New York is a Zoo! Street Art and the Animal Kingdom

This Spring New York City had a few wild coyotes running in Central Park looking for prey.

Unfortunately the only flesh that could be hunted was one of the Lehman Brothers hiding in a cave in the Brambles since the crash and a couple of lost social x-rays looking for the old Tavern on the Green. More plastic than meat.

In fact New York has it’s share of wildlife, and I don’t just mean the Annual Zombie Crawl or Amanda LaPore, or even Macy’s One Day Sale. Since the early 2000’s the D.I.Y. kids fascination with putting lifelike animals on every available surface has continued unabated, and street artists have similarly loosed plenty of birds, frogs, cats, snakes, rabbits, wolves, squirrels, bees and multiple other species onto our streets. The occurrence of lifelike and fictional animals has been frightening, adorable, educational, and enjoyable.

One theory for the reappearance of the natural world in such numbers on our street walls (yes, there are theories) is rooted in native people prophecies that the animals are spirits coming to reclaim what once was theirs. Looking at how humans are rapaciously mucking up the natural world, I don’t know why they haven’t started diving at our necks already.

So, perhaps all of these street art animals are here to remind us how vital it is for us to to re-connect with them and live in harmony with each other. For instance, I give the squirrels and pigeons of our city much credit for making it here; Tough, resilient, and cranky, they may be the original New Yorkers. I’ve learned so much from them. When a pigeon refuses to move from the spot on the sidewalk where she is waddling I smile and walk around. New York is hers as much as it is mine, dammit.

The images below, some previously published on BSA and some brand new, are a tribute to both the artists and their subjects.

Pigeons (Photo © Jaime Rojo)
Actual New York pigeons (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Yote Love
Yote (photo © Jaime Rojo)

QRST is king only he needs a kiss.
QRST is actually Prince Charming. Kiss him and you’ll see. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Elbow Toe
Elbow Toe (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Roa (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Hellbent (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Gaia (Photo © Jaime Rojo)
Gaia (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pork, Mint and Serf (Detail) (Photo © Jaime Rojo)
Pork, Mint and Serf (Detail) (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mother Wolf (Photo © Jaime Rojo)
Mother Wolf (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Shin Shin
Shin Shin (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Veng is a Walrus
Veng  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Yote (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Gaia (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Yote: A Star is Born (Photo © Jaime Rojo)