One of the unknown sights in New York is the three with stuffed animals that is in Brooklyn. It has an interesting story to it which became a hobby.
The stuffed animal tree is located in Bergen Beach, Brooklyn on East 70th Street. It is not a campaign by the City, nor by any brand or company. It is the hobby of Eugene Fellner which started out of the blue when he retired a few years ago.
“It just kind of happened one day when a neighbor called me and said there was a stuffed tiger around the corner. I picked it up, brought it home, and placed it on the tree”, Fellner says to the Canarsie Courier. Then he noted that people were starting to look at the stuffed tiger. Some were admiring it, others would be scared if they didn’t noticed it on time. That was back in 2007.
A lot of time passed before the second stuffed animal went up, he recalls. Then the stuffies kept coming. The cherry tree is almost completely engulfed in more than 1100 stuffed animals in all shapes and sizes. Some of Fellner’s neighbors also help him out. They bring him bags with stuffies for him to add to his ever growing tree collection.
But don’t just think Fellner simply attaches the stuffed toys to the tree and that’s that. He has seamstresses who donate their time to repair weather worn stuffies. The stuffed animals are regularly inspected and maintained when there is a need to do so.
He has only lost a few of the animals over the years when tree branches snapped off, but the stuffed toys fared well during Hurricane Sandy. If the stuffed critters get dirty and matted, Fellner just cleans them off with soap and water.
Actually, Fellner’s biggest problem is that he is running out of space. The tree isn’t growing as fast as the stuffed animals are coming. So far he is managing it, a local lumberjack is also helping him out by climbing the tree from time to time to attach stuffies on the taller branches.
He adds he loves the sight during the spring then the stuffies are cleaned, thee tree is blooming and the baseball season is starting. He’s always happy to see people come by to look at the tree and take photos of it and greets them with the same pitch: “Hey, do you have a stuffed animal to spare?”