Once, I was a peacock. I remember how sensual and freeing it felt during those four minutes of dancing and prancing at the Rajah Theatre in 1994. My ensemble included a hand-painted unitard, colorful plumes streaming from my back down to my ankles, and my perch in a handmade birdcage from which I later emerged only to chassé and grand jeté in front of 2,000 people. It was one of the most fantastic costumes I’d ever worn on the stage. Since then, I’ve often thought about peacocks, who hold a special place in my heart.
Perhaps I recognize my multicolored connection to these stunning winged creatures, who become shy or stubborn in showing their vibrant side when others are observing. Or maybe, it’s the anticipation that I appreciate when waiting patiently for the spread to happen, and at times, it doesn’t. (I leave disappointed only to return again.) At the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Morningside Heights, several gorgeous peacocks roam freely on the church grounds. Jim, Harry, and Phil (in white) live there year round, and the public can admire the birds free of charge. If you visit, the reluctant group may or may not flash their feathers, but either way, you’ll see peacocks.
St. John the Divine is the largest cathedral in the world. The church is known for friendliness and acceptance of people from all cultures and faiths. As a church for all beings, the furry, four-legged, feathered, etc. are honored at the annual Blessing of the Animals ceremony each October.
Photographer Katie Sokoler recently shot the vivid trio for Winged Animal Week. You can view 24 photos of the peacocks at St. John the Divine on Gothamist.
I wonder how many hours she needed to get these magnificent feather shots?