Home Fashion glasses Central Park isn’t ready for Wrinkle the Circus Duck.

Central Park isn’t ready for Wrinkle the Circus Duck.


Social media beloved pet duck Wrinkle wears her iconic red shoes as she spreads her wings during her visit to Central Park in Manhattan, NY on Wednesday, December 22, 2021.

Wrinkle, a popular social media pet duck, wears his iconic red shoes while visiting Central Park in Manhattan, NY on Wednesday, December 22, 2021. Wrinkle and his parents Joyce Kung and Justin Wood all wear colorful shoes.
Wrinkle, a pet duck with a high social media count, wears her signature red shoes as she visits Central Park in Manhattan, NY on Wednesday, December 22, 2021. Joyce Kung holds Wrinkle and her food and water while Justin Wood pulls media out of his phone.
Wrinkle, a popular social media pet duck, wears his iconic red shoes while visiting Central Park in Manhattan, NY on Wednesday, December 22, 2021. Thomas Bergreen stops walking his Scooter dog to take a photo of Wrinkle.  Bergreen, a longtime New Yorker, said he had never seen a pet duck in all of the years he lived in New York City.
Wrinkle, a companion duck with a high social media count, wears her signature red shoes as she visits Central Park in Manhattan, NY on Wednesday, December 22, 2021. (Left to right) Joyce Kung holds Wrinkle while Taylor Kienholz watches his son Ace Kienholz, 7, stroke the duck.

It is the afternoon of a cool and sunny Wednesday of the third winter of this plague. Broadway performances are canceled again. Every day brings news of another rescheduled football game, of the Rockettes no longer kicking Radio City, of a thousand robberies that won’t fly.

At the heart of this misfortune walks a duck named Wrinkle. Wrinkle is a trained circus duck. He can flap his wings on command.

On this cold December day, Wrinkle’s best turn is to simply walk around Manhattan with a pair of red shoes on her wide yellow feet. Wrinkle is joined by Joyce Kung and Justin Wood, a duo of circus jugglers who are the owners, trainers, parents and best friends of the Duck.

As they walk from Fifth Avenue to Miners Gate and Central Park, the three performers line up. Kung takes the point. The wood brings up the rear.

Wrinkles take center stage. Its yellow beak is curved, as in a perpetual smile. He’s fat. It walks, swinging its feet like a side-wheeled steamboat. His clean white feathers reflect the faint winter sun as if Wrinkle himself was not the object but the light itself.

“It’s a duck parade! Said Kung, 34.

The people of Manhattan, blunted by two years of the pandemic, are more than charmed. They are hot. Delighted. Some lose all manners. A man approaches. He positions his phone less than a foot from Wrinkle’s mouthpiece. He takes a few pictures, laughs and walks away. He doesn’t ask for permission, and he doesn’t recognize Kung or Wood in any way. As the parade continues, more and more men are doing the same.

“Excuse me. Is that your duck?” Said Caryn Leigh, 51, an Upper East Side resident who dresses for fashionable leisure.

“Yes, that’s right,” says Wood, also 34, who wears a black trench coat, brown Nike sneakers with Velcro straps, a wallet on a long silver chain and round blue-tinted John Lennon glasses.

“Really? Oh, my God,” Leigh said. “So cute.”

Pandemic duck

Wrinkles are as much a product of the pandemic as they are an antidote. For years, Wood has dreamed of adding animals to his number. The idea came during a concert at the Petco store on the Upper West Side, where a small crowd gathered to watch him juggle.

Next, a Petco employee placed cats on a nearby table. What juggler? Wood’s crowd is gone.

“No matter how well I am,” said Wood, “I can’t compete with a kitten.”

For a while, Kung and Wood thought about dogs. A good circus act requires about five dogs, Wood says, each trained for different tricks, each with their own set of costumes. For a duo of circus artists always looking for paid work, this seemed overpriced.

Then came COVID. All the circuses have stopped traveling. Busting on empty sidewalks has become particularly unnecessary. The idea of ​​taking a duck from a joke to a dream to a business plan.

