2022 – The Christmas Camel Next Door

                                (ignore April 30, 2017 publish date – this was published on December 16, 2022)


You think I’m kidding?


His name’s Elliot and I met him on December 10 next door at the Second Reformed Church at this event:

(Elliot thinks my name is “Current Resident”)


Here’s the sign on the church property:

There was nothing about a camel on the invite or the sign (and you won’t usually find one in a petting zoo).

So I thought there might be some interesting photo opportunities and headed on over to the church parking lot, where many church events are held, but the only things to pet there were cars, so I walked around to the front of the building and this was the first thing I saw:

Not something that’s ever been seen before on the corner of Union and Anderson streets in Hackensack……..


A better shot of Big E:


NOTE: When you see the word “PANO”, that means that it’s a much larger PANOramic photo that you should click once or twice to see the fully-enlarged image. Hit your back button to return to the post. There are 10 such expandable images sprinkled about.)


(PANO – all 3) The Petting Zoo and its contents (sheep, goats, donkey……….BTW, that red brick building on the far right is where I live):


He’s sitting down! Selfie time:


Not so much for the donkey:


Pastor Dwayne Jackson gets a kick out of Elliot reading the church sign:


(PANO) There was a procession scheduled with all the participants – including the animals –  that was supposed to go around the block, but since I had some time before that happened, I decided to shoot somewhere other than the front of the church.

I started with the small, one-way side street between the church and my building (Ward St) where I found Elliot’s (and probably the other animals’) wheels:

A little hay in the back for authenticity:


(PANO) Let’s see what’s going on inside the church, starting with its gorgeous interior that includes Tiffany stained-glass windows from 1909 (learn more about them here: https://www.secondreformed.org/pages/tiffany-windows):


This reminds me of a couple of other pictures I took a few years ago……….

From a 2011 blog post:


From a 2014 blog post:

These two are HDR (High Dynamic Range) photos that require 3 exposures each.


(PANO) Moving on through the church, here’s where the refreshments and other activities were:


After exiting the room, I ran into Joseph and Mary (and Child):


A friend of theirs came by and tried to give Mary bunny ears, but only one ear showed up:


(PANO) Outside once again, I found out where the angels and The Three Wise Men hung out:


Ready for the Nativity scene (which I didn’t get to shoot):


Wise Man Pastor Jackson:


Time for The Procession, which will NOT go around the block (I’m not sure why). Instead, it will stay on Union St from Anderson St to Passaic St and back.

The Three Wise Men (and others) go past my building:


Then I had to run down Union St to get in front of the procession before they reversed direction at the point where I’m standing. Of course, I like this shot because it shows my apartment sitting on the roof of my building (and also shows how I can claim to be the 7th-floor tenant in a 6-story building):


Elliot gets turned around:


I never thought I’d get to shoot a camel in front of my building and I appreciate Elliot’s nod of acknowledgement toward it, but……..


……..I need a full shot of him looking straight ahead:


(PANO) So as the procession reaches its end at Anderson St, here’s a panoramic shot of the whole group of marchers:


(PANO) And once the Three Wise Men crossed the finish line, the procession was officially over:


“Are you STILL taking my picture?”


“Yeah, I HAVE to………..you dropped something and then you grew a fifth leg!”


Strange things can happen when you take panoramic shots and you have to pan the camera from left to right (or vice versa) and your subject is moving. You think the fifth leg is strange? Check this out:


Elliot starts to get a little rambunctious:


After calming down, he’s ready for his closeup:


A passing bicyclist can’t believe his eyes:


Elliot and his handlers:


The action moves closer to the church, but it’s not as interesting to the animals as the grass is:


As you’ll see later in one of the videos, Elliot started acting up again and had to be taken for a walk to calm him down. As the handlers took him down Anderson St toward the church parking lot, I was shooting video and followed.

At a certain point, Elliot appeared to have had about enough of all this and kicked his handler. This is a still from the video:


They all walked through the parking lot and exited on Ward St to get to their trailer:


(PANO) As far as I know, a camel had never been seen before on tiny, one-way Ward St, so I had to take this wide shot:

I wonder if any of the first-floor tenants in my building happened to see this. A few moments later, Elliot was in his trailer and I was in my apartment.


As for the videos, I took a bunch of short ones (between 3 and 40 seconds each) and stitched them together. Don’t expect smooth transitions, but DO expect small bits of conversation going on around me, including an important question about what Uncle Beaky(?) is wearing (“RED!”).

Six of the vids were taken vertically (Part 1 takes you up through the end of the procession in 1min, 16sec) and nine horizontally (Part 2 – everything else – runs for 3 minutes).

1 – https://youtu.be/my3YszCHPww

2 – https://youtu.be/1m6uTAcCZLg


Because I followed Elliot around, I missed the Nativity scene, but you can hear some of it in the video (a bit of the “No room at the inn” part).

After Elliot entered his trailer – and since I was already home – I went up to my apartment to start downloading all these interesting pix and vids.


This was certainly an unexpected visual treat, the crowd was very enthusiastic and the event was a first for this neighborhood.


I hope it’s not the last.



  1. John OToole December 18, 2022

    That was enjoyable! Happy Xmas!

  2. Annemarie December 21, 2022

    Merry Merry Bob! Fun photos. I’d like to check out the Tiffany stained glass windows sometime.

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