When you first see it, 724 Todt Hill Road seems like pretty much every other house in the Dongan Hills area of Staten Island.
And then you see the dinosaur:
Er, make that dinosaurs…
And then, as you continue past, literally hundreds of other animals come into view, and you realize: the most bizarre zoo imaginable has been frozen on the lawn of a Staten Island home:
Pretty much every major animal is represented here, from turtles, foxes, and frogs…
…to elephants, zebras, alligators and warthogs:
Ha, and a personal favorite: a zombie, clawing his way out of the ground!
724 Todt Hill Road is the sort of place where the trees have faces…
…and Bigfoot can be found peering around a trunk:
According to this article on SILive.com, the home is owned by Walter and Alla Shchegol, who have been collecting the statuary since 2006. Why? “It’s all for fun!” says Mrs. Shchegol, who has allowed dozens of parents with their children onto her property to explore.
Of course, the neighbors hate it – just check out the more than 50 comments to the SILive.com article. The big issue, ostensibly, is that the statues will cause untold numbers of horrific accidents from drivers turning to gawk, under which reasoning about 64% of Manhattan should probably go too. To get a sense of how nutty some of these people are, one woman claims to have seen the Shchegol’s Tarzan swinging from a tree and “almost slammed on the brakes because I thought it was a child swinging over the roadway.”
It doesn’t take too much digging to realize everyone really just thinks it’s detracting from the area.
Here’s the deal – in a small neighborhood, where there’s some sort of shared aesthetic tying everything together, I can understand complaints about the crazy neighbor down the block who ruins it for everyone by painting his house pink and black. Fine. But 724 is pretty much isolated on Todt Hill Road, with a school across the street and maybe only one or two other houses within walking distance. It’s pretty much on its own. So really, are you going to be the grinch who gives a shit?
Two enormous bones are on the astroturf out front – and yes, that small bird is fake:
Also out front, a very strange man coming out of the sewer:
A fence that feels inspired by Klingon architecture…
…continues to the front porch – check out that crazy lantern!
Er, but don’t get too close – lions are on the prowl!
A tower of giraffes, as is the collective noun:
An ape and his baby:
And finally, an American flag clad cow:
Strangely, I couldn’t find a single garden gnome or tacky faux Italian sculpture!