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I published an article about unsanitary conditions at outdoor dining set-ups in Brooklyn, New York, several months ago. That article focused on standing water collecting around and under these makeshift establishments. To be sure, the outdoor dining situation in Brooklyn has grown worse in the intervening months. Bags of garbage bracket some, rats live under the garbage filled ones and others, and many are generally filthy or abandoned. Fortunately, New York City is tackling the situation by doing absolutely nothing other than making them permanent (oh wait…).

I describe many of the outdoor dining set-ups as evincing chicken coops. To be sure, there are also sheds, greenhouses, incubators, and homeless encampments – but chicken coops are the most common set-up. Bearing in mind that Brooklyn restaurants are clogging the streets and sidewalks with proverbial chicken coops, I was amused to encounter two pigeons milling around in one of the establishments on Smith Street in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Boerum Hill.

Two pigeons walking around an outdoor dining set-up in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn.
I took the photo with the Open Camera App on my Motorola Moto e6 on June 6, 2021. Edited for publication by Victor V. Gurbo.

Let it be said that The New Leaf Journal is a pigeon-friendly publication. I like pigeons enough that we have a pigeon tag. Having noted my pro-pigeon sensibilities, I must opine that the presence of pigeons – not to mention graffiti – in an outdoor dining set-up for a restaurant that was still in business at the time I took the photo, does not suggest unimpeachable sanitary conditions for the human consumption of food. To be fair to our feathered-friends, the presence of pigeons was probably less concerning than the people who invite their dogs to sit on the tables where said food will be placed, but bad is not always the enemy of worse.

With all this being said, I am not eating in any of these chicken coops. That allowed me to find the pigeons enjoying some quality outdoor dining on the trendy Smith Street, which is characterized by moderately upscale bars and restaurants with a distinctly yuppie vibe, more amusing than troubling.