Residents concerned over recent squirrel deaths in Stuy Town

Deceased squirrel found in Stuy Town on Tuesday (Photo by Marilyn Pascarelli)

By Sabina Mollot

Several reported sightings over the past couple of weeks of dead and dying squirrels in Stuyvesant Town have had residents wondering what’s going on — since they clearly weren’t devoured by hawks.

One resident, Noam Freedman, said he saw a dying one near Playground 7, with his wife spotting another one behind 7 Oval. The one he saw was lying on the ground, its legs twitching.

“I’ve been here for 50 years and I’ve never seen a single dead squirrel,” said Freedman. “To see two in two days seemed strange.”

On November 15, Freedman noted the incidents on the Tenants Association’s Facebook page. This was followed by a few more residents commenting that they’d seen dead squirrels in different areas in the complex recently.

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Letters to the Editor, November 9

Nov9 Toon deBlahzzz

One man’s trash…

Dear Editor,

This is a reference to Brian Loesch’s letter to the newspaper (“Enough from the squirrels’ PR people,” T&V, Oct. 26).

His letter is very full of nonsense. All over New York City, squirrels seek food in garbage cans. This does not only occur in Stuy Town. Where are the squirrels supposed to go – to McDonald’s? If Mr. Loesch does not like it here, he can move out of the complex and let some poor family move in. I hope that he does no harm to the squirrels.

Best,

Maureen Kaine

Thanks for the wake-up call

Not sure what is going on but at this time of the night (3 a.m.). I am hearing intermittent back-up alarms. When I get up all I can see from my home is a flashing light on the backhoe in the construction site on Avenue C and East 13th street. Is the guard practicing operating it at this time of night?

Last night Con Ed had a delivery at 4 in the morning. With all of the structures they have built on the south side of the street, it is difficult for these tankers to maneuver and the back and forth of their trying to get into the docks is quite annoying at that time of the night.

Is it really necessary for such deliveries at that time?

Does this neighborhood need to be continuously subjected to this noise pollution?

Sherman Sussman, ST

 

Letters to the editor, Oct. 26

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Enough from the squirrels’ PR people

It takes a lot for me to pen a letter on any topic since I have an opinion on almost every subject, but when things get personal, I feel the need to speak out. Of all the topics I now feel the need to speak out about, squirrels were not at the top of my list. When people write letters to the editor describing children attacking wildlife (Ms. Antini), or accuse tenants of spreading false statements of squirrel attacks and rummaging through garbage cans (Mr. Paslayan), or saying that squirrels are not aggressive (Ms. Turchin), I have to counter those arguments. Especially since my son is a friend of that little girl who was scratched (“Squirrel scratches kid in ST,” T&V, Sept. 14) so I can bear witness to this firsthand.

As a lifelong resident of over 50 years in Stuy Town and now raising two very young children here, I am constantly in the playgrounds and because of this I am witness to squirrels not only rummaging through garbage cans (picture included), but also going in and out of people’s strollers seeking and stealing food.

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Letters to the editor, Oct. 5

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Dog runs need owners to pitch in

Re: “Dog owners say lack of open space the biggest challenge” and “Redesigned dog run in the works for Madison Sq. Park,” T&V “Dog Days” issue, Sept. 21

As an individual charged with attempting to administer the Union Square Dog Run (U-Dog), I found several comments in the two stories worthy of further pursuit:

 In the Madison Square story Ms. Munoz says she doesn’t bring her dog into the run because of the smell. Can’t resist a remark here — where does Li Li pee that she mops it up or does she realize she spreads the same smells around town for all pedestrians and children by going around the run?

Ms. Dang said she passes U-Dog up to go to Madison Square because our run smells worse due to the surface. The surfaces are the same! As is Washington Square.

But she also adds her preference that she likes paving options because “Concrete is easier to clean.” I always wonder, who do all these people think “cleans” the run? There is no service out there, the owners either pitch in and monthly pour cleansers and water or they let rain do it.

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Letters to the editor, Sept. 21

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

U.S. can’t always say yes to citizenship

To the editor:

In his “America’s Soul” column, T&V, Sept. 14, Steven Sanders put forward the idea that people who are “fleeing oppression, or [for that matter] just seeking a decent life,” have the same right to be here, on that account, as those who came here legally in the past. Mr. Sanders does acknowledge that “…these people and their children [are] not here lawfully,” and “nations need to have policies to accept new citizens,” yet neither acknowledgement counts for much in his column. Both get set aside… largely because America is the “beacon of hope.”

