Here’s an excerpt from my latest article “Snapshots from Sunset Park” at thebrooklynink.com
The line at Petland Discounts stretches halfway to the back of the store, where a glass enclosure the entire length of the back wall advertises a cache of exotic birds.
Just behind the glass, a huge African gray parrot preens atop a $1,200 perch. The parrot itself is on discount, only $1488, while all around it, rows of lesser birds — among them finches, canaries and the store’s top-selling parakeets—squawk and warble. It is not an impressive display; almost all of them are molting.
A man in a leather jacket stops to admire the menagerie. “Excuse me, which one of these talks?”
The salesman taps the plastic beside the African gray. “This one, the green one, and those over there,” he said, pointing. “Other than that, they’re all beasts.”