City Trashes Bushwick's Smoking, Drinking Teddy Bear
BUSHWICK — A giant, smoking and drinking teddy bear taped to a pole in Bushwick that attracted locals' attention has been taken down.
The bear, which was taped to a traffic light pole at Harman Street and Wyckoff Avenue, was stuffed into a trash can nearby Friday afternoon — several weeks after it went up — because the Department of Sanitation determined it a possible driving hazard.
While the giant white teddy bear, which had been holding alternating cans of beer and cigarettes, technically wasn't illegal, "it is still a potential source for litter, unsightly and [a] vision hazard for motorists and pedestrians alike," Kathy Dawkins, the city's Department of Sanitation spokeswoman, said in a statement.
"The Department worked with the individual who removed the teddy bear and other items from the traffic control device," Dawkins said.
Locals and visitors had been snapping photos of the white teddy bear holding a Corona Extra box and Newport cigarettes since it went up about three weeks ago.
Resident David Ramirez, 43, called the bear's personality "perfect" for the neighborhood, while local superintendent Tito Miranda, 55, said many neighbors loved seeing the goofy stuffed animal.
Those who loved the vice-loving teddy bear say they may try to revive it.
Resident Javier Natal, 52, claimed that he and his friends put up the bear two months ago — and they might be "sneaky" and put another one up, he said.
"We'll find a bigger bear," Natal joked.
Natal and his friends are known to hang out on Harman Street on Friday nights, drinking and goofing around, several residents said, and many people said they suspected that the group had put the bear up.
Natal said they found the bear in the trash one night, and were inspired to goof around.
They taped him up, put a beer in his hand and saw the bear turn into a local character. As time went on, others added items like the box of Newport cigarettes and a wooden organizer.
"People started taking pictures of him," Natal said with a laugh."It formed on its own."
The corner looks different without the smiling bear, said Ali Sidi, 19, who works at the bodega at the intersection.
But he shrugged about the city taking it down.
"We had fun with it while it lasted," he said.