New Yorkers are often criticized for being cold or aloof, but this behavior is as much of a survival mechanism as it is a city-wide character flaw. Every day, we are bombarded by a constant stream of stimuli. In response, we tend to retreat into ourselves, preserving our limited attentional resources for the things that matter most. In exchange for our sanity, however, we often overlook many of the quieter details that give the city it’s charm.
Take for example, birdhouse row on East 83rd Street between York and East End. The tree-lined street is the home of 22 handmade birdhouses built out of knotted driftwood. Many of the birdhouses feature quirky phrases such as “Home Tweet Home” and “Tweet Inn.” Some say “East 83rd Street,” or feature the specific addresses of the buildings they belong to. They popped up over night in 2016, surprising and delighting the street’s residents.
Two additional birdhouse collections are hidden in Greenwich Village. A handful of birdhouses peak out of the bushes in McCarthy Square, the small triangular park at the intersection of Seventh Avenue, Charles Street, and Waverley Place. Among them you’ll find two log cabins, an apartment building, and a Greek temple.
Just a few blocks away on Grove Street hangs yet another, unrelated collection of birdhouses. Each strategically placed to blend into it’s immediate surroundings: some are color-coordinated with the buildings they’ve been placed in front of, while others blend into trees they’re nailed to.