A picture of a yellow taxi cab.

NEWS: Upper East Side in uproar over cab driver feeding pigeons

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He’s ruffling their feathers. 

A yellow taxi driver has been riling Upper East Siders by dumping pounds of birdseed along a 20-block stretch of the neighborhood, attracting rats and hundreds of pigeons — and their poop.

“A lot of birds would come,” said Harvey Fein, 66, a doorman on East 79th Street, who saw the Birdman of Yorkville spreading seed near a retirement home down the block. “It wasn’t a meal for one, it was a family dinner.”

The near-daily feedings, which happen between East 80th and the Ed Koch Bridge, have trained dozens of birds to regularly gather on stretches of 1st and 2nd Avenues, turning walks down these blocks into literal sh-t shows.

“There was one day there were so many I had to cross 64th Street to get across 1st Avenue,” said one 54-year-old hospital administrator who declined to be named. “I’m afraid to walk past because someone is going to poop on me.”

Renee Johnson, 61, supervisor of security at Temple Shaaray Tefila, which is next door to a regular feeding ground for the taxi driver, said her employer has “cleaned my clothes for me because of the pigeons” dropping bombs on her. 

An NYC taxi driver has caused an uproar in the Upper East Side while dumping pounds of birdseeds along a 20-block stretch in the neighborhood.

A picture of a yellow taxi cab.
After the taxi driver dumped the bird seeds on the corner of East 80th Street and 1st Avenue, the irate driver flipped the bird and shouted “F–k you” after he saw someone taking a picture.

No one knows why the driver, who appears to use 20-to 40-pound bags of seed, is so dedicated to his feathered friends.

“He could be doing it for karma,” offered neighbor Mike Volfman. “It’s good karma with his religion and bad karma with Upper East Side residents.”

The cabbie is not as kind to his fellow humans though.

After he dumped enough seed “to feed a couple hundred birds” on the corner of East 80th Street and 1st Avenue, the irate driver flipped the bird and shouted “F–k you” after he saw Volfman taking a picture of his cab.

Volfman has filed complaints with the Taxi & Limousine Commission and started a petition to put a stop to the feeding frenzy.

“I’ve heard that the TCL [sic] will not do anything, so I want to get local government involved,” he wrote.

A picture of birds flocking at a corner covered with bird seeds.
Upper East side residents said the bird seeds attracted rats, hundred of pigeons, and their feces.
Hillary Woodward

Longtime resident Hillary Woodward had a spat with the driver in late August, after he left his cab parked at the M15 bus stop during rush hour to scatter his seeds.

“The bird poop itself and the birds flying in our faces is a health problem because they’re germ carriers,” she said. “I told him, ‘Hey, you’re contributing to a problem here.’”

Not everyone is outraged. One 25-year-old who fed birds on her fire escape during the pandemic thinks the pigeons are “misunderstood.”

“If you ask anyone around here, they’ll say they poop everywhere, they’re dirty,” she said. “I think they’re really cute.”

The driver recently declined to comment to The Post after leaving enough bird food near the synagogue to draw more than 50 pigeons and sparrows.

A woman being swarmed by pigeons.
Earlier this year, residents in Kips Bay started a petition to put a stop to excessive pigeon feeding in their neighborhood.
J.C. Rice for NY Post

Feeding pigeons isn’t against the law, but people who feed the birds and do not clean up any of the resulting waste may receive violations. A 2019 Parks Department proposal to ban feeding pigeons and squirrels, and institute a $50 penalty, faced swift backlash.

Feeding pigeons birdseed attracts rats, which further breeds disease,” said Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, who represents the Upper East Side, Yorkville, and Roosevelt Island. “I have urgently asked the Taxi and Limousine Commission and the Health Department to rectify this serious public health hazard.”

TLC said that it “strongly encourages all licensed drivers to operate professionally and that includes acting as good neighbors in the communities they serve. We take all complaints seriously and address them as appropriate.”

Earlier this year, residents in Kips Bay started a similar petition to put a stop to excessive pigeon feeding in their neighborhood.



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