Posted tagged ‘Biblical Garden’

NYC Peacocks and Blossoms

March 31, 2012

It’s cold and grey today, cold enough that I wished I had brought gloves on my morning dog walk.  So to warm us all up, here are recent photos from a walk through the grounds of Saint John the Divine in Morningside Heights.  As you look, you must try to imagine the continual sound of Saint John’s three peacock boys, screeching like trumpeting elephants and honking like city buses.

Phil, the white peacock, strolls in the garden by Columbus Avenue.

So many colors in the gardens:


Are these hyacinths?



and white again

Ah, here is the wall that surrounds the secret garden, the Biblical garden where plants grow that are named in the Bible.

Let’s take a closer look.

Why not go inside?

Look, tulips

Let’s have a seat. The birds don’t mind us.

Okay, enough sitting. Time to look for the other peacocks. Ah, here’s one now.

A little higher with the tail, please.

And … we’re done.

Sparrows and pigeons share the peacocks’ food, put out in a cookie tin near their house.

“Wait a minute, I want some of that.”

On our way to Morningside Avenue, we spot the third peacock, perching and watching. (Blurry, thanks to the dog pulling at the leash.)

Until next time…

NYC Peacock on Hurricane Sunday

August 30, 2011

In the early evening on Hurricane Sunday, after Irene had blown by, I headed over to Saint John the Divine to find out how Morningside Heights’s three neighborhood peacocks had weathered the storm.

Some restaurants were open, and the city was returning to life.  On Amsterdam Avenue, kids hid out behind a car parked in front of the Hungarian Pastry Shop.

At Saint John’s, small branches tried to block passage through the lovely cast iron gates.

On the cathedral grounds, treetops swayed in the gusting wind.

Despite downed leaves and twigs, the Biblical garden looked as peaceful and orderly as ever.

Outside the garden, one peacock loafed about in front of the coop he shares with two other peacocks. See that elongated speck below the windows? That’s him.

Let’s take a closer look.

But wait a minute: what happened to his tail feathers?

When last seen several weeks ago, the gentleman had been standing on top of his shack, and he was stylin’.

It’s tempting to imagine that the poor guy lost his tail feathers struggling like Lear against the hurricane’s winds and rain. But in truth, we can’t blame Irene for his diminishment.  It’s simply that time of year.

As summer comes to an end, peacocks shed their dazzling breeding plumage.  In early spring, they’ll regrow those glorious tail feathers in preparation for the summer mating season, when they strut and shiver their spread tails to attract peahens.  From April to July or August, the peacocks of Morningside Heights shake their tail feathers at every opportunity, even though they are all males and have no contact with potential mates. They don’t seem to care who, or even what, they shake their booty for. The white peacock regularly displayed his glory to an indifferent hedge.

Although I only spotted one peacock, the security guard assured me that all three had come through the storm with, er, flying colors.  I walked on to Morningside Park (about which, more soon), then turned toward home.

Blue skies broke over Columbus Avenue.

Saint John the Divine: A Secret Garden in Morningside Heights

April 19, 2010

The grounds of Saint John the Divine Cathedral in Morningside Heights are stunning.

The secret garden at Saint John the Divine

They are also open to the community for strolling and contemplation.Peacocks roam freely through the gardens.

White peacock strolls in its gardens

or parade along ledgesWhenever they choose, the peacocks can retire to their large coop to watch the world go byFlowers bloom everywhere

and brass birds keep watch

Crazy Mohawk bird

Griffon in the garden

Friendly dove

At the back of the Cathedral, high above Morningside Heights, a pair of red-tailed hawks nest on the shoulders of a long-suffering saint

Photo by rbs at

Saint John the Divine is a magical place. Come visit.

Please stop by Bloomingdale Village for more photos of Saint John’s resident hawks. Although I have not seen them, the babies have apparently hatched.

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