Victor Casiano is the last survivor of a once-mighty tribe: the rooftop pigeon fliers of Morningside Heights. According to Victor, pigeon coops used to grace virtually every rooftop.
Now there’s only Victor and his beloved flock of flights and tumblers, magpies and fantails.
I met Victor last weekeend during Manhattan Valley Family Days, a community event that was part of the NYC Department of Transportation Weekend Walks Program.
He sat at a table with a cage full of birds, a small selection of his rooftop flock.
An effective ambassador to a passing world, Victor proudly showed off his birds, all the while chatting with friends and neighbors.
He explained the differences between his birds, easily flipping open wings to display the markings.
He taught children how to hold and release the birds
and placed a hand-raised baby pigeon on their shoulders
He patiently answered endless questions from this writer
and promised to take me up to his rooftop coop on Amsterdam Avenue.
Oh, how I love New York.