Manhattan Predator

To almost everyone’s delight, peregrine falcons have settled in Manhattan. There are currently about half dozen pair. Falcons mate for life. They adapt to city life remarkably well. There’s shelter and an endless supply of rats and pigeons to eat. They should’ve moved in ages ago.

This guy occasionally perches on a beam outside my office. I took these from different angles to get varied, more interesting, backgrounds.


I’m up on the 50th floor. It’s so high that mobile phone signals don’t reach us. We need repeaters installed in our ceiling. Helicopters fly by at eye level. No other city bird flies up this high. We never see pigeons or sparrows up here.


Early in the summer it’s usually a mother and an eyasses. That’s a baby falcon. They’ll perch on opposite beams and screech at each other. By autumn they’re on their own.


They are FAST. Peregrine falcons have been clocked at over 200 mph. I’ve only witnessed one departure. He spread his wings, dove off the beam and shot straight down towards the street like a bullet. He was gone in a blink.

I said ALMOST everyone is delighted. There are luxury apartments along Central Park on the Upper West Side that have tried to have falcon nests removed from their eaves—eyasses and all. Apparently, a dead rat or two can fall out and land at the entrance. To my complete delight, the tabloids laid into them as unfeeling, rich prigs so they backed off.



Currently at the Gladstone Gallery’s 21st street space is Ugo Rondinone’s the sun at 4pm. The literature gussies it up as ‘a visual link between nature and the human condition.’ Yeah, yeah. Whatever. What I see is a room full of vibrantly colored stone sculptures.


What’s cool about it is you can weave between sculptures and get all kinds of playful angles and shades. The light pours in through a skylight and what you see depends on how the light hits them.


The sculptures seem haphazardly strewn about the room but you can detect some order if you stand the right spots.


I wish they had stuff like this back when I was still doing bong hits. Can you imagine this on hallucinogens?



Sticking with Gladstone, this time their 24th Street gallery, is Matthew Barney’s Facility of DECLINE. It’s a recreation of his 1991 career-launching New York debut exhibit. The exhibit contains film and sculpture and, quite honestly, I found it kind of boring. The fun piece is inside this walk-in cooler:


Barney, a hulking physical fitness nut, created this bench press. The structure had a translucent interior skeleton but it’s mostly made of petroleum jelly. It needs to be kept cool or it’ll melt.


Don’t tell anyone but I poked it a bit just to see how deep the vaseline layer is. It’s pretty impressive. Barney is perhaps best known as ex-husband of Björk, who seems to have suffered a severe emotional breakdown when he left. In Black Lake, from her 2015 release Vulnicura she “sings”:

I did it for love, I honored my feelings
You betrayed your own heart, corrupted that organ

Family was always our sacred mutual mission
Which you abandoned

You have nothing to give, your heart is hollow
I am drowned in sorrows

Jesus, baby, take it easy. It’ll be okay. On a press junket in 2000 for Dancer in the Dark, Björk claimed making the film was “…like signing on to war, going to the Vietnam War. I believed I might die.” She’s a little prone to histrionics, to say the least. Can you imagine being married to that?



Piotr Uklanski
The Nazis
Est. $500,000-700,000
Sold for $550,000

This is a giant work. It covered an entire wall. They’re stills from movies and television that show various actors portraying Nazis. It’s like Where’s Waldo for the Third Reich. I uploaded a high resolution pic so you can click on it and see how many actors you can identify. Can you spot the young Clint Eastwood? How about Werner Klemperer from Hogan’s Heros? It’s fun! Except the part about them being Nazis.



Daughter hamming it up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in front of Ellsworth Kelly’s Spectrum V. My girls make me laugh.

83 thoughts on “Manhattan Predator

  1. What a terrific smorgasbord! Each part is a different kind of fun.

    How cool to see falcons outside your window. Hope they leave extra rats for the Trumps 😈

  2. I couldn’t work or live in a skyscraper, but I love the falcon photos. It would be worth going up to the top of the building just to see one.

