Animals of the Week : Nilly and Goldie at the City’s ACC Need Help Now

Update June 3rd — I’ve written before about Animal Care & Control, the city’s non-profit, hi-kill shelter system which is truly in need of a total overhaul. Every night on Facebook, an “e-list” – a list of animals to be killed the next day – is posted to a group called Pets on Death Row. People from around the world work on rescuing these animals from death. For tomorrow, June 1st, there are 42 cats. (Sometimes they get an extra day or so reprieve so please try even if you read this late.) Too many to contemplate but not too many to help.

I’ve picked out two, Nilly and Goldie, which I’ve profiled here. The photos clearly do not do them total justice – wish ACC would work on that – but they still look extremely sweet and are deserving of another chance to live. If you can help, go to the Facebook page for information and someone will assist you there!

Nilly is a female brown tiger colored cat who is about 5 years old. She was “surrendered” just 3 days ago to the Manhattan ACC by her owner/guardian because of “cost.” It’s clear this photo does not do her justice! She has a small wound on her face which is healing and yet she is being “e-listed” as if she is ill. (See link below for why this happens even tho’ the ACC gets money from Maddie’s Fund for allegedly striving to be “no-kill.”)

According to her previous guardians, Nilly is “Very friendly and affectionate. Extremely active and playful as well. Loves women, loves men, loves children, loves dogs, loves cats.

** Who wouldn’t want to save Nilly and have her in your life? Go here to do so. Thank you!**

Then there is gorgeous Goldie who is around 14 years old, a male cat, may have been a stray (tho’ that is questionable), and has something very special about him. He’s in Brooklyn, rated “no concern” which means he is approachable and friendly. He has some health issues but people will likely help out if you need help with those expenses. He deserves to live out his life without being killed at this city facility.

** Rescue Goldie here. It can only be wonderful. **

There are also 40 other cats that can use your help at this Facebook page.

NOTE: Yes, it’s time sensitive but sometimes animals get a reprieve and many of the rescue groups will assist late into the night.

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See here for more on the ACC. Please write to your City Council person and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio about necessary reforms, advocating for a true No-Kill system. It can be done.

Coming Saturday, June 4th at Washington Square Park is Adoptalooza — you can hold your own Adoptalooza and help one of these animals out now!

Please consider adopting Nilly and Goldie and then come back and read TODAY’S New York Post article, “Doggie Death Row” about the ACC featuring an interview with a former staffer.

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June 3rd — Nilly was rescued. Goldie’s fate is unknown right now. Please visit the Facebook page to adopt others. This happens every day. If you have ideas how to change the entire system, write to me at the Contact page above.

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Central Park Bethesda Fountain Off Limits Now to Performance; Designated “Quiet Zone” Where Musicians are Issued Summonses and Risk Arrest

Central Park Bethesda Fountain

The New York Post reported May 29th on the decision to designate Central Park’s Bethesda Fountain a “Quiet Zone,” putting an end to music performances there and issuing summons to those who defy this. The organization pulling the strings behind this decision is the Central Park Conservancy, the private entity entrusted with the care of this 843 acre public park. This is what happens when a private corporation runs a public park. This clearly has also been condoned by the city’s Parks Department under Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe who was appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Both Bloomberg and Benepe are big proponents of privatization. (The Mayor also lives near by). A spokesperson from the Conservancy told the Post, “The fountain is a place for quiet reflection.”

From the article at The New York Post:

City officials began blitzing street musicians with nuisance summonses and posted a “Quiet Zone” sign last week at the beloved Bethesda Fountain in Central Park, where virtuoso performers have been making beautiful music together for over a century.

On weekends, baritone John Boyd, 48, would belt out spirituals backed by a choir including six of his nine children and fellow classical buskers. But two months ago, Parks police descended on the Bethesda Terrace arcade with a message: Muzzle the music.

Last week, they posted a Quiet Zone sign banning Boyd and other serious musicians from playing in the arcade where world-class performers offer their talents for free to ordinary New Yorkers. …

After being hit with five summonses totaling $2,300, the former choir director from Detroit was arrested by Parks cops Wednesday and hauled in handcuffs to the Central Park police station.

“I have a right to free speech,” said Boyd. “When I sing, it is expressing what I believe in. I told them, ‘You are not chasing me away.’ ”

On Friday, passer-by Rhonda Liss, 63, of Yonkers, asked Boyd if she could join him in an impromptu duet.

“You have such a beautiful voice,” said Liss, a onetime Met opera singer and “Phantom of the Opera” cast member in Toronto. The pair tossed off a jazzy rendition of “My Favorite Things.”

“Is this what they want to arrest people for — singing joy to the people?” she asked incredulously.

When asked about the music crackdown, a spokesman for the Central Park Conservancy, the cash-flush nonprofit that runs the park for the city, said: “The fountain is a place for quiet reflection.”

