New Posts Return Tuesday, July 5th

On a deadline for a project and need to take a little blogging break … will post again Tuesday, July 5th!

 

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Neighborhood’s Newest Red-Tailed Hawk Pip Leaves the Nest! Meanwhile…

Pip on Scaffolding at Building Along Washington Square East

Newest neighborhood red-tailed hawk, Pip, fledged (left the nest) last week! I’m a bit behind reporting on the news but it happened on Thursday, June 23rd. According to the hawk blogs, he has not yet made his way into the park itself. He is mostly perching on buildings along the perimeter. Parents Violet and Bobby are still watching out for him, I’m happy to report. (Some of the blogs made it sound like he’d be on his own within days!)

Previous WSP Blog coverage of Violet, Bobby and Pip here.

Meanwhile, why are some wildlife appreciated and others used as scapegoats by city and federal agencies?

Photo: Roger Paw

A Sad Day for Inwood Hill Park: Geese Seized by USDA for Slaughter With Complicity of the Mayor (And Why This is Wrong)

Updated 5:35 p.m.

Canada Geese at Prospect Park last year, since killed

How long will Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the NYC Parks Department, the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and the Port Authority (which controls NYC air space) be able to put up a pretense that killing Canada Geese that reside in New York City parks is making our airspace safer? This pretense is giving them license to massacre them for the third year in a row.

When will the media start doing its own research and not just repeat back information pro forma from the Mayor and city agency press releases?

800-900 Canada Geese are scheduled to be killed throughout NYC parks in the coming weeks ; this is on top of the 1600 killed last year and 1200 in 2009. (Prospect Park’s geese, close to 400 killed last year, have been given a reprieve.)

Have they actually looked at any of the research? Animal Welfare Institute analyzed the Wildlife Strikes Database and statistics state that “approximately .013 percent of all take offs and landings struck wildlife. The government claims that only one in five (20 percent) are reported. Yet, assuming this is accurate, even if 100 percent of all strikes were reported, this would still mean that less than .068 percent of all aircraft operations struck wildlife.”

In addition, according to statistics, 45 % of all fatal accidents are due to pilot error. Comforting, eh? There is no category on this database for wildlife strikes. There is “other” which is less than 1%.

It seems it’s a lot harder to address human error and takes a lot more guts to speak out on that than it is to kill some innocent geese trying to go about living their lives.

A report on what happened in Inwood from Suzanne who lives there and wrote this last night:

Dear Inwood friends:

I was out on the peninsula this morning when a convoy of trucks pulled up carrying canoes and plastic crates.  It was the people from the Department of Agriculture who had come to capture and kill all of our geese.  There were 30 who had made their home here in our park, including the babies.

There were about a dozen geese in the barbecue area and I started to move in their direction to scare them off to try to save them when one of the men told me that if I interfered with the capture, he would have me arrested If I hadn’t had the dogs with me, I would have accepted that challenge.  It would have been worth it to save a few of the geese.  But realized that if they took me to jail, they would put Bodhi and Bindu in the pound, so I had to leave as they requested.  If my son had been here to take the dogs, I would have accepted the challenge just to publicize this barbarity.  (He’s still in Paris.)

I came back about 15 minutes later with my camera, after calling 311 to register my horror with Bloomberg’s office and the Parks Department, but they had already left with all the geese.  I also contacted NY1 tv (desk@ny1news.com.)  All of the geese were gone, except for two in the far distance.

There is an article in today’s Metro New York about the rounding up and slaughtering of city geese. Check it out at Metro.

If everyone called or emailed to complain about this, perhaps it would make a difference.  It’s too late to save them this year, but this is the third year of this policy and maybe we could prevent a repeat of this next year.  Let’s do everything we can to stop this cruelty. Please call the Mayor (#212/788-3000), Parks Department and email NY1 at the email address above.  Thanks.

A very heart broken Suzanne, Bodhi and Bindu

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UPDATE: Mayor’s office does not like getting calls and 311 is discouraging people from calling and unclear if they are taking complaints at 311 unless you ask for a supervisor. You can fax Mayor’s office at #212/312-0700.