    As for the stone sculpture, I wonder if I took a bunch of stones from my backyard, painted them, and stacked them up in my suburban front yard – would people realize it was art, or would they just call the town on me? I guess art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

    • I can see how the height would bother some folks but I don’t mind. The views are spectacular. The elevator is a little freaky, though. People occasionally
      get stuck.

      That’s the usual argument for modern art. Anyone can do it. Well, we didn’t think of it first. Besides that, we don’t have proper gallery representation. We’re sunk without that.

  3. Nazi playing cards! Brilliant! Imagine the walls covered by the victims of their fucking sickness. Miss your posts. No need for bong hits to enjoy the splendor of those sculptures, the falcons, the rats and the prigs. Our light-sensitive bistro lights just came on, night falls on Sammamish.

  4. This post is a cracker! Well for someone like me.

    Love the falcon.We filmed one that had been injured and found that at about 80mph he developed a speed wobble from a damaged feather. It was fixable, but we had to hold him over for a season.
    And I did click on the Nazis and spotted Sinatra, Yul Brynner McQueen Roger Moore,Herbert Lom(I think ), Charles Bronson and others I recognise whose names are foggy memories. Henry Fonda.Oh! I’ll come back later with a glass of inspiration…

    I hope your daughters know what a bloody brilliant dad you are?

    • You healed a falcon and returned him to the wild? Do I understand that correctly? What a hero. Did he take to being out in the wild again or was he spoiled by the free meals?

      Did you spot Mr. Spock? He’s in there.

      Can I send the bloody brilliant comment to my daughters? They need the perspective.

      • Yes, I saw Spock and some others. And of course you may share with the girls.
        The falcon thing? Yes, though that particular bird was not in our care.Mostly we took raptors from surgery treatment and held them in a big flight cage on our rural property til they’d built up muscle and could fly well enough. Releasing an animal/bird is the biggest buzz, i can tell you! And, if you’re interested to know what was done for the wing damaged falcon, it was imped by a friend

  5. Harrison Ford played a Nazi. Didn’t he just *disguise* himself as a Nazi?
    That’s a treat, having the falcon outside your window. Makes all that plummeting space outside real.

    • Technically, you’re right, nerd. He was merely impersonating a Nazi. But I don’t think the artist took that into account. If you’re in a Nazi outfit, you make the grade.

      I’m waiting for the falcon to bring dinner up so we can watch him dine el fresco.

  6. Those multicoloured sculptures are striking – actually they look as if they’re made of candy. Have any children tried to lick them?

    I wonder if the guy who played Hitler in ‘The Producers’ is on that picture. It would have been a nice ironic touch, but maybe he took it too seriously.

    Your daughter is growing up. Are you read for the first boyfriend?

      • Actually, *I* took a good, long lick and do you know what? They’re just rocks. But my tongue was bright blue afterwards.

        Who played Hitler in ‘The Producers?’ I’ll IMDB it and scan the photo. Eric Idol is in there. For real.

        Daughter already HAS a boyfriend. I’m not all that thrilled about it but he’s a respectful kid who gets good grades and his parents are nice, so I don’t say anything. As long as her grades don’t tank.

  7. Love the falcon pics. And that the rich people failed to get rid of them. Like the saying goes, “upon us all, a little dead rat must fall….”
    Oh, how I wish I could take a bong hit while looking at the artwork on your blog.
    And your daughter already has a boyfriend?! I dread this chapter in my life. My daughter is about to turn 10 and I’m not ready. When she goes to middle school? More gray hairs.

    • If you click on the falcon pics you’ll get a much sharper view. They’re beautiful and deadly. Just like girls!

      I wish we could take a bong hit and walk through the gallery. If you going to dream, dream big.

      She’s in her first year of high school so I guess this should come as no surprise. I’m actually kind of glad that she’s got the self-esteem to put herself out there. I stayed in my shell throughout most of my high school years, too afraid to make a move.

  8. Nice variety of material as always.

    I find that ironic the liberal press chastising the limousine liberals of the UWS. It’s never a problem until it happens to your building. Are the Falcons banned from the UES?

    You got me with the Nazi pic. I kept looking at it before I read your description. I said no Hitler but a lot of actors I recognize. Klink was hard to find dressed as a combat soldier. Also Gen Burkhalter, but no Sgt Shultz.

