Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney with a panda pal during a visit to a Chinese panda research center last year (Photo courtesy of Carolyn Maloney)
By Sabina Mollot
For Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, it’s always been a black and white issue. New York City has been in need of a pair of giant pandas, and now, she cheered, the city will finally get them.
The only obstacle to getting them into a local zoo, she said, was that the Chinese government wanted a letter of support from both New York’s governor and mayor. Previously, Governor Cuomo had been on board with the plan, but Mayor de Blasio had not. Because pandas are expensive to care for (around $1 million a year, according to a Daily News story), the mayor didn’t consider it priority. What changed, Maloney said this week, was that John Catsimatidis, Gristedes CEO and radio talk show host, has stepped in to start a nonprofit to raise the money needed for the effort. This includes paying for getting the pandas on loan, transporting them to the city and paying for their care as well as first building a new habitat at the Bronx Zoo.
Maloney has been attempting to acquire the cuddly creatures for over a year, a passion project that once got her mocked by a political opponent who said she should focus on more pressing matters. The 2014 Republican congressional candidate, Nicholas Di iorio, even had a pal dress up in a panda suit for a press conference.
In defense of de Blasio on horses and pandas
Re: Cartoon in T&V, Jan. 8, depicting a panda driving a horse-drawn carriage in front of an irate Mayor de Blasio
I disagree with attacks and cartoons aimed at Mayor de Blasio with regard to his defending the rights of horses in this city. He is concerned with the treatment and welfare of them living in a very noisy, overcrowded city where they do not belong “working” in traffic. This is not early 1900s NYC with few cars going about 15 miles an hour on virtually empty streets with few pedestrians walking around Central Park, no steel drums, no electrifying manhole covers and stray voltage, no taxis careening in and out, no millions of horns continuously blasting nonstop at everyone and everything. Quite honestly, this is not even a peaceful place for humans to live.
As for pandas, I wouldn’t subject these adorable animals either to a life in this noisy city. Politicians note: Pandas cost a fortune to feed and the taxpayers will pay for this – in a city where humans go hungry and homeless.
Politicians joking about de Blasio imply he must “hate horses” when he took a stand against the inhumanity of having carriage horses in this city, surely must know that animal lovers of this city have a conscience and do vote. Everyone should take a lesson from de Blasio’s comment and get a better understanding of treating these animals more humanely which will reflect upon us as a more caring and humane society.
With regard to carriage horses bringing income into the city through tourism, why can’t carriage horse drivers decorate and drive Pedicabs – the city would be cleaner and by pedaling pedicabs, the drivers would be healthier!
Siobhán Cronin, ST