Interesting thread of comments at the Post site. One commenter says, “Bloomberg should be hauled in front of a court for the crime of destroying the soul of New York City.”

Memorial Day Weekend at the Park: Nature

Washington Square Park Bumble Bee & Flowers

Photo: NDinneen

Neighborhood Red-Tailed Hawks Pip and Violet Look out on Washington Square

Pip and Violet

Pip, baby hawk born to Washington Square hawks Bobby and Violet, was named by New York Times readers where the City Room Blog has been meticulously tracking the hawks’ progress from a video cam of the nest set on the ledge of NYU’s Bobst Library. There’s video at the Urban Hawks blog of Pip and Violet with Pip wandering close to the edge of the ledge. Pip is now pretty big (this picture doesn’t quite show it).

Photo: D. Bruce Yolton

Previous WSP Blog Posts on Violet and Bobby:

* No Intervention Right now for Mama Hawk Violet; Rodenticide All Removed at Washington Square Park

* Violet & Bobby Nest-Watch: Baby Hawk Spotted! On Heels of Riverside Park Hawk Death, Can we Rid Washington Square of Hazardous Rodenticide?

* Hawks Set up Nest Around the Park — “Violet & Bobby” VideoCam Watch

Garibaldi Uncloaked, Unscaffolded and Restored! Barring Last Minute Setbacks, Eastern End of Park to Open Soon

Garibaldi Now

Updated 5/26 – Poor Garibaldi Statue… he’s had a rough time — first moved from his original location, looking worn down, exposed to the elements, then covered in a gawdy blue cloak (for a long stretch) and, more recently, encased in scaffolding.

But now Garibaldi’s been uncloaked, cleaned, restored, re-patinized and unscaffolded and is looking quite dapper!

Which also signals that the eastern side of the park – Phase IIA – is set to open soon. Likely not “by Memorial Day” (which is Monday the 30th) as the Parks Department told Community Board 2 in early April but pretty close! I’m going with Tuesday or Wednesday next week at this moment. (Update 5/26: I’d be surprised if it is next week but we’ll see.) There could be setbacks and the city will want the fountain out from under repair at that point too (not certain how that’s going).

Just what was done to Garibaldi? Got the word in late March from the NYC Parks Department on what would be done to the 123 year old statue as he waited cloaked in blue; that entailed the Public Design Commission approving the “cleaning, patination, coating and restoration methodologies and procedures.”

cloaked in blue...

Who was Garibaldi? At the time the statue was moved from its previous location in April 2010, I reported on some history of Giuseppe Garibaldi:

The Giuseppe Garibaldi Statue at Washington Square Park was moved last week from its position facing west (looking toward the fountain, his back was to Washington Square East).

The Garibaldi Statue was designed by Giovanni Turini and erected in 1888. It was refurbished once but not moved (hard to find info on that but there was a plaque outlining it at the Park – American Express financed it at the time).

under scaffolding

Some background on the Garibaldi statue from Emily Kies Folpe in her book, It Happened on Washington Square. Interesting note that Garibaldi was approached by Abraham Lincoln at the start of the Civil War to command a Union army corps. In response, one of Garibaldi’s stipulations was that Lincoln commit to abolishing slavery. This was not agreed to. Garibaldi declined.

Previous Location During Construction

There was something nice about the previous location, coming from the fountain and encountering Garibaldi regally standing there, welcoming you into the eastern end of the park (admittedly, while also ready to draw his sword!). I imagine the designer wanted to open up the vista (as was done – and works – on the western side). I asked designer George Vellonakis to take me for a tour of the park before it opens so he could tell me in person what he had in mind but he declined.

We’ll know soon enough how the new design fits the newly refurbished park when Washington Square Park Redesign: Phase II opens on the eastern end after 20 months of construction. Stay tuned!

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For more interesting background on Garibaldi, visit New York City Statues.

Neighborhood Red-Tailed Hawk Bobby and His Favorite Haunts around Washington Square

This map tracks Red-tailed hawk Bobby’s (of Bobby and Violet and now newest addition, Pip) favorite spots to perch around Washington Square and was put together by the Urban Hawks Blog.

They are:

1) Nest location on Bobst Library
2) Cross on Judson Memorial Church
3) Favorite Flag Pole
4) Failed 2010 One Fifth Avenue Nest
5) Various other perches

One recent afternoon, I searched for our new neighborhood addition thinking I might catch sight of him atop one of these pictured spots. Judson Church, “favorite” Flag Pole and the NYU Bobst Library are all visible from the center of the park (where the fountain used to be) on the Fountain Plaza.

Then I just looked straight up and there he was (I’m assuming it was Bobby but it could have been Violet), high up in the sky flying so free and beautifully. I am not a species-ist; I like all forms of animals and wildlife and believe we should respect their right to co-exist on this earth with us. However, I can see why some city people focus in on the hawks and are enchanted and perhaps become a bit obsessed with them. Just the size of a postage stamp in the sky, this red-tailed hawk appeared peaceful and majestic.

