Coyote Caught in Manhattan’s Stuy Town

Another coyote was caught in Manhattan, this time in Stuyvesant Town, just north of the East Village.

After being spotted near the Con Ed station on East 14th Street, the coyote was chased by police into Stuyvesant Town and  later released in the Bronx. A young female, she is the second coyote to make it into Manhattan this month. The first January coyote, also female, was captured in Riverside Park on the Upper West Side, and released in what city officials straightfacedly refer to as “a wilderness area in the Bronx.”

Are other coyotes roaming Manhattan even as you read this? Hard to say. But if they’re not here now, they’ll be back.

With an established breeding population in the Bronx and Westchester, there will always be young dogs in search of territory to call their own. If they head south, probably late at night, they’ll find their way over a bridge into Manhattan. Others have found their way east into Queens. From Queens, where are you going to go but east, young dog, to colonize Long Island? And, in fact, the Hamptons reported their first officially confirmed coyote sighting in 2013.  Rick Wesnofske, a potato farmer in the town of Water Mill who photographed the animal in his fields, said the coyote was “… just walking around, looking at the potatoes.”

Photo: Rick Wesnofske

Photo: Rick Wesnofske

Long Island potato fields, Bronx wilderness areas, Staten Island garbage dumps, and the endless graveyards of Queens are one thing. Manhattan is another. I mean, let’s face it, the city’s unlikely to let a wild dog run free all over our nice street grid. I’m skeptical that coyotes will be able to establish themselves in Manhattan, unless they were to stay within the boundaries of a large park, say, Inwood Park up at the tip of the island. They’ve already tried Central Park in 1999, 2006 and 2010.

I was lucky enough to spend some time watching the 2010 coyote. She – yes, it was yet another young female – camped out in Hallett Nature Sanctuary at the base of Central Park for a month or so,. During that time, I entertained fantasies that she just might be able to make a go of it here in the city. Unfortunately, she started venturing outside the park, and was ultimately captured in a Tribeca parking garage. (She was released in an undisclosed location.)

Watching her in the night park as she stepped out onto the ice of the frozen Pond, or trotted up an empty path was a thrilling experience. It inspired me to write a play, NYC Coyote Existential.

NYC Coyote Existential by Melissa Cooper

NYC Coyote Existential, staged reading at Proteus Gowanus Gallery in Brooklyn, April, 2012..

Could be it’s time to mount a production right here in the city.

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9 Comments on “Coyote Caught in Manhattan’s Stuy Town”

  1. […]  Count ‘em!!  Not one…  But TWO coyotes were apprehended in Manhattan last week!  (And released in wilderness areas of the Bronx–   Bronx?  “Wilderness”? […]

  2. Given enough time I could see them establishing a small territory, but I suspect it’s unlikely any time soon.

  3. Georgia Says:

    Wow! That’s all I can type.
    (Would love to see your play – please bring it back!)

  4. Andre Says:

    I think you certainly live/den in Inwood Hill… I think even the fact that one was in Central Park for a month says they probably could. It will just take “special” ones to know that you have to get back to the den before the sun rises and people are walking around. They have to roam – as a part of their nature. The key is to not interrupt humans – and they will be fine. From what I understand – in Chicago they even live near “The Loop”.

    • Maria Egan Says:

      Recently there was an article in the Chicago Tribune about all the coyotes that live in Chicago. I think it said there were 2000 living in downtown Chicago, which includes the “Loop.” The lakefront is full of parkland which would make a good place for them to live.

  5. I heard about the coyote this morning on NPR and thought of you. Sure enough, I came home and found this post waiting.

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