The New York City Elephant
One afternoon I saw a baby elephant swimming in the pond in Central Park. He didn’t appear to be with anyone so when he got out of the water I walked up to him and asked if he had a place to stay. I didn’t open my mouth when I asked him, I “thought asked him” and he “thought answered me back” stating that he did not have a place to stay. So, we walked together on the sidewalk down 8th Ave. to our apartment in Chelsea. No one said a word, no one even asked a question or took a picture. You know how New Yorkers are, you can literally walk an elephant down the sidewalk and no one will be surprised.
Once we arrived it was obvious that he was not going to find our tall but very thin, four-room railroad apartment comfortable so we walked straight down the hall and out to the garden patio in the back. All of the buildings on our block share a common courtyard and that baby elephant has been living back there ever since. He likes the trees and the fountains and the vegetable gardens and the cats and benches. Everyone gave up their backyard space for him and he has the run of the inside of the whole city block. We built a heated shelter for winter and he paints on canvas and works out on a giant treadmill when he is not rolling in mud or peeking in windows.
At first I tried to get him to go to a preserve but he said he didn’t want to go, he said he likes New York City and that Manhattan is where he wants to live. He actually told me that for a long time he didn’t even know he was an elephant. He thought he was a beautiful girl with long legs and he said he had aspirations of dancing with the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. When he finally realized he was an elephant he decided he wanted to at least be part of the city and so he stayed.
He likes visitors you can go and see him anytime you want. Some people charge to go through their building but I never did, I always let people come and look for free. He adores people and loves to talk: you’d be surprised how easy it is to talk to an elephant.
Some people are scared to talk to him because they don’t trust the words they hear him putting into their head. But I found him to be fascinating. We used to talk about Gandhi and Jesus and why he thinks the sun continues to burn and the sacred land he believes elephants go to when they die. We would often take walks at three in the morning, down to the Village or up to the Park. “You two fit in perfectly with all the other weirdos out at that time,” my neighbor Bernice would say.
I still get holiday cards from him, that’s why I know he is still there. If you ever get to the city let me know. I’ll make sure you get to meet him. ©Excerpt from “The Almost True Tales, Thoughts & Observations of a Life Long Black Sheep Rebel Girl”
Thank you for reading my thoughts,
Stay wild stay free,
Black Sheep Rebel Girl