Quick Recipes and Easy

The Pizza Man And The Parrots?

Another day ends as the crimson sun sets beyond the glistening waters of the Verrazano where kites glide, joggers jog and lovers stare. It’s no wonder Brooklyn is the star child of New York.

Well-known for its humble beginnings and ahem… a few A-list celebrities: Barbara Streisand, Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow, Marisa Tomei and Tony Danza each started their legacies here.

The food? Let’s just say when it comes to food, no where on earth will you find better bagels, mozzarella, or pizza. John Travolta place Brooklyn “on the map” in 1977 when he played the role of neighborhood ruffian Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever, ate a piled high triple slice of pizza at Lenny’s on 86th Street and strutted his stuff through the streets of Bensonhurst.

In this fantastic town, there is always room for more! In the land of Badda-boom, Fughettabout it, and thick-necked tough guys are some docile newcomers: the Green Monk (Quaker) Parrots, a.k.a (Myopsitta Monachus) which have inhabited the town’s trees and utility poles. As legend would have it, the gorgeous South American decedents destined for sale at local area pet shops escaped (or rumored to have been released) from a shipping crate at Kennedy Airport in 1968. They have adapted brilliantly to harsh NYC winters by nesting near warm power lines and transformers. As a result the birds have multiplied and appeared in satelite colonies delighting most residents throughout the borough.

According to www.brooklynparrots.com, the adorable tropical newbies are so adaptable in fact, that they’ve developed a taste for our pizza! What is it about Brooklyn pizza that attracts tropical birds or anyone for that matter? Neapolitan thin-crust or thick Sicilian, round or square, classic or nouveau, no one makes Americans’ favorite food better than Brooklyn pizzerias. Perhaps it’s the light, crispy crust made with the freshest toppings? Who knows? Parrot Expert, Steve Baldwin tells like this:

“I was walking down Brooklyn’s Bedford Avenue on Friday when I heard a pronounced crunching sound coming from overhead. I looked up, and there in a tree was a pair of wild monk parrots sharing a slice of pizza. “Eureka!” – I shouted, reaching for my trusty camera, cognizant that I was on the cusp of a new discovery that would forever enlighten scientists studying the fascinating species known as Myiopsitta Monachus. For while it has been known since Charles Darwin studied the monk parrot in the 1830′s that the species is “omnivorous” (meaning that it will eat nearly anything, as long as it tastes excellent), and that bagel-eating among New Jersey wild parrots has been demonstrated in the field (Evans-Fragale, 2004) no actual evidence of pizza-eating among wild parrots has, to my knowledge, existed in the formal literature, until now.”

Despite neighborhood hospitality cultural diversity and the best pizza in the U.S., the birds are moving on. They have been spotted setting up nests in the Bronx, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Florida.

I’d have to say that it’s a real honor to be graced with culinary accolades from The Wild Parrots of Brooklyn. The parrots help to make Brooklyn a small greener and remind us that the best things in life really are free – even if the pizza is not.

Art imitates life for Brooklyn Author Nancy S. Mure, who made The Pizza Man and the Parrots, illustrated by Tom Torre. The heartwarming and humorous children’s tale is about a excellent natured Pizza Man and the talking birds who prove to be his toughest customers! nancysmure.com nancysmure.com

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