RIP Zelda


There are many magical things about living in downtown Manhattan, but today there’s one less. Zelda, the wild turkey of Battery Park, has died.

The news hit the Curbed tipline today courtesy of the good people at The Battery Conservancy, the group which first spotted and named Zelda back in 2003. (The genesis of the name, per DNAInfo: “The conservancy named Zelda after the wife of novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, because she, too, was found wandering the park, supposedly after a nervous breakdown.”) It rocketed around a group of Curbed writers including myself, Joey Arak, and Sara Polsky, all of whom had served time on the Zelda beat at one time or another.

Curbed caught Zelda fever early on. Joey Arak’s headline on a post about another wild turkey up in Morningside Heights, “Turkey Trots Around Like He Owns the Freakin’ Place” became a favorite Curbed headline trope, appearing on Curbed each time another reader sent in another Zelda sighting. The bird became a fascination for other local NYC media outlets, too, like Gothamist and DNAInfo.

Even as fears grew over recent years that Zelda’s lifespan would naturally come to an end sooner or later. But then Zelda survived Sandy, and seemed indestructible.

Alas, she wasn’t. A car hit Zelda near Pier 11 last week, as she strolled along like she owned the freakin’ place. RIP.