Amidst the traffic and chaos of New York City, it’s easy to forget the planet’s non-human inhabitants. That may be why the appearance of an enormous blue kiwi beside the 72nd street subway is such a shock.
The round, rollicking creature is planted plumb in the middle of Broadway. Pinching a silvery treat in his beak, perhaps a fruit or seed, his feet are merrily aloft, as though he were rolling back in laughter at the startled pedestrians.
The aluminum homage to a New Zealand endemic species is only one of many curious creatures to invade the Broadway Malls last month, public art installations by sculptor Peter Woytuk. The works of whimsy are part of the Parks and Recreation Department’s “Art on the Malls” series and will occupy their new habitat through April. Their range stretches up Manhattan’s west side, from Columbus Circle to 168th street (for those planning a visit, there’s a great google map showing all locations.)
Ostriches, bantam hens, and a host of playful ravens, are among the Malls’ avian menagerie. Woytuk’s whimsical sculpture also depicts acorns and apples, rubenesque sheep, burly bulls, elephants, and a mysterious beast known as the “bearcat.”
In the spirit of Michele Wilson’s “Birds Make the Art” series — which if you haven’t seen, you can visit Parts 1, 2, and 3 on the Perch — below are a few pictures of these birds taking Broadway by storm.