Posted tagged ‘Spring in NYC’

Happy May Day

May 1, 2013

Happy May!

Phil, the white peacock of Saint John the Divine.

Phil, the white peacock of Saint John the Divine.

People, flowers, wildlife and pets are out in force.

Art meets cherry trees on the grounds of St John's.

Art meets cherry trees on the grounds of St John’s.

Fine weather to sit with your dogs.

Sitting in the shade with the dogs.

Sitting in the shade with the dogs.

Or your birds.


A bird cage with six parakeets becomes mobile atop a laundry cart.

Here’s a closer look at one of six happy parakeets on their outing to the river.

Oh, what a pretty bird.

Oh, what a pretty bird.

Fine weather, too, for human lovebirds.

On the Greenway by the Hudson in Riverside Park.

On the Greenway by the Hudson in Riverside Park.

Or for sitting alone near the forsythia.

On the retaining wall of Riverside Park.

On the retaining wall of Riverside Park.

Wherever you go and whomever you’re with, keep an eye out for color.

Tulips in Riverside Park.

Tulips in Riverside Park.

And enjoy the flowers before they go.

Magnolia carpet in Riverside Park.

Magnolia carpet in Riverside Park.

The brief life of flowers, and the word “enjoy,”puts me in mind of William Blake’s poem, Eternity:

He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sun rise.

Happy May!


It’s April in NYC, Let’s Ditch the Plow

April 18, 2013

Here are two favorite spring posts from years past:
NYC Signs of Spring: Red-tails Nest and Mr. Softee Sings
Two-Eyed Prophecy of Spring

April in Morningside Heights. Time to …

Raise the plow.

Raise the plow on 110th and Columbus.

Raise the plow on 110th and Columbus.

Wait a minute. “Raise the plow?!” It’s April, people, let’s just ditch the freaking plow!

Time to go to the laundromat. Apparently, it’s been a long winter.


Time to show some baseball love.


Time to play ball.


Or learn to play ball.



Time to kayak the Hudson.


Time to fight.


These two male mallards were seriously going at each other.


Hormones are raging in the spring, and there seem to be many unattached male mallards hanging around in Morningside Pond, getting into trouble.


Time to cuddle. Those hormones, you know.


And when you look this fine, it’s always time to strut your stuff.


Phil, one of three resident peacocks at the Cathedral of St John the Divine


It’s Spring, Everybody Sing!

April 11, 2013

Today is a little chillier, but the last few days have made the birdies sing. Here is the song I heard them singing.

Oh, it’s spring. Yes, it’s spring.


Magnolias are budding.


Peacocks are showing.


Fruit trees are blooming.


Turtles are basking.


Willows are greening.


Yeah, it’s a beautiful day.


Can I have an amen?


Back to Blogging, Catching Up on Spring

May 31, 2012

In the two months since I last posted at Out Walking the Dog, I’ve spent time in Texas, northern Michigan and eastern Long Island as well as here at home in Manhattan’s Morningside Heights.  I’m back now and ready to blog. Soon I’ll write about what I saw in Dallas,

White Rock Lake, Dallas, Texas

Traverse City,

Traverse City, Michigan

and the south fork of Long Island.

Mecox Bay, Long Island, NY

  But first I want to catch up with a look at early spring here on my Morningside Heights home turf, back in early April before the trees leafed out. Riverside Park’s great retaining wall is an object of great beauty in all seasons as well as a terrific place to watch animals, including humans.

Here is the wall in late afternoon on one of the first days of April, when the trees were still mostly bare of leaves.

An Eastern gray squirrel, lit by the sun, ventures near the entrance to the raccoon den.  The raccoons, which keep the animal equivalent of jazzman hours, probably won’t be stirring for another hour or two.

At the top of the wall, against a tangle of soon-to-leaf branches, another squirrel discusses life with a young woman.

A man gazes out across the Hudson,

while a young mother and her baby enjoy the daffodils below.

