Estimated reading time: 3 minute(s)

On December 4, 2021, I happened upon a proverbial Christmas menagerie on a front lawn in Gowanus, Brooklyn, near the neighborhood’s imaginary border with Carroll Gardens. You will find my photo of the full scene below:

A proverbial Christmas menagerie featuring Snoopy, R2-D2, an elf, a penguin, a snowman, and two unicorns in Gowanus.
I took the photo with the Open Camera App on my Motorola Moto e6. Edited for publication by Victor V. Gurbo.

We have all sorts of outdoor Christmas displays in Brooklyn. There are nativity scenes, fun non-religious displays, gaudy displays for tourists, past-their-prime-displays, and set-ups where it looks like Christmas exploded on someone’s front lawn.

The display in the above picture falls into the latter category. Christmas exploded on a front lawn (or as some may say, became queasy on the front lawn). There are enough animals – real and fantasy – to call the scene a menagerie. Let us break down what is happening here.

What is Happening?

Before continuing, we need to take inventory of the decorations on this lawn:

  • Candy canes (X2)
  • Snoopy on ice skates
  • Elf
  • Small snowman
  • Boxes of presents
  • R2-D2 with a Santa-hat
  • Reindeer
  • Ice-fishing penguin with blue (Santa?-)hat standing on an igloo, unfortunate fish on fishing line (why no Santa-hat?)
  • Large snowman with top-hat (Frosty?)
  • Two unicorns with pink manes (fighting?)
  • Two nutcrackers (background)

Suffice it to say, there is a great deal happening here. I think that there may be something in between R2-D2 and the (maybe?) fighting unicorns, but I cannot tell what it is from my picture. We can update the article next time I walk by the scene.

For purposes of the instant inquiry, two features of the Gowanus Christmas menagerie demand special attention.

The Fishing Penguin

An ice-fishing penguin on an igloo as part of a Christmas display on a lawn in Gowanus.
I took the photo with the Open Camera App on my Motorola Moto e6. Edited for publication by Victor V. Gurbo.

We have an igloo. Atop the igloo is a penguin. The penguin is wearing what appears to be a blue Santa-hat. Is it a Santa-hat? If so, why is it blue? I digress. The penguin has a fishing rod. I assume that it is ice-fishing (being on an igloo and all). It has a fish on its line. The fish does not have a Santa-hat. Does this fish know that it is Christmas? Will the fish be invited to celebrate Christmas or is it destined to be Christmas dinner? There is precedent for would-be holiday dinner being adopted as a pet, after all. If the fish is dinner, will the penguin share with the elf? The elf looks hungry.

The Unicorns

Two pink-mained unicorns in a Christmas display on a lawn in Gowanus.
I took the photo with the Open Camera App on my Motorola Moto e6. Edited for publication by Victor V. Gurbo.

When I saw the unicorns, my first thought was to wonder what they have to do with Christmas. Where are their Santa-hats? My second thought was to wonder if they are fighting. Did anyone tell them that it is Christmas? They cannot save the unicorn showdowns for the 26th?

Christmas unicorns seem to be a trend around here. Recall that I posted an article about a Christmas unicorn and dinosaur in January 2021 (that unicorn was “pony-sized“). I have seen other unicorns in Christmas displays in Brooklyn, especially in Gowanus and Carroll Gardens. What is happening? What does this have to do with Christmas?

At least R2-D2 has a Santa-hat.

Conclusion: Makes You Think, Doesn’t It?

On one hand, the Christmas display that I featured above is entertaining. But is there a deeper message? It gives visitors quite a bit to think about. What’s with the fishing penguin? Why are there unicorns (and why are they fighting)? Who invited R2-D2? Is the fish joining the party? How is it the case that the elf is the one who doesn’t fit in a Christmas display? Perhaps this is not a Christmas explosion or the result of Christmas having spoiled milk to go with the cookies. Is there profundity lurking? Is there a greater message?

Probably not.

But I tip my Santa-hat (I’m not wearing one, but neither are the unicorns) to whoever set up this over-the-top Christmas menagerie.