Ricky Syers is a musician and puppeteer who states he used to live his life as an artist on the side, but after realising his true calling was creating beautiful and complex marionettes, began pursuing his passions permanently. A few years ago Ricky went to Washington Square Park to perform with his hand-made marionettes where he met former journalist and land use activist, Doris Diether. Doris, “The Grande Dame of New York City Land Use” definitely doesn’t act like you’d expect a woman in her 80s to act, and with an open and fiery personality, became a well-liked and regular addition to the park.

Ricky said he was struck by her outgoing nature and created a puppet in her image, which he then presented to her upon their next meeting. From there a friendship blossomed, and the two now regularly appear in photographs and interviews together, performing with their mini-me marionettes.

David Friedman documented the history of their friendship in this great short for AARP.