There will be a protest outside Mayor Bloomberg’s mansion with animal and wildlife advocates and concerned New Yorkers organized by Friends of Animals:

When: Thursday, June 30, 2011, 6pm-8pm
Where: Mayor Bloomberg’s Townhouse: 17 East 79th Street, between Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue

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Previous WSP Blog post: The Killing of the Prospect Park Geese

Neighborhood Spotlight: Think Coffee on Mercer Street

Think Coffee Mercer Street

Think Coffee on Mercer Street is one of my favorite coffee shops in the city. In addition to being fair trade, their blends are organic & shade grown (bird friendly; conserves biodiversity) offering the perfect triumvirate in conscious coffee ideals!

There are four Think Coffee locations in NYC, all downtown. The Mercer Street location (off West 3rd) is the closest to Washington Square. It’s large with comfortable couches and tables as well as a bar. There’s artwork on the shop walls and it also functions as a mini-gallery and event space, with art receptions, scrabble, and coffee tastings, periodically. From time to time, at night, you can catch music and writers reading their work there. It’s “always happy hour” at Think Coffee with $4 draft beers and $6 wine. (Note: The Mercer Street location is very much an NYU hangout but hey! there’s free wifi and an easy going vibe.)

I previously wrote about Think’s Bleecker and Bowery location here.

Top photo: Badri N
Others: Cathryn

Free Advice Abounds at WSP on Saturday!


If you were at Washington Square on Saturday looking for free career or relationship advice, you were in luck. Francisco, top photo, specialized in “Relationships, Sex & Dating” while unnamed “California Bowl” t-shirt guy, bottom photo, was focused on “Career Counseling.” While Francisco had a prime spot near the Fountain, California Bowl guy, who was a bit further east near Garibaldi, was offering free water and cookies! Both were engaged when I went by with park goers, giving out presumably very good and free advice.

p.s. Although a bit outside of their specialties, maybe one of them could give advice to the Parks Department on what to do about the two trees that keep dying around the Fountain.

More on that coming…

New Posts Return Monday!

New Posts return Monday, June 27th! Check back.

Are They Coming for the Canada Geese in your New York City Park?

-Updated-

Prospect Park's Beautiful Canada Geese This Morning (Only 23 Remain)

Washington Square Park doesn’t have any Canada Geese but many city parks throughout the five boroughs do. But, if it’s up to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, not for long.

Mayor Bloomberg has signed off on gassing and slaughtering Canada Geese in NYC Parks for the third year in a row.

Things you need to know:

1. Resident Canada Geese are NOT a threat to Airline safety. That is a ruse put forth by the Mayor and a lie spread by the media.

2. The NY City Council and other City officials should rebuke Mayor Bloomberg for directing the needless slaughter, and NYC Parks Commissioner Benepe for signing off on it.

3. Let your NY City government representatives hear from you. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio: (212) 669-7250, ; your City Council representative.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, upon invite of the Mayor, came to our town in the dead of night and rounded up the resident Canada geese living in our City’s parks. The USDA hired minimum wage workers to bind their legs and bring them to a gas chamber set up at Kennedy airport.

1,676 geese throughout the five boroughs were killed in 2010, 1,235 Canada Geese in 2009. The round-up and slaughter of the geese for 2011 will begin ANY DAY NOW — unless we stop it.

They are planning to kill around 80% of our area’s geese. They will be rounded up along with their flightless goslings, cornered, trapped and then either gassed or have their heads chopped off (the “humane” solution).

The City is posturing as a good-will agency by killing our geese and saying they’ll feed them to the needy living in Pennsylvania — but mercury and other toxins found in geese likely prohibit any consumption.

Mayor Bloomberg felt he had to do something, no matter how irrelevant, when Flight 1549 went down in the Hudson. He didn’t want to be seen as impotent against the forces of nature.

Nature? Really? Two days A week BEFORE the “Miracle on the Hudson,” a pilot had reported mechanical problems with that very same aircraft. In interviews, Captain “Sully” Sullenberger expressed his biggest fears for air safety: budget cuts, sub-par maintenance and shockingly low salaries for professional pilots. (New York magazine, February 2009.)

Ever since Ronald Reagan busted the Air Traffic Controllers Union in 1981 enabling the airline companies to cut salaries and increase workloads for over-worked and exhausted personnel, they’ve looked to divert blame for accidents away from the companies’ own failures to maintain high standards. The truth is that resident geese DID NOT bring down flight 1549; the plane collided with migratory geese according to the Smithsonian Institution which analyzed the feathers. Rather than bring aircraft up to standard, the Mayor has decided to exterminate a population of birds, which – overwhelmingly – our communities treasure.

