By Sabina Mollot
Aw nuts! Squirrel feeding is now being actively discouraged in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village playgrounds.
Following a few reported incidents of squirrel bites on the grounds nearly a year ago, a number of parents pushed the owner to install some signage indicating that people shouldn’t feed the local wildlife. This week, that signage finally appeared — although it only asks people not to feed the squirrels near the playground as opposed to not at all on the property.
The sign, which features a silhouette of a squirrel as well as management’s “Good Neighbors” campaign logo of a blue heart, reads: “Please do not feed the squirrels within 50 feet of this playground.”
A spokesperson and community affairs manager for StuyTown Property Services said the signs have been posted on fences around the five playgrounds intended specifically for kids’ use.
“Feedback from parents who frequent the children’s playgrounds with their children and strollers is what prompted us to put up the signs,” she confirmed.
As to whether residents will pay attention to these signs remains to be seen. Previously, in an emailed newsletter, general manager Rick Hayduk asked residents not to feed the squirrels, but did not say there was a no-feeding policy.
Asked for the ST-PCV Tenants Association’s view on the sometimes-contentious ongoing debate over squirrel feeding, TA President Susan Steinberg said the association would be staying out of it.
“The TA takes no position on squirrels,” Steinberg said.“Speaking for myself, the propensity of tenants to feed the community mascot has definitely modified natural behavior. Some people find them cute; others do not appreciate their aggressive behavior, and parents with young children are very concerned by their too-close approach. Putting up a sign to not feed squirrels within 50 feet of playgrounds is a decent effort on the part of management to reduce the appearance of squirrels where children play.”