Sunday, November 13, 2011

Saint John's White Peacock

I visited the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine on the Upper West Side of Manhattan this week. They started building this in the 1800s. It's not finished yet. Stone masons tap away there at a medieval pace.

On the way, I passed the famous restaurant at the corner of 112th and Broadway that was used for external shots of the cafe in the 1990s sitcom, Seinfeld. 
After an hour in the cathedral, I took a walk in the churchyard. It's a good place for a quiet stroll.
But New York is unpredictable and it still surprises me sometimes, even though I have lived here for more than 20 years. I looked up from my thoughts and saw a white peacock! Here's a picture to prove it... click on it for a closer look.

I subsequently found that peafowl have lived on the grounds at Saint John the Divine for decades. They were gifts. They have a heated shelter where they are regularly fed. Although I did not see them, two others of the more common blue and green kind live there too.

They stay near the church, though the gates are open and nothing visible keeps them from strolling down Amsterdam Avenue. They seem to know that they are church peacocks.

The peacock is an old Christian symbol of resurrection, possibly because it annually molts and re-grows its showy feathers. Peacock feathers are added to church decorations at Easter season, and a few peacocks show up in Christmas nativity scenes.

Take it from me. When you encounter an unexpected white peacock anywhere in Manhattan, it seems like a miracle.


  1. You've discovered one of my favorite places in NYC - and one of my favorite birds. I regularly visit the peacocks of St John's. Did you wander into the Biblical Garden? Such a sweet spot. Here is a link to a post featuring the Great White Peacock of St John's:

  2. Wow -- thanks for the link to more photos of Saint John's white peacock! He kept his tail tightly folded while I was looking at him. He was still a delightful surprise for me. I don't think I was in the Biblical Garden, just around the strange fountain with devil head, giraffes, and angel or whatever... I'll go back for another look soon.