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A Return to the Beardsley Zoo October 10, 2021

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 I got the opportunity to return to the Beardsley Zoo with some good friends this week. I had not been there since 2013. There have been many terrific changes to the facility. The zoo is located in a park designed by Frederick Law Olmstead (who also designed our NY’s Central Park and Prospect Park). It is Connecticut’s only AZA accredited zoo. If you get a chance, I highly recommend a visit. The bottom photo of a snow monkey with a pumpkin is not from the Beardsley Zoo but is an oldie but goodie from one of my photo sessions at the Central Park Zoo. We are holding our first photo session since COVID on Halloween day. Click here to sign up for some pumpkin fun.

Red Pandamonium September 19, 2021

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Yesterday was International Red Panda Day. The Red Panda Network launched International Red Panda Day in 2010. At that time, 16 schools and a few zoos participated in red panda activities. Currently, more than 60 zoos around the world participate, with over 100,000 visitors on Red Panda Day. On our many zoocations we have come across lots of red pandas with Tennessee seeming to have the most. The very bottom of today’s red panda montage features photos of the Central Park Zoo’s pandas, Jen and Goodwin with their offspring, Scarlet and Rose. I took these photos back in 2004. Other than being absolutely adorable it is almost impossible to take a bad photo of a red panda. Speaking of photos, I am happy to announce the the Central Park Zoo will once again be holding adult photo sessions. The first one is Sunday, October 31st from 8:30 to 10:00am. Click here to sign up. We will obviously be featuring my favorite enrichment – pumpkins! Hope to see you there.

Six Feet Under September 5, 2021

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 In my quest to try to have a weekly adventure we took a short trip to Brooklyn in early August to visit beautiful Green-Wood Cemetery. I hadn’t been there in about 15 years and thought it deserved a new look. It was founded in 1838 as one of America’s first rural cemeteries. Still an active cemetery, the Green-Wood of today is also a cultural institution and an outdoor museum that tells the history and cultures of the borough, city and the nation. Today, Green-Wood’s 478 acres serve as the final resting place for over 570,000 permanent residents. Among the permanent residents are such notables as Leonard Bernstein, Boss Tweed, Charles Ebbets, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Horace Greeley, Margaret Pine (who was the last enslaved African-American in New York), numerous Civil War generals, baseball legends, politicians, artists, entertainers and inventors. I discovered after our visit that Pete Hamill is buried near Boss Tweed’s grave. Next time I go I will have to pay my respects to one of my favorite writers. The cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997 and was made a National Historic Landmark in 2006. A magnet for history buffs and bird watchers, Green-Wood is a Revolutionary War historic site (the Battle of Long Island was fought in 1776 across what is now its grounds), a designated site on the Civil War Discovery Trail, and a registered member of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System. It is free and open every day of the year.

Remembering the Blizzard of 2016 July 11, 2021

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 It has been a hot, humid, very rainy summer in NYC. For me – it is always a bad hair day. Since summer is a time of reruns I thought remembering other weather events might be fun and in this case…cooling. It was on January 24-26 of 2016 when 27.5 inches of snow buried NYCThe NYC blizzard kept most of us close to home (little did we know that four years later we would all be staying close to home due to the pandemic). Here are a few wintry photos from my neighborhood outing at the time. A citywide travel ban was in effect. It was eerily quiet out there except for an occasional snowplow. Our NYC zoos were closed for two days. Hope you all are ‘weathering’ this crazy summer and staying safe.

Red, White and Zoo – 2021 July 4, 2021

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Summer is a time for reruns. Accordingly I share last year’s post since July Fourth actually falls on a Sunday this year. This was a fun montage to create. I didn’t realize how many animals could be included in this red, white and blue themed photo montage. Wishing you a safe, happy holiday and keep those pets inside as most are afraid of the noisy fireworks.

Maya Lin’s Ghost Forest June 27, 2021

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 I am a big fan of public art. Public art is visually and physically accessible to the public; it is installed or staged in public space or the public realm, usually outside. Public art seeks to embody public or universal concepts rather than commercial, partisan or personal concepts or interests. It is not commercial and is usually temporary. Madison Square Park is my neighborhood park and has been exhibiting public art since 2004. I have adored most of the previous exhibits and was usually sad when they left but I knew another project would be coming our way and looked forward to that. Architect Maya Lins Ghost Forest is a grand success. She explains it much better than I can in this four minute video and shows us how she conceived and built this new work. It is on thru November 13. 2021 and I encourage a visit. You can also have a Shake Shack meal in the original Shake Shack in the park. Eataly is directly across the street and the new Harry Potter shop is one block away for you non-Muggles. Another public art project is happening the city in August. Yes, the Cow Parade is coming back to NYC from August 18 to September 30.

Happy Father’s Day 2021 June 20, 2021

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 While most caregivers in the animal kingdom are mothers, there are some fathers who join in the role as caregiver. I salute some of those fathers out there in today’s photo montage. Coincidentally – tomorrow is also National Martini Day. Why not celebrate that special day today? The photo above today’s montage is of my father, sister and me (circa – the beginning of time).

Kusama – Cosmic Nature at NYBG May 30, 2021

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 Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama  at age 92 is still going strong. This fun, colorful exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden is on through Halloween – which makes sense since she has a great admiration for pumpkins..as do I. ‘Kusama reveals her lifelong fascination with the natural world, beginning with her childhood spent in the greenhouses and fields of her family’s seed nursery. Her artistic concepts of obliteration, infinity, and eternity are inspired by her intimate engagement with the colors, patterns, and life cycles of plants and flowers’. Along with the fun installations in the Conservatory, there are several walk through immersive installations throughout the garden. We had a great time and the beautiful weather day was like icing on the cake. I highly recommend this to all.

Mamma Mia May 9, 2021

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My mother was born in 1918 during the Spanish Flu pandemic. I wonder what she would have to say about what we all are living thru today because of COVID19. I want to wish a very Happy Mother’s Day to all to all of the mothers, caregivers, nurturers, pamperers, surrogates and loving coddlers out there regardless of how you celebrate the day during these unusual times. Our mother, Lillian Wolfe, is long gone, but her advice, warnings and general ‘Lili-isms’ live on in our daily lives.  She taught us to laugh at life, to think, to question authority, to march, to protest – to fight the good fight. She also gave  us our moral compass – one glance from Lillian told us instantly whether our behavior was acceptable or not – and I got a lot of glances.  My sister Terry and I remember many childhood events differently but we both agree that our mother was a  pistol. Here’s to Lillian Wolfe – she formed and informed what we are today.

A Return to Turtleback Zoo May 2, 2021

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 Last Saturday had a few firsts for me. It was the first time I left NYC in 14 months. It was the first time I was in a car in 14 months. It was the first time I ate inside a restaurant in 14 months. That may not sound exciting to you but for me…it was a grand treat. We ventured to West Orange NJ to visit the Turtleback Zoo. We had not been to the zoo since 2014 and it has changed quite a bit. In 2016 they added a three acre African Safari and recently added a bald eagle exhibit. We had a great day out and I look forward to more adventures in the future.