Washington Square Park: Aerial View Looking North


This shot was taken from NYU’s Kimmel Center, across the street from the park on Washington Square South.

Photo: Bancha Srikacha via Flickr

City Announces Plans for Restaurant At Union Square Park; Further Privatization of Public Space?

now

2009

Updated 1:04 p.m. – Gothamist reports that Union Square North Restaurant Finally Gets a Restauranteur. The restaurant, if all goes according to the city’s plans, jumps on the trend of “local,” “seasonal,” “sustainable,” so currently in favor. (I’m not opposed to any of that, except when they seem to be used as marketing buzz words.)

Commenters at the Gothamist site were overall not in favor. Laura Newman wrote, “In a neighborhood filled to the max with restaurants, this is a such a terrible use of the park.  It’s a park!!  Plus, the pavilion is a monument to free speech and should be respected as suchEmma Goldman is going to weep.”

Activism efforts put forth in 2009 by groups such as Union Square Not For Sale drew attention to the city’s attempt to take over the historic pavilion for a restaurant space. Luna Park, the restaurant previously in Union Square, utilized the space adjacent to the Pavilion, not within.

From Gothamist:

The new restaurant will be open from May through October offering “casual and affordable food service in the newly restored historic Pavilion in Union Square Park.” In the off season the space will be used for educational and recreational activities open to the public: childrens’ programs, fitness programs, and films from the Parks Department, and public education programs to encourage healthy eating habits from the Greenmarket.

The latter sounds like a great year-round purpose for the space, no?

A Walk in the Park Blog reports that the legal case will again move forward with this announcement based on the premise that this usage requires state legislative approval and is an “alienation of parkland.”

Although part of the New York City public park system, Union Square Park is run by a private entity, the Union Square Partnership, a local Business Improvement District (BID).

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** Previous WSP Blog Post with history from 2009: Union Square For Sale?

** Also, this post on Union Square Tree Destruction – See Before & After!

Pt 2- New Washington Square Park Fountain Under Repair

The Fountain Plaza

Cracks in the Fountain

I received a response yesterday afternoon from the New York City Parks Department about the work currently being done on the Washington Square Fountain.

According to the Parks Department’s Phil Abramson, “The contractor is performing punch-list work that is covered under their guarantee. At the fountain, this work includes replacing a number of failed bluestone and sandstone composite patches, tinting discolored sandstone patches, selective mortar joint replacement and the removal and resetting of one of the bluestone coping units.”

This seems to be another way to say there was faulty construction. You wouldn’t expect your house to start falling apart two years after it was built, would you? What role did the Parks Department play in supervision of the initial construction? The previous fountain was hanging in there for close to 4o years.

The Parks Department says the work has been approved by the Public Design Commission and will be completed by Memorial Day.

For more context on the new fountain — which was moved 22 feet east to align with the Arch at Fifth Avenue during Phase 1 Construction and was opened to the public in 2009 — and its history, see Monday’s WSP Blog post, Is the Washington Square Park Fountain Falling Apart? Fountain Now Under Wraps

Is the New Washington Square Park Fountain Falling Apart? Fountain Now Under Wraps (Updated 5/17)

Updated May 17th, 2:52 p.m.

Washington Square Park Fountain Now Under Wraps

Workers today at work on the fountain

Later in the Day... Fountain Fully Closed Off from Viewing

what went wrong?

Cracks in the Fountain

I’ve been thinking about writing about the fountain’s construction falling apart for awhile but now it appears there’s a real reason. There are workers on the scene repairing it. A reminder: the fountain is brand new, it was reconstructed from scratch as part of Phase I of Washington Square Park’s redesign in which the Bloomberg Administration decided to move it 23 feet east to align with the Arch at Fifth Avenue. It was newly constructed and unveiled to the public in 2009. So what went wrong? Was there faulty construction? Was it anchored properly? Did the Parks Department oversee the job? More information to come including response from the NYC Parks Department (Update: no response yet).

Updated May 17th, 2:52 p.m.: Third photo from the top is from late yesterday afternoon. The fountain is now fully encased by fences covered in green draping blocking off viewing of the work being done.

Some additional background: The fountain is part of the park’s controversial $30 Million + redesign plan, currently in the midst of Phase II (of III).The fountain had been located in its previous spot in the center of the park since 1871. Seven 40 year old trees were chopped down to accommodate the moving of the fountain. Two replacement trees planted in 2009 died, were replaced, and those replacement trees in the same location died also. They were recently replanted in the hope that they will survive this time. (It’s doubtful because nothing has been changed.)

Still no word back from the city’s Parks Department. See new post.


Part 2 with update from the NYC Parks Department here.