Now Mayor Bloomberg sees fit to exterminate an entire population of geese — even though resident geese do not interfere with airplanes and some areas, like Prospect Park, are outside the 7-mile radius that the Feds have imposed (at Bloomberg’s request) for the killings. (The City and Port Authority contract with the USDA to do the dirty work.)

And what About Alternatives? There are many, such as using Merlin Radar, altering light patterns of planes to prevent bird-plane collisions, studying migratory patterns and avoiding those bird corridors and times of day, and more. But they are not being used — it’s easier to kill.

links to be added.

See more at Humane Revolution.

Thanks to Mitchel Cohen of the Brooklyn Greens for his help in preparing this information!

Photo: David Karopin

“Washington Square Dances” At the Park Next 3 Nights June 23rd-25th

Dances for a Variable Population

“Washington Square Dances” performed by dance group, Dances for a Variable Population, and directed by Naomi Goldberg Haas, premieres at Washington Square Park this week with four performances. The piece aims to celebrate the arrival of summer in NYC.

The show debuted last night, Wednesday, June 22nd. The next three performances will take place from Thursday, June 23rd through Saturday, June 25th at 6:30 p.m. on the Garibaldi Stage (Eastern end of the Park).

A special bonus preview will occur at 6 p.m. each evening in three locations within the park – the Arch, Holley Plaza, and amidst the park pathways.

For Washington Square Dances, director Naomi Goldberg Haas looked to create a piece that “celebrates community, the joy of dance, and the arrival of summer in New York City.” Her performing group, Dances for a Variable Population, is comprised of women ages 24 to 81, and “aims to erase the border between dancer and non-dancer, returning dance to its initial wellspring: joy.”

Learn more at Naomi Goldberg Haas’ web site.

Update on Washington Square Park: Phase II Overview Post : The Status

I’ve planned to write a comprehensive review of Washington Square Park Redesign: Phase II now, that, as of June 2nd, Phase II-A, the Eastern side, is at last open! … There’s so much going on! For the record, I’ll write about it (including the past, encompassing some of the history – what was promised or lost – and present) when Phase II-BChess Plaza and part of SW Quadrant – finally opens. This was initially scheduled to be completed sometime in June, according to the Parks Department, not certain that’s likely now. More to come.

Jinx at Manhattan Animal Care & Control Shelter Needs Home ASAP

Jinx Needs Home

From Animal Care & Control Volunteer:  Jinx – super sweet 2yr old cat DECLAWED front paws. Hard to take a pic of him he loves to be petted!  Neutered male, black Bombay mix.

About Jinx: The shelter staff think I am about 2 years old. I weigh 10 pounds. May be FeLV positive. Found in NY 10461. I have been at the shelter since Jun 14, 2011.

JINX – ID#A900436   http://www.petharbor.com/pet.asp?uaid=NWYK.A900436

What a sweetie! Not on Death Row YET but will be soon. See more here on Facebook.

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The ACC is the city’s shelter system. I’ve written about it here before. Tho’ it is a quasi non-profit, its small Board of Directors is comprised mainly of heads of NYC governmental agencies. Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe is on the Board of Directors; it is overseen by the NYC Department of Health.

This is the latest: A list of demands for ACC shelter reform from activists (it would be about time):

This declaration is addressed to Julie Bank, Executive Director of the NY ACC, Mayor Bloomberg, the entire City Council and the Department of Health:

We Will No Longer Tolerate the Slaughter of Innocent Defenseless Dogs & Cats in the City of New York. We Declare That Tax Dollars Must Be Allocated For:

1) Free Spay Neuter for Dogs & Cats for Citizens of NYC

2) Superior Veterinary Care Given to All Animals at the NYACC

3) **No** Animal is Killed Unless Terminally Ill

4) Behavior and Training Specialists Rehab For All Dogs & Cats

5) Solid and Continuous Volunteer & Adoption Program Staff

6) Immediate Queens and Bronx Shelters in High Visibility Locations

7) A Better Communications Center for Adoptions So Animals are Not KILLED Because of Mistakes in Phone Calls and Messages.

8 ) Demand From The NYC Housing Authority the Rescission of the Weight Limit in Public Housing