“We were looking to do things online to make money,” Kung said. “We wanted to create more YouTube content. “

As circus workers, Kung and Wood do all the normal circus stuff. They juggle pins. They juggle flaming torches while pedaling a unicycle with one foot. Wood performs a trick in which he balances six folding chairs on his chin. Already, this work is kneading his body. Wood tore a ligament in his knee while hanging from a flying trapezoid. He could not work or be paid for six months until he recovered.

“The best contract you’ll get as a circus performer will be three shows a day, six days a week,” Wood said. “You will have a day off. And you’re so sore and tired.

One day, this pandemic will end. Kung and Wood hope to be ready with a new number that’s easier on their joints and bones. With a chubby waterfowl that waddles, they can take longer to prepare for their next turn, confident the audience is delighted and happy.

“I’m just trying to make people smile,” Wood said. “So I said, okay. I’ll try a duck.

In September 2020, a resident duck at Wood’s mother’s farm in Kentucky laid six white eggs. Only one has hatched. The duckling was a little yellow baby who loved to fall asleep on Wood’s face. Wrinkle’s training began immediately.

“If you’re doing well those first six months, then you’ve put them on their path,” Wood said. “But if you’re wrong, you can’t undo it. “

All baby ducks follow their mothers. Kung and Wood hoped to extend this habit into adulthood so Wrinkle could roam the city off a leash. Ducks also like to flap their wings. Wood and Kung learned to encourage this behavior by donating tomatoes, lettuce, corn, and butterflies.

Wrinkles prefer compliments.

“Wiiiiiiings! Wiiiiiiiings! Wood said, calling his duck on a recent walk in Manhattan. “Go Rides. You are the only one with wings!

For a few seconds, it looked like Wrinkle might ignore the command. Then the duck raised its head. Its open cantilevered wings, its white feathers flared to show fine translucent tips.

“Good girl! You are so smart! And talented! And beautiful!” said Bois. “Everyone loves you! That’s right, Ride. You’re the best duck in the world!

Over time, Kung and Wood realized that they had more to learn about ducks than Wrinkle had to learn about the circus. Wrinkle was a cozy toddler, and the feathers on his tail curled in a gentle twist. In Peking ducks, these are the traditional attributes of a girl. So when Wrinkle was 3 months old and registered as a support animal, her sex was described as female.

Growing up, Wrinkle became sassy. It pecks hard enough to break the skin and leave bruises. When she’s excited, Wrinkle tries to push up the nearest leg.

Kung and Wood realized their mistake.

“Genetically, he’s a duck boy,” said Wood. “But her favorite pronoun is she / she.”

“It’s a bit ambiguous,” Kung said.

Enter the star

Wrinkle’s best surprise is his presence as a performer. Thirty seconds after the Duck Parade entered Central Park, it’s clear the humans have been demoted to just cast members.

Wrinkles are the star.

The dogs are straining against their leashes. Two dozen people stop, turn around and chuckle. Young people hold out their phones and shoot videos. Most of the people in the growing crowd wear masks.

But this chubby white duck, who struts around in red shoes like a happy king, wields magnetic power. People are getting closer. It is the overriding joy of New York City to walk outside and see something you never expected to see. May the pandemic be damned. The people will be heard. They take off their masks and talk.

“I had a duck once. I won it at a fair, ”Kathy Goodman, who lives on the Upper West Side, doesn’t tell anyone. “I got tired of her biting my toes.” But this duck is so well behaved!

“She’s just adorable!” Debbie Lewin, a resident of the Upper East Side, talks about Wrinkle.

The circuses remain inactive. The pandemic makes it dangerous to walk the crowded sidewalks of Fifth Avenue. Like the nation around them, Kung and Wood improvise a hybrid life, partly open to the world, partly closed.

As people approach, Kung rummages in his pockets and retrieves a handful of stickers. Each is printed with Wrinkle’s Instagram address. Wrinkle’s new fan takes the stickers, flips them, and laughs.

Wrinkle shakes his cock. Its feathers are soft like kitten fur. They smell like a freshly washed pillow.

Christopher Maag is a columnist for NorthJersey.com. To gain unlimited access to his unique take on New Jersey’s most interesting people and experiences, please register or activate your digital account today.

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