A robin with his breast afire forages at the bottom of the wall.

And high above, the moon glides through the still blue sky.

Spring in Three Cities

May 9, 2011

I spent a good chunk of April out of town, and am happy to be back on my island home, now in full  leaf-out.

Biblical Garden at Saint John the Divine.

Oh, yes, it’s spring, at last.

A peacock blossoms in a garden of Saint John the Divine.

Flowers are popping, and animals, too, are busting the confines of their lives.

In April. a baby pigeon rested in front of a flowering tree.

We’re all border crossers, every one of us animals, our lifetime of crossings prefigured by our natal departure from a watery womb world or hard-shelled egg into the dangerous but seemingly limitless possibilities of earth and air.  It’s never more evident than in springtime.

Baby birds are cracking out of eggs

Morningside Park gosling

Raccoons are emerging from dark holes and hollows

Riverside Park raccoon emerges from retaining wall den.

Turtles are leaving their watery homes to lounge on warm rocks

Morningside Park turtles relax in the sun.

and seals are coming ashore in New York City, including a small beach in northern Manhattan.

Gray seal on beach at Dyckman Street and the Hudson River. Photo by Corey Kilgannon/The New York Times.

(Read about my April encounter with a gray seal pup on Long Island here.)

In April, I worked in two midwestern cities, Indianapolis and St. Louis. Most of the time I spent in that strange, indoor world of theater rehearsals, a world that knows no seasons.  But in each city, I managed one small adventure and found wildlife surprises.

One morning, I played hooky from the Bonderman Symposium at Indiana Repertory Theater to explore the city’s amazing collection of war memorials. (Visit my other blog, The Red Animal Project, to read an ongoing series about how we remember our war dead, including a look at the Indianapolis War Memorial Plaza.)

A robin gazed over the city from atop the head of a majestic lion at the War Memorial Museum and Shrine.

Indy robin and lion.

 Trees clad in bridal gowns lingered along the paths of War Memorial Plaza

and a charmingly awkward American coot slowly revealed itself

Downtown coot

then strolled alone in an expanse of green.

No water here.

In St. Louis in the last days of April, I spied the first bird of the morning just steps from the hotel door.

Oh. So sad.

A gorgeous rose-breasted grosbeak.

Lovely, but dead.

The killer loomed above the tiny victim: a wall of glass.

Bird killer.

In the U.S. alone, collisions with man-made structures, particularly high-rise buildings, kill somewhere between 100 million and a billion birds a year, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Solutions to the problem range from decals to dimming lights on high-rises, particularly during fall and spring migrations. If you ever notice a dead bird on the sidewalk, look up. If the bird lies beneath a building, please take the time to contact the building manager about the problem. If you live in a big city, you can volunteer with your local Audubon chapter to monitor collision deaths and advocate for changes in building codes and policies, such as Project Safe Flight.

Other top human-caused killers of birds are poisons and cats. Yes, cats. Pet cats take an enormous toll on wildlife. Accurate numbers are hard to come by, but it is clearly in the high hundreds of millions each year, if not well over a billion. Pet owners, please accept this inconvenient fact, and keep your cats indoors.

Indoor cat goes hunting.

Back in St. Louis, I headed toward the Mississippi River, and discovered the city is a hot bed of cardinals. The fact that the hotel is half a block from the baseball stadium might have something to do with the extraordinary number of sightings.

Welcome Cardinal Nation!

Cardinals perched

Two cardinals guard a baseball.

Cardinals dressed up in baseball caps

Cardinals swung bats

and cardinals kept score

The park by the river was a dazzling green, and filled with robins and brilliantly irridescent blackbirds.

Irridescence on parade

Sparrows on the steps to the river took a wildly active dust bath.

Rollin' in the dirt

And then, at last, there was the river

Bursting its banks, covering walkways and ramps, the Mississippi is spectacular, unpredictable and dangerous.

I loved working in other cities, and I love being home in New York, New York.

Trumpeter brings soundtrack to my block.

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