Brooklyn Heights

Meet the artist behind the Brooklyn Heights fairy doors

Fairy Door project spreads a little "collaborative whimsy"

June 28, 2024 Mary Frost
Nicole Motter, sound bath practitioner and wellness advocate, is the magical force behind Brooklyn Heights’ fairy doors. Photo: Courtesy of Nicole Motter
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BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — The mysterious personality behind the colorful little fairy doors that have been popping up on trees in Brooklyn Heights has stepped out of the shadows.

The doors (said by experts to be portals to the fairy dimension) appeared seemingly overnight on Pineapple, Willow, Cranberry, Middagh and Montague streets, causing a bit of a sensation. 

Related Article: Fairy doors are popping up all over Brooklyn Heights

Yes, that’s me — Brooklyn Heights’ fairy godmother!” Nicole Motter told the Brooklyn Eagle. The doors were a “creative labor of love,” she explained. 

Motter, who lives in the north Heights, says she wanted to create something special to brighten people’s day. She describes herself as a “sound bath practitioner, wellness advocate, community development specialist, artist and long-time lover of empowering others.” To that end, some of the doors bear inspirational messages, such as “Love first,” and “You already have the key.” 

“You are the magic” this little fairy door says. Photo: Mary Frost, Brooklyn Eagle

“I’m a sound bath practitioner on a mission to bring peace, clarity and high vibes all around to the people,” she explained. Her sound bath company’s name is Good Vibrations.

Motter lovingly handcrafted some of the doors herself, and her 8- and 11- year-old neighbors created others. She also themed a few of the doors to match some of her favorite Heights sites — including a door decorated with croissants on a tree near L’Appartement 4F; another with a coffee mug near Joe Coffee; and one illustrated with a cat outside the Brooklyn Cat cafe. 

She named the project “Happy Doors NYC” and posted a few photos on Instagram (@happydoorsnyc). The tagline was ‘Little doors with big spirits.” Then she dropped off a fairy door treasure map at Joe Coffee.

The project was a hit. 

People interviewed by this paper said they welcomed a touch of magic in these troubled times. The Brooklyn Heights Association and Councilmember Lincoln Restler joined in the fun, rolling out the red carpet for the new fairy neighbors. 

“These are tricky times and we need all the help we can get,” Dr. Jon Berall, physician and inventor, told the Eagle.

Other residents said they thought the tree sprites added something indefinable, but surely positive. One young eye witness, Eze, provided an accurate description of the fairies (very small and green). 

Motter is thrilled with the level of enthusiasm her project sparked and wants to keep it rolling. Her goal is to encourage friendly connections between neighbors and “bring the community together for some collaborative whimsy,” she said.

This fairy door featuring tiny croissants was placed on a tree near L’Appartement 4F, which is known for their hand-rolled croissants. Photo: Courtesy of Nicole Motter

“My hope is to get buy-in from community groups and neighborhood associations, have them share stories and pitch ideas, and draw people together for door-mapping and crafting — and then have a drop on a Saturday morning! Great fun and meaningful connection for all,” she enthused.

Lessons learned 

Motter said she has learned a few lessons since the original fairy door installation. For one, some of the original doors were attached to the trees with little tacks. She thinks the tacks encouraged some well-meaning people to remove some of them.

“The one outside my house — my own personal favorite that I lacquered untold layers of Mod Podge [craft glue] on to preserve the rose petal perimeter — has all of a sudden vanished after a couple months of weathering the elements unscathed,” she said. “So I’ve learned a few lessons.  [One is] find something that’s not a nail to attach the doors.” (Some websites suggest using fairy-approved natural materials like vines or hemp twine.)

She also learned that some building materials last longer than others. “I’ve learned what materials used on the doors do/do not hold up so well,” she said.

Above all, she learned how popular the fairy doors are. “The manager at Joe’s said kids came in this week looking for the map and she needed to print more.”

If people are interested in joining in the fun, they should reach out to her via Instagram or email.

“I’ve got a whole long list of other ideas to create in the future,” she said.


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