As Mandarin Duck Mania continues unabated in Central Park, a little circus has sprung up around The Pond (at 60th and 5th) where it can most often be found. On a recent Saturday when I walked by, the duck (a.k.a. Mandarin Patinkin) was not there, but his fans were. Some hollered, "Is that him?!" at the Wood Duck (no, that is not him). Some sat on rocks, waiting. Others explained to their companions what the big deal was. And even more recently, a new character has joined the scene: the Mandarin Dog.
No one knows a viral moment like a dog with a social media presence.
Roxie in the City has been at the center of "parody videos on her Facebook and Instagram pages, playing different characters from movies, TV shows and Broadway musicals," one of her owners, John, tells me. But Roxie's role of a lifetime came when she received her Mandarin Duck costume, created by Kaori Osaki.
We strolled over to the Pond earlier this week with the Mandarin Dog (and her dads, Jason and John) to witness her first ever encounter with the Mandarin Duck. Enjoy this children's book come to life:
What inspired this delightful moment? "We were walking by the pond one afternoon and saw the commotion," John said. "A lady informed us about the Mandarin duck sightings in that area. We waited for an hour but he wasn’t there that time. We went back the week after and still no sightings... all we saw was paparazzi waiting for his appearance. Then I thought, 'What if Roxie shows up there at the Pond one day wearing a coat that looks like the duck?'"
Their original idea was to shoot a music video, while capturing natural expressions of passersby when they saw Roxie dressed as the duck—it would be "a sequel to our Lion King parody that we released last year, when Roxie ran around the Plaza Hotel dressed like Simba."
As for that costume, John says they gave Osaki very specific instructions—"We [wanted it] to look homemade. She can do an exact replica of the Mandarin duck if she wants to... but it won’t be as funny [as a] 'Dad made a costume for his child for a school play'" look.
The costume is made of felt and faux fur, and is based off of "the hundreds of pictures of the Mandarin duck from the internet." John claims Osaka has refused to make another Mandarin duck costume, so don't even try it.