BUSHWICK — A giant white teddy bear affixed to a Bushwick utility pole accompanied by a rotating assortment of vices — from beer to cigarettes — has been entertaining locals who wonder what the stuffed animal will be up to next.
The bear, which has a Valentine's Day-red ribbon tied around its neck, has been taped to a pole at the corner of Harman Street and Wyckoff Avenue since at least the middle of July, witnesses say. Three weeks ago, the animal was clutching a can of beer. This week, a tabloid newspaper and a Newport cigarette along with its box were spotted in his left hand.
Eventually, a wooden organizer with three separate hutches adorned with the words "letters," "bills" and "misc" appeared below it as well.
The Department of Sanitation did not immediately respond to questions about the bear.
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David Ramirez, 43, who has lived in Bushwick his whole life, said he thinks the bear's personality is perfect for the neighborhood.
"It screams Bushwick," he said. "It's mysterious, it's comfortable in its own environment, and it's happy to be there."
Nardeli Perez, 12, stopped to take photos of the bear on her phone and said it was "interesting" that someone would put that much detail into the art installation.
Tito Miranda, 55, a superintendent across the street who friends call the "mayor of Wyckoff," said that with all the fighting and war in the world, the bear is something people can smile about.
"It's better to be happy like the bear," he said. "He's the best. Kids love him. And I love him."
Ali Sidi, 19, who works at a bodega at the corner, calls the bear "Teddy." Many people take pictures and say it's "genius" or "funny," Sidi said.
Locals say the person responsible for putting the bear up on the pole remains a mystery, as is the person or people who keeps updating the bear's accessories.
But Ramirez said the smoking, drinking teddy bear isn't the first to appear on poles in the area.
More than a year ago, someone taped a teddy bear to a pole at Suydam Street and Wilson Avenue, where it stayed for several months. Ramirez described that bear as being brown and "more of an alcoholic" than the white bear, with multiple bottles of beer taped to him at once.
Ramirez is glad not to know who or what is responsible for the latest bear entertainment.
"I want to leave it mysterious," he said. "For now, it's just the Bushwick Bear."