

I first noticed the beautiful flocks of pigeons high above Maria Hernandez park in Bushwick last summer. At the time I had no idea that they where part of an old sport.

Brought over by the Italians, Bushwick used to have well over a hundred guys (yes all of them are guys) who kept pigeons on the roofs, now its only about twenty. Not raised to race (thats another sport), they are simply collected and bred and then flown to highlight their beauty. These days, its mostly Dominican and Puerto Rican men, almost all in Bushwick, East new York and Brownsville.

Kept in coops on various roofs, the pigeons are fed and flown almost daily in a game of bragging rights against the other keepers.

Once you view the flocks flowing and swirling high above Brooklyn, catching the shifting sunlight, you start to see the artistry involved. These photos where taken over the last year as I wandered from roof deck to roof deck.

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