    You’re a lucky Dad. Good parenting always wins in the end. It should be the law!

    • I don’t have the attention span for long-form posts. These bits and bites are best for me.

      The funny part is that it wasn’t just the liberal press. One of the loudest voices was the New York Post! They’re no friend to liberals. I think it was such a juicy target that they coulnd’t resist.

      No Sgt. Schults, but Peter Sellers. That’s a pretty good trade-off.

      I AM a lucky dad! They don’t show any signs of the neurosis that haunt me.

  9. Oh what beautiful birds! Your phone may not have reception but *they* certainly do. And I’m sorry… but the vibrantly colored stone sculptures look like shit my kids make out of play-doh.

    • Hello, new blood! Thanks for stopping by. Ah, that age old argument. My kids could do that. Of course, you’re right. They could! So could mine. But that doesn’t rob me of the enjoyment. When I opened the door and walked into the gallery and saw these sculptures I was gobsmacked. It was a riot of color and shapes. It was a nice moment.

      • New blood…. are you a vampire… but let’s both look for something more refined, though there’s no accounting for taste my dear.

  10. The best part of this post was reading about the falcons. It is indeed a very good thing and their presence is a sign that they are making a good comeback. Raptors have a definite place and are quite beneficial.

  11. Loved the birds, the sculptures — there’s something childish and playful about them — and then one of my favourite artists at the end, adorned with antics that is the kind of thing my daughters would get up to when faced with impressive art that one should take desperately seriously. Such a lot of colour in this post.

    In London at the Royal Academy till January is a big retrospective of Abstract Expressionism. 17 quid to get in! Art should be free but I’m being paid to go to London for something else so can’t complain. I’ll make sure take my camera.

    • I think the sculptures might be more enjoyable in person. The light pouring in from the skylight really made them pop. Even the black rocks were bright. You’re an Ellsworth Kelly fan? I still think my daughters endure art museums for my sake but that’s too bad. They’re going whether they like it or not.

      I saw an article in the New York Times about that retrospective and wish, wish, wish I could go. It’d be 17 quid + airfare and hotel. So it’s out of the question.

  12. Oh bloody ell…disappearing comment syndrome strikes again… but it was just to say that I loved all the colour in this post (along with the birds and pondering what it must be like to work on the 50th floor of a building). I loved the sculptures — there’s something playful and childlike about them (as your commentator above said about Play-Doh), and then you finish with one of my favourite painters of them all, Ellsworth Kelly, with choreography by Ms Exile.

    There’s a big retrospective at the Royal Academy in London on Abstract Expressionism. I’ll be sure to take my camera!

    Btw, we spell it “predator” here. American spelling is so strange sometimes I can never work out whether things are mistakes or not 🙂

    • How can you still be having commenting after all these years? Will this ever be straightened out? Yes, please take plenty of pics. It’s as close as I’ll get.

      “Predator” is spelled that way here, too. That’s a typo. SO embarrassing! I’ve corrected it but I fear the damage to my reputation has been done. Woe.

      • Oh, I don’t know. WP doesn’t like me. Maybe I should just wait a few hours for my comments to appear. They’re probably personally escorted to New Jersey on a plane.

  13. Amazing to see those falcons outside your work window, how wonderful. There was a little robin that used to sometimes perch outside my office window, and I was thrilled to bits with that! 🙂

    Always love your art narratives too, and cool picture of the dort.

  14. We have some a Peregrine Falcon program here in Pittsburgh, cameras and all to watch the chicks hatch, they’re like rockstars here, of course my favorite are the hawks, there’s a shitload near my house and the bastards are huge, i like watching them float and squawk, came upon one who had a squirrel pinned to the ground and was getting ready to feast, gorgeous white underside to it’s 5 plus foot wingspan, it took off when it saw me and i told the fleeing squirrel it was lucky… i did some bong hits and looked at those sculptures, you’re correct, it would be awesome to wonder through there stoned to the gills.

    • Who would’ve ever thought falcons would need a ‘program?’ It’s like rehab for our overdeveloped society. There are a lot of hawks at home in New Jersey. Turkey vultures, too. They’re huge and ugly. Just like…awww nevermind. I’m not going there.