I too think that Mr. Trump’s maybe-desire to send them back to their native land is sleazy, despicable and expected, but I differ from Mr. Sanders undeclared view that there is now a new way, previously unknown, to obtain citizen status here in America: pain, fear suffering and illegal entry. A person’s life in a foreign country — even a brutal life in a brutal country — may be a horror, and it may be a good and relevant reason to consider granting, and then granting, citizenship, but a life in another country is neither a grant nor a right to U.S. citizenship. Living here as a citizen is not a right one can grant oneself. 

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Squirrel scratches kid in ST

Management has tried to deal with the issue through signage, but the squirrels have continued their M.O. of approaching people anyway, and looking at you like this. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Just when you thought it was safe to unwrap your Snickers bar in Stuyvesant Town, reports have surfaced of another child getting attacked by a squirrel. Last Thursday, in its weekly newsletter to residents, StuyTown Property Services stated that a child was scratched when a squirrel leapt out of a garbage can.

Because of this, management is asking residents not to feed the local wildlife anywhere on the property. SPS also not so subtly alluded to the fact that residents have been ignoring its rule about not feeding squirrels within 50 feet of the playgrounds specifically for children’s use.

Now, along with the signs, if a resident is spotted by a public safety officer feeding the critters near any of those five children’s playgrounds, he or she will be told to stop, a spokesperson for management told us. The rep added that the scratch received by the child wasn’t serious.

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Parents nuts about squirrel signs

A sign outside Peter Cooper Village’s Playground 2 (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maya Rader

Last week, signs appeared on five of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village’s playgrounds telling residents not to feed squirrels within 50 feet of the playgrounds.

Since it was parents who’d been pushing for the signage, not surprisingly several parents T&V spoke with this week almost all agreed putting them up was a good idea.

At Playground 2 in Peter Cooper Village, parent Jay Smith said, “I think understanding that they’re not pets and they’re wild animals is probably the first thing.”

Neighbor Andy Ryan said he’s seen squirrels climb into strollers looking for food.

At the Stuy Town clock tower playground, parent Julie Lee said, “The squirrels here are very aggressive, so it makes sense (to have signs).”

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Signs on squirrel feeding appear outside playgrounds

A sign outside Peter Cooper Village’s Playground 2 (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

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.”

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Letters to the Editor, Feb. 2

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

We’ve tamed them, so we owe them

Re: Editorial, “Squirrels: To feed or not to feed?”, T&V, Jan. 19

Dear Editor,

Thank you for the excellent editorial on the knotty squirrel issue in Stuy Town/Peter Cooper. We live a few blocks outside the complex and for decades have walked in to visit friends. Whenever we did, there were squirrels making eye contact and sitting in a begging stance. If we passed them by they would follow and repeat eye contact and begging.

This was two or three decades ago so I have to disagree a bit, i.e. these squirrels are not fully wild and haven’t been for generations. They’ve learned how to prosper in the middle of their humans who have trained them in how to get some of their sustenance.

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Editorial: Squirrels: To feed or not to feed?

We definitely don’t recommend doing this. (Illustration by Sabina Mollot)

We definitely don’t recommend doing this. (Illustration by Sabina Mollot)

In mid-July, Town & Village published a story detailing recent complaints made by three parents on a neighborhood Facebook group, claiming that their children had been bitten by squirrels in Stuyvesant Town. While the squirrels in the complex are known for being overly-friendly, this was the first time we’d heard of a child getting bitten by one, let alone three. So we asked around for more opinions, which, as usual, were mixed, though most people we interviewed seemed to agree the resident squirrels were aggressive in their begging habits.

Well, as anyone who reads this paper knows, that coverage didn’t go over too well with the community’s squirrel lovers, who interpreted the parents’ concern as hatred toward the fluffy tailed critters in letters we published. In addition, this newspaper was blasted as being irresponsible. “Malicious,” “slander” and “perverse” were some of the words used to describe the article, written by Town & Village editor Sabina Mollot. Our publisher, Chris Hagedorn, even got a call from a woman who threatened to boycott every business that advertises within our pages for our treatment of the local Eastern Grey population.

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Letters to the Editor, Sept. 22

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Sidewalks (better) get a lot clearer soon

On September 13, the Board of Health met and passed the following with respect to Health Code 161.03 which bears on dog waste on sidewalks and other public places:

Ҥ161.03 Control of dogs and other animals to prevent nuisance.

