For Whom the Bells Toll

Soon we’ll have much more on the installation of Albany’s City Hall carillon – it was quite the endeavor – but for now, this interesting little snippet from the Albany Evening News of August 23, 1927:

Proud City Hall Pigeons Worried by Strange Operations in Their Home

With Cuyler Reynolds Away and Food also Scarce, Birds Consider Uniting With Lowly Plaza Brethern [sic]

The City hall pigeons, who have always considered themselves superior to the Plaza flock because their residence has been established longer, are getting some tough breaks these days. Not only are they being dispossessed from their home in the belfry by the installation of the municipal carillon, but also their sole humanitarian friend who always feeds them, Cuyler Reynolds, city historian, is on his vacation.

It seems that the pigeons are just beginning to realize that the queer looking apparatus that is being installed in their old homestead, the belfry, is there to stay. They will be surer that they are persona non grata when a heavy wire mesh is placed over the apertures in the tower, as is planned after the installation of the carillon is completed.

Meanwhile the majority of the birds have taken temporary quarters in the balcony over the entrance of the building, but it is understood that these lodgings are somewhat unsatisfactory because of the noises from the street. Alliance with the Plaza flock has been hinted at by some of the younger and more radical members of the drove, but has been frowned upon by the senior conservatives, who look upon the Plaza birds as upstarts.

So the pigeons are awaiting for one of their flock to set himself up as a Moses and lead them into a new land of plenty, where carillons are unknown.

It should be noted that Cuyler Reynolds was the first curator of the Albany Institute of History and Art, and served as its director for 10 years. Author of “Albany Chronicles,” he was the city historian as well. And, apparently, a known pigeon-feeder.

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