Parks mulling full wildlife feeding ban

The proposal follows the Madison Square Park Conservancy’s asking park goers to stop feeding the squirrels, arguing its caused more aggressive begging and damage to the park’s tree canopy. (Photo by Madison Square Park Conservancy)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Resident bird and squirrel-lovers, beware: a popular park pastime might soon be banned. The Parks Department announced last Friday that the agency will be holding hearings this March on changes to city rules that would prohibit park patrons from feeding birds and squirrels.

The Parks Department will be holding a public hearing on Friday, March 1 for a proposed amendment to the rules regarding feeding animals in parks. The current rules on wildlife feeding don’t specifically ban the feeding of birds and squirrels but under the proposed amendment, feeding all animals in city parks would be prohibited. Under the current rule, feeding all other animals in city parks, including in zoo areas, is not allowed.

The agency said that one of the main reasons for the new rule is to reduce food sources for rats and other rodents as a humane method of pest control.

“Sharing your last slice is generally good etiquette in NYC, unless you’re sharing it with a rat or a squirrel,” a representative for the Parks Department said. “Feeding wildlife in parks creates a mess and is bad for the health of our native wildlife. Through our new policy, we’ll make sure that squirrels, pigeons, and other animals don’t rely on takeout.”

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Fly up and be counted

The early hawk catches the mourning dove in Stuyvesant Town during a local Christmas bird count. Despite poor weather conditions, participating birders still saw some unusual birds. (Photo by Ron Lulov)

Local birders conduct annual avian search

Despite truly miserable weather on Sunday, December 16, a team of devoted birders made their annual jaunt through Stuyvesant Cove and Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village to do their part for the annual city bird count. One of them, Stuy Town avian expert Anne Lazarus provided Town & Village with the official count from the walk as well as some birds seen earlier by participants throughout the week. (16 different species on count day, 14 during count week, for a total of 30 kinds of birds.) This was far fewer than usual for the tree-filled neighborhood, but due to the nonstop rain, Lazarus said it was one of the most difficult birding days she’d ever seen.

While at the Cove, “Low tide looked more like an approaching high tide. The wind and pelting rain did not help,” she said.

The day’s sightings included an immature Cooper`s Hawk as well as an adult Cooper`s Hawk with its prey, an unfortunate mourning dove, secured firmly in its talons as it perched on a sweet gum in Stuy Town not far from the 16th Street entrance to the First Avenue Loop.

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Letters to the editor, Mar. 8

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Albany Republicans blocking gun regs

Last week, the Senate Democratic Conference announced a legislative package to combat gun violence and protect New Yorkers. I am proud to be part of a group of Senate leaders standing up to the corporate gun lobby, and we have offered a series of common sense bills to address the repeated tragedies caused by gun violence. We brought four of these bills to the floor of the Senate as “hostile amendments” – and every Republican Senator voted no on each proposal.

To quote leader Andrea Stewart Cousins, “The madness must stop. We need to get serious about gun safety and we need to take real action.”

Studies have proven that states with stronger firearm safety laws, like New York, have fewer gun-caused deaths. Unfortunately, NY Republicans are taking their lead from their extremist Washington allies and for years have refused to move any common sense gun laws.

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National Christmas Bird Count

THESE BERRIES WERE FOR THE BIRDS.—On Saturday, Stuyvesant Town resident Barbara Bienenfeld spied this robin in a snow-covered bush with berries as she walked into the 14th Street Loop at Avenue A. The photo was taken on Saturday, the day before the National Christmas Bird Count.

On Sunday morning, a local group of birders participated in the national Christmas Bird Count, beginning at Stuyvesant Cove and then moving onto Stuyvesant Town.

Local team members were Pearl Broder, Wendy Byrne, Louise Fraza and Anne Lazarus, who passed along the list of bird species that were spotted, including Sharp-Shinned and Cooper’s Hawks attempting to hunt. “Lots of drama out there,” reported Lazarus, who compiled this list.

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Letters to the Editor, June 30

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Bernie’s still pretending to be a candidate

Dear Sir,

Mr. John Giannone in his letter appearing in the June 16 issue of T&V (“In defense of Bernie’s attacks on Hillary”) goes after Steven Sanders for his piece questioning the motives of Bernie Sanders to remain a candidate for the Democratic Party after Hillary Clinton became the indisputable presumptive nominee and defends Bernie’s attacks on Hillary (“Helter Skelter Bernie,” T&V, May 25).

We could agree that Steven Sanders might have been somewhat hyperbolic in his allegations about Senator Sanders’s motives. However, Bernie Sanders’s insistence on continuing to pretend that he is still a candidate and the inconsistencies and even hypocrisy in some of his demands, lend credence to suspicions of some ulterior motive.

Hillary Clinton won the nomination fair and square with 4 million more votes and 2.218 pledged delegates in 34 contests, to Sanders’s 1,833 super delegates and win in 23 contests. Sanders, who started by exciting many progressive democrats, myself included, who welcomed his candidacy and even sent him money feeling that he was moving the Democratic Party in the correct direction, effectively lost me and many others when he was asked “How?” All he has done is offering non-stop his line about the “revolution” and descriptions about what needs to change in this country, without one iota of an actual plan about how he is going to achieve anything. For me and the 15,805,135 voters who voted for Hillary Clinton, that was not enough. We were looking for a presidential candidate, not for a revolutionary-in-chief.

