I first saw Tina Trachtenburg and her soft-sculpture pigeons in Union Square last April. Tina calls herself Mother Pigeon, and created the sculptures as a way to help people "understand that pigeons are beautiful." She moves them around the city to various parks, but I've seen her most frequently in Union Square.
I am not afraid to admit that I detest real pigeons—actually I'm kind of frightened of birds in general—but I'm obsessed with Tina's creations. I can't help but stop every time I see them to see what they're up to, and to donate whatever I can spare. I never mind giving money to people that move me in some way, and it's hard to put my finger on why exactly, but I just love these pigeons. They're so cute and quirky and very realistic—from a few feet away you'd swear they were real until you realize they aren't moving.
It's not just the pigeons themselves, but the whole set-up that's perfect. I love her signs and her various props—in addition to pigeons, she also has a grouping of smaller birds and pizza slices. She most recently added a few rats nibbling on a slice of pizza, a wonderful scene I can only assume was inspired by overnight New York celebrity (and my spirit animal), Pizza Rat.
I don't know Tina and I've never talked to her, but if you see her and her pigeons please be respectful. I've seen people rearranging her scenes to get the photo they want (which I think is so rude) and little kids run up and grab the sculptures while their parents do nothing. You can tell a lot of thought and work goes into these sculptures, and they've brightened many of my days in ways that real pigeons never would. I love that I live in a world that not only has a Pizza Rat, but also has a woman who loves all of New York's creatures enough to turn them into art.