Mandarin duck, one of NYC's famous animals

Coexisting alongside the 8.5 million people in New York City are the animals that have made the Concrete Jungle their home. This most obviously includes pigeons, squirrels, and rats, but a plethora of other animals stalk the streets of the city. Some of NYC’s famous animals become so well-known that they eventually turn into symbols of New York themselves.

In a previous post, we took a look at some of New York City’s most well-known feline residents, who live in bodegas, hotels, and bookstores. Now, we’re covering NYC’s famous animals throughout history. (This, by no means, is an exhaustive list, so let us know your favorite New York-based critters, creatures, and pets in the comments).

1. Jim, Harry, and Phil, the Peacocks of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Peacock at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine
Courtesy of The Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Peacocks have been a presence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine since the 1980s when they were donated by the Bronx Zoo. Jim and Harry, the blue males, arrived in 2002, and Phil, the white-feathered one, came later. See more photos of them “strutting their stuff” on the Cathedral of St. John the Divine Facebook page here. On January 21st, 2023, the three peacocks retired to Animal Nation, an animal sanctuary in upstate New York where they can be properly cared for as they age.

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine has many fun facts and secrets, among them three resident peacocks named Jim, Harry, and Phil. These colorful birds are named after clergymen at the Cathedral. One even has his own Twitter account: @CathedralPhil, although he hasn’t sent an update since 2019.