simple is beautiful
New York Daily Photo: Eeylop Owl Emporium
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Sunday, 22 July 2007

Eeylop Owl Emporium

I hate to contribute any further to the Harry Potter mania, but I thought these rarely seen, remarkable birds deserved a posting - after all, it's not their fault they were part of a promotion. After strolling through Scholastic's Harry Potter Place in SOHO on Friday night (see yesterday's posting), I later passed through Union Square with a friend when we noticed that the Barnes and Noble superstore there was having its own big fest with special activities on every floor. The place was absolutely mobbed and at one point wristbands were being distributed to gain access. We decided to make a quick pass through the store and were absolutely shocked when on the ground floor in we saw a huge live owl perched on this man's arm and a baby companion nearby. This was obviously part of the Potter theme - a sign proclaiming this area as "Eeylop Owl Emporium" was prominently displayed and as fans know, owls play a big part in the Potter series as characters. People were gawking in astonishment to see these two owls in the middle of one of the city's largest bookstores in Manhattan. I spoke briefly to the owner/handler about this unusual sight - he did acknowledge that owls are not typically domesticated - he had raised them from birth. It is not until afterwards in reading for this article that I learned it is illegal to keep owls without a special permit in most countries and that the United States does not allow private individuals to keep native owls as pets - they may only be possessed by trained, licensed individuals while being rehabilitated or under a number of other special situations (click here). This store is one of my favorites, occupying the entire 6-story restored, former Century Building at 33 W. 17th Street - their windows offer great unobstructed views of Union Square Park ...


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