Blythe Worster was with her daughters at Mill Pond Park this week when Andy Kuzma approached them, asking if they had seen any “little creatures.”
“I didn’t know what he was talking about,” said Worster, 40, of Bellmore, but the family continued along the path round the pond and ran into Kuzma’s whimsical creation — a little “home for gnomes.”
Earlier this week, Kuzma, 66, of Levittown began building. He repurposed an old bird cage, attaching a chimney and decorative windows and doors, to create a little cottage. He placed gnomes, which came with Burger King kids meals he purchased, on top of a miniature lawn made from a strip of artificial turf.
He scattered mushrooms around the house and arranged toy alligators in the creek, turtles on a log and hung a wooden owl above. Then he covered the ground leading to the gnomes with straw and built a fence to keep curious children from falling into the water.
“It’s just a little relaxing project for me, and something the kids can enjoy,” said Kuzma, a carpenter, who often comes to Mill Pond in Wantagh to clear the woods of garbage.
Kuzma’s creation doesn’t stand alone. His elaborate gnome house is part of a spontaneous community art project that’s popped up in Mill Pond Park.
The first “fairy doors,” tucked into the nooks of trees by a few unknown but creative residents, appeared in the park last summer and since then, magical creatures continue to colonize. Red gnomes stand beside a purple cottage, nestled near the roots of a tree covered in initials.
When Kuzma noticed the fairy doors last week, he wanted to contribute.
Worster said her daughter Sofia Worster, 5, was “completely in awe” when she discovered the display.
“She told me she wanted to come there every day,” said Worster, adding that she’s planning on building a fairy cottage with Sofia.
Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen said she welcomes the new residents.
“The Town of Hempstead is open to all, including gnomes, fairies and other mythical woodland creatures,” Gillen said. “We encourage creative and expressive works from our art community, especially those which add a touch of enchantment to our Town.”
Alexandra Aziz, 6, covered one fairy’s doorstep with red glitter Wednesday afternoon.
Gina Aziz, 38, of Bellmore, had heard about the creatures through a Facebook group and took Alexandra and her other daughter, Delilah Aziz, 4, to check it out.
“It’s a great activity to get the kids out and bring the community together,” Gina Aziz said.