A SoHo landlord is suing her tenant for feeding pigeons on her fire escape, claiming the omnipresent winged rats are disturbing customers at the boutique below. This still seems slightly more sanitary a situation than the one involving the woman who's raising baby pigeons in her pasta colander, but bird crap is bird crap, after all.
Saada Roberts, who owns the building at 28 Bond Street, filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme County against tenant and apparent ornithophile Margaret Lee. Lee, 64 allegedly likes to reward the pigeons who pay visits to her fourth-floor window with birdseed, a habit Roberts says leaves birdseed and bird poop on the sidewalk below. The mess, Roberts alleges, is causing problems for the OAK boutique in the building.
"OAK advised that it cannot keep the front door to its store open because a pigeon has gone into the store and no one can sit in front of its store because of pigeon feces dropping from (Lee’s) premises," the lawsuit reads. Roberts' attorney, David Brody, also claimed that both bird feces and pigeon pecking is doing damage to the front of the building.
Lee, meanwhile, told the Daily News she couldn't abandon pigeon friend George, even if it meant losing her rent-stabilized apartment. "My lawyers advised me: 'Look, our priority was keeping you in your place. We achieved that. Be happy that you’re safe and secure in your place and stop feeding the pigeons,'" she told the tabloid. "And there’s George, still looking in my window, and I’m thinking 'What do I do?'"
And though anecdotal evidence suggests pigeons do get to sample some fine dining in this town, she told the Post that her pigeon-feeding habit was a crusade to help save the oft-maligned birds. "They live in a world where every bite counts, so I try to help them in any way I can," she said. "I believe that pigeons get a really raw deal, so I decided I was going to stand up for them as best I could."
Unfortunately, she'll have to stand up for them a little less for now—yesterday a judge told her she'll temporarily have to cease feeding George and his pals until the court can hold a hearing on her case. Don't worry, George, I'm sure you'll find a nice halal cart to pillage soon.