      Stoned to the gills and otherwise. LSD fell out of fashion but can you imagine? There’s an afternoon you’ll never forget.

  15. What a fabulous office view. And have you given this little falcon of yours a name?

    You poked the sculpture? Very, very naughty. Good lips balm though.

    Bjork is nuts. End of.

    Your daughter looks like a wonderful piece of art.

  16. We’ve had a nesting pair of Cooper’s hawks in our part of town for the last several years. The youngsters are a hoot as they learn to hunt for themselves. They’ll play with sticks while one of the parents looks on. It seems to me that the screeches of the young sound just like petulant teenagers as they miss the prey they’re aiming for. Neighbors don’t care for them much; they seem menacing, and they are a terror to songbirds. But, they’re a bird of prey, so you can’t expect them to be softer than they are. I enjoyed your photos of the peregrines! Amazing raptors all around.

    • Thanks for the comment. We have a dedicated birdwatchers amongst us and he gives us fun facts. We are alerted to their presence by all the noise. The screeching is, apparently, the mother teaching her young how to hunt. How can we know for sure? I don’t find them menacing at all. They’re just as beautiful as songbirds. Moreso.

  17. I also love the falcon!
    But I don’t like the fluorescent rock sculptures. I have taken against them, and I’m not 100% convinced that they aren’t fibreglass. Perhaps the artist should have painted Stonehenge for a better effect?
    I am though quite taken by the movie star Nazi’s.

    • I touched them and I can assure you they are stone cold. I wanted to see how much force it would take to topple them over but resisted the urge.

      That artist did a whole series of works based on Nazi movie still. What an odd obsession.

  18. Beautiful photos of the peregrines. You’d think the posh folk would be grateful they killed the rats.
    Spotting the actors was fun except for my failing memory but I got Vic Mature, James Mason, Steve McQueen, Roger Moore, Marlon, Peter Sellars, Yul Brynner and the big Irish widower.
    Is your daughter a dancer?

    • Such a rare delight and the swells on the upper west side are put off by the sight of rats. If you’re squeamish about that sort of thing, perhaps you’re in the wrong city. Move to Greenwich, Connecticut. Clean streets and quiet nights.

      Yul Brynner was my favorite. He was the biggest surprise there.

      My daughter does not dance. She likes to sing and is in a Glee club. But she’s got the right moves, doesn’t she?

    • Good morning, dear. And THANKS for the link! I had no idea about the exhibit. I’d kind of like to see that but it’s unlikely. Do you like it? Or not so much?

      I cannot, CANNOT, imagine my daughter at 38. That’s, like, and adult, isn’t it?

  19. Wonderful photos…both of falcons and of statuary. Working on Madison, 5th floor, I had the occasional pidgeon wander along the window ledge. Always startled me…and ignored me when I threw something at the window.
    Wonder what the purchaser intends to do with the Nazi photo (“feaux Naxi photo”?). I might like to view it and try to remember actors’ names, but live with it? No, thank you.

    • Pigeons are hard core and don’t scare easily. You could’ve thrown a baseball at it and it would’ve stepped out of the way and asked for something to eat afterwards.

      Some of the art I post here is beyond my understanding. Why anyone would buy it is a mystery. I’m sure a lot of it is justs an ostentatious show of their wealth. And that’s what they should’ve titled the piece. Faux Nazis.

  20. “Eyasses” sounds like idiots who aren’t attractive. I’m going to try to sprinkle that word into my conversation frequently from now on. Is it singular or plural?

  21. Good shots. We get them in London as well. Around where I live we had a couple of Golden Eagles last year. They’d soar over the area hunting for food – pigeon population dropped a bit, then they moved on. Haven’t seen them this year. Evidently they had been in a large nearby park, but the exact location had been kept secret to keep the Twitchers away.

    Have Sparrow Hawks regularly flying over upsetting the Crows.

    • I wish I could will their visits but they show up whenever they want and leave just as quickly. They put a crimp in my productivity when they’re around. I had to Google ‘Twitchers.’ And I thought it was going to be just another dull Friday. Thank you!

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