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Letters to the Editor, October 2

Windows present a hazard to visiting birds

Black-throated Green Warbler that collided with a window in Stuyvesant Town

Black-throated Green Warbler that collided with a window in Stuyvesant Town

Today a sizable number of migrating birds visited Stuyvesant Town. Unfortunately, I found a deceased Black-throated Green Warbler. The bird had collided with a glass window.

We are losing billions of birds to glass fatalities. Many of the birds are insectivores and also consume other invertebrates such as ticks. They serve us well by eating vast numbers of mosquitoes and other insects we try to control with toxic pesticides.

Their numbers are declining because of habitat loss, pollution, including pesticides, feral cats, incorrect lighting on cell-phone towers, deforestation and glass collisions.

Is this acceptable? People were looking sadly at the beautiful bird.

We can help by keeping our shades drawn whenever we can and keeping our screens on our windows. If you see a deceased bird you can take a picture and send it to: dbirds@nycaudubon.org. Please include the location.

Thank you,

Anne Lazarus, ST

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Letters to the Editor, Oct. 18

Garodnick: Tenants have moved on

The following is an open letter from Council Member Dan Garodnick to Charles Spetka, CEO, CW Financial Services LLC.

Dear Mr. Spetka:

Ten months ago, the Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association announced that it had partnered with Brookfield Asset Management to put forth a plan to buy the property on behalf of the tenants that would satisfy CW Capital’s obligations to its bondholders.

Since that time, the TA/Brookfield partnership approached you many times and has even proposed to you an offer structure that has the potential to satisfy your obligations in full.  For reasons not at all clear to me, CW Capital has not yet given the tenants and Brookfield the necessary information to develop their structure into a formal bid.  While you may not share a commitment to this community beyond your own short-term interests, I would expect that you would not willfully pass up an opportunity to satisfy your bondholders.

After decades of peace in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, the last six years have brought conflict, upheaval and instability.  While we cannot point fingers at CW Capital for creating the problem, we certainly can fault you for prolonging it.

Accordingly, I write to advise you that we are going to pursue this issue directly with your bondholders; with Wells Fargo, the trustee and master servicer of the CMBS trusts; with Fortress, your parent company; and with the relevant rating agencies.  To the extent that CW Capital cannot see the wisdom of having this conversation with an organized community that has secured a capital partner prepared to get you a full recovery, perhaps these others will.

Of course, to the extent that you wish to engage directly with the tenants in furtherance of their plan at any time, I am certain that their door will be open.

Sincerely,

Daniel R. Garodnick  Continue reading

Letters to the Editor, May 31

‘Death of a Salesman’ still relatable today

Arthur Miller’s greatest and most venerable play has returned yet another time to Broadway. Along with Tennessee Williams, Eugene O’Neill and Edward Albee, they represent the iconic American playwrights of the 20th Century.

“Salesman” opened in 1949 and has been revived via stage and film many times. I first saw it as a film with Lee J. Cobb when I was in college in the 1960’s on WCBS-TV’s then “Late Late Show.” I was blown over by its theme and aesthetic quality.

The protagonist, Willy Loman, now in his sixties, has returned from yet another canceled sales trip. He’s become exhausted from his many unrealized attempts to reach the attain his dreams, and one of his two sons, Biff who had shown great promise in high school is also going nowhere.

He goes to his company’s office and speaks to his former boss’s son and asks for improved assignments. His new employer, now a wealthy man, cannot understand Willy’s plight and reduces his schedule. Loman loses his temper and shouts, “Promises were made here!” He is now fired and depends on a friend to supplement his loss of income. (His friend’s son is seen as heading to Washington to argue a case before the Supreme Court. This is juxtaposed to Willy’s son, Biff who, well, is going nowhere.)

This play is now especially salient today, as many due to the economy (yes, even recent college grads) attempt in vain to achieve a dream they thought was theirs. Then, there is serendipity. Timing and just plain luck – at times out of our control – are important factors.

I have seen many versions of the play. I found Frederick March and Dustin Hoffman to be the best. Now the present incarnation: director Mike Nichols chose another Hoffman – Philip Seymour Hoffman. Both Nichols (who has directed many plays and films) and Seymour Hoffman are masterful in their artistic roles. Philip Hoffman doesn’t play his characters – rather, he becomes them. When I saw his film, “Truman Capote,” I didn’t know who the actor was until the final credits.

Then there is Mike Nichols. I saw an hour interview with him on the TimesTalks series. During Nichols’ closing remarks, he commented that Willy Loman was redeemed in the final moments of “Salesman.” Since it had become impossible for him to achieve the American Dream, his death at least brought him peace. And his son Biff was now liberated from Willy’s pressures and now had the potential to be liberated.

David Chowes, PCV

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