Archive for December 2010

Out Walking the Dog’s Top Ten Posts of 2010

December 30, 2010

Readers prefer mastodons.

I’ve always avoided top ten lists. In fact, I’ve disparaged the whole concept as basically, well, idiotic. But I recently discovered that the statistics tracker on my blog, which counts each time someone visits, can also tell me how many times each blog post has been viewed over the past year.

A post about feeding wild animals is a favorite.

The very existence of this useless information exerts a mysterious allure, as if it contained some important hidden meaning just waiting to be revealed.  It doesn’t, of course.  But I can’t resist the pull. So, for whatever amusement or revelation may be found, I here present … (drum roll, please) …

Out Walking the Dog’s Top Ten (Most Viewed) Posts of 2010.

1. Mastodons in Manhattan: How the Honey Locust Tree Got Its Spikes

2. Feeding Wild Animals: Squirrel Man Calls to his Friends

3. NYC Wildlife: The Pigeons Outside My Window

4. NYC Coyote Existential: Where do they come from and where are they going?

5. Rabies in Manhattan: What About Squirrels (and Rats)?

6. Seed Pods and Eyeballs

7. Saint John the Divine: A Secret Garden in Morningside Heights

8. Victor Casiano’s Rooftop Pigeons

9. Sex and the City Bird

10. Falada in New York: 59th Street Carriage Horses

So there you have it.  The frightening outbreak of rabies in Manhattan and the almost equally frightening event of duck sex make it into the top ten. So do last winter’s coyote visitations and a meeting with the last of our neighborhood’s rooftop pigeon flyers.  Other urban animals that are featured include squirrels, horses, raccoons, peacocks, rats, and mastodons.

Yeah, mastodons. The most popular post, by far, is a light-hearted discussion of the co-evolution of honey locust trees and mastodons. Why?  I’d like to think it’s because the study of evolution is booming, but maybe people just like mastodons or the idea of giant mammals roaming Manhattan.

The world is a mysterious place. Why should the internet be any different?

Esau, scourge of street rats, contemplates the mysteries of reader preferences.

NYC Snowtorious: after the blizzard

December 28, 2010

During the early hours of Monday’s snowfall, Esau and I walked in Riverside Park

Esau braves the wind and snow

Snow dusted the retaining wall.

Beautiful old Olmsted wall and young evergreen

Later we gazed out the window at Gotham transformed and almost invisible through the snow.

Guardian of Gotham

Tuesday morning the snow stopped. We made our way through the streets to visit family. We passed children scaling a mountain in front of the long-closed Metro Theater.

King and Queen of the Hill

 

We marveled at a buried car and rejoiced that it was not ours.

This is a car. Really.

We had our picture taken in Central Park.

Esau disguised as Henrik Ibsen in his later years

Today, Wednesday, in Riverside Park, children and adults slid down the slope at 108th Street on sleds, saucers, garbage can lids, cardboard boxes, trash bags and a variety of Unidentified Sliding Objects.

Swift down, slow up

A collection of rejected objects huddled at the base of the steps with a bottle of Bud.

Rejected objects seek consolation in alcohol.

Away from the sledding slope, the park was surprisingly quiet and almost empty. We spotted two or three dog walkers and five cross-country skiiers

Skiing the upper path

The snow is lovely, dark and deep,

Check out the salt-protecting booties

We saw no birds and only one squirrel.  But the snow, still largely undisturbed, told us the animals had been out

Kilroy was here

Squirrel marks went every which way

Crazy feet

Squirrels can also tunnel in the snow, although I didn’t see this myself.

As we left the park, we spotted elves among bare branches

Evidence of elves in Riverside Park

Tomorrow may bring sightings of members of the tribe of New York City snow beings. We’ll be watching.


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