(a) A person who owns, possesses or controls a dog, cat or other animal shall not permit the animal to commit a nuisance on a sidewalk of any public place, on a floor, wall, stairway, sidewalk, lawn, garden or roof of any public or private premises used in common by the public, or on a fence, wall [or], stairway or entranceway of a building abutting on a public place.”

I’m told this statement of the regulation will go into effect around October 21.

The new statement makes clear that 161.03 applies to both public and private property.  This means that dog owners in STPCV would have to abide by the same rules by which other dog owners in the city are charged to abide. That is, dogs must be curbed, the waste picked up and discarded.

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Letters to the Editor, Sept. 15

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

A few points on previous squirrel letters

Re: Letter, “T&V story was squirrel slander,” T&V, July 28, written by the author of this letter and other letters about squirrels

Dear Ms. Sabina Mollot,

First I would like to apologize because now we understand that T&V was purposely misled when you wrote the article about “aggressive squirrels.”

To Judith Swearingen, I would like to let her know that we stand 100 percent in support of Mr. Salame’s letter on July 28. The fabrication of lies (regardless if it is against an ethnic group or animals) with the sole purpose of creating fear, panic, mistrust and hate towards a person, persons, ethnic group, religion is illegal and immoral to say the least. J. Swearingen missed the point of the letter. May I remind her that a subtle racism and antisemitism continue to exist in certain sectors of the society. I was also very impressed with her pseudo mental analysis of Mr. Salame’s other battles that have nothing to do with the squirrels.

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Letters to the Editor, Sept. 8

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Farewell, fabulous Sigfrido’s customers

Dear Ms. Mollot,

On Thursday, August 11, 2016, there was a story about me, Andy Evangelista, and the barbershop about my retirement in the Town & Village. I would like to express my feelings for my loyal customers, if it’s possible.

I must say it was an extremely pleasurable place to work in this great community. In the 48 years in my shop each and every customer became like a family member. It was a great joy to see these young children growing up and bringing their own children to the barbershop later on. Over the years there was so much love and devotion. I took major pride to be there and give my best service to each and every one who came into my shop and the results were great, everyone went out looking great and happy.

My brother Sigfrido and his brother-in-law, Nunzio bought the barbershop in 1961. A few years later they split the business and Sigfrido was the sole owner. My brother Bruno went to work there in 1967 and I in 1968. I was 19 years old. Sigfrido retired in 1998 and Bruno and I bought the shop and became partners. Due to health issues, Bruno retired about seven years ago and I became a sole owner of Sigfrido’s.

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Letters to the Editor, Sept. 1

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

The squirrels deserve our respect

Re: “Are Stuyvesant Town’s squirrels getting more aggressive?”, T&V story, July 14

To the Editor:

No, they have not gotten more aggressive. People sit on the Oval grass and café and I never see a squirrel anywhere. Why? Because they don’t want to be harassed. Yes, they do look to be fed. Yes, they will come up to people, walking by, but only to see if they will be fed. Just walk away and ignore them and they will leave. Don’t continue to look back because they think you changed your mind.

I realized there is a misguided ignorance in regard to the wildlife that needs to be addressed. And I hope that I can instill some understanding on this matter. I have lived in Stuyvesant Town for 26 years and have taken care of the squirrels in this area. I have also worked as a Defender Wildlife Caretaker, and with the Wildlife Rehabilitators for 25 years and provided for the wildlife’s needs. I would like to help share my knowledge and help others to understand the squirrels better.

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Letters to the Editor, Aug. 25

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

T&V letter could give sick people ideas

Dear Ms. Mollot,

In response to your July 21 issue letter to the editor regarding squirrels (“Bushy tailed beasts have taken over” by William Kelly), and with all due respect to freedom of speech, I can’t believe you printed this letter. I’m hoping he had nothing better to do and was just kidding, although it wasn’t such a funny letter if so.

To put such vicious actions into the minds of our children — and yes even adults — living in and enjoying our beautiful oasis is insane.

First of all there are strict rules on the books in New York City regarding animal cruelty — with serious fines and jail consequences.

But, additionally, can you visualize children, teens and adults walking around with bats and killing these living creatures on our property?

I’m sending a copy of Mr. Kelly’s letter to: the mayor, the ASPCA, Bideawee and the Humane Society of the USA in Washington, DC. I am sure that the 13th Precinct is already aware of this. In short, Mr. Kelly needs to be watched very carefully and taken very seriously!

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