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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.

Rescue Dogs of 9/11 September 12, 2021

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 Yesterday was a very hard day to relive as we honored those we lost 20 years ago on 9/11. We all remember that day – where we were – who we were with – and how we coped with the days, weeks and months that followed. I coped by blogging about the smells, the sounds and the sights that I witnessed. Some of you have been following my musings, photos and rants for about 20 years. I decided to return to the Museum of the Dog this week to see their new exhibit about some of the rescue dogs of 9/11. When the World Trade Center collapsed on September 11, 2001, nearly 10,000 emergency rescue workers joined in the efforts to help. More than 300 of those heroes were dogs. This article from the Doggington Post highlights a few of them. I spent a little time going over some of my posts from that time and thought I would share one of those posts from the 10th anniversary of 9/11. If you have a lot of time on your hands and want to go back in time I share my random and oft times funny musings here. My post from 2011 on the opening of the Memorial site is here. And finally, a post from 2016 when One World Observatory opened. Stay well and keep the faith.

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.

’til the Cows Come Home August 29, 2021

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 My appreciation of public art continues this week with some of Moo York City’s cows on parade. Here is a map of where the 78 cows are located. The cow parade came to NYC in 2000 and I remember it well. It was fun, festive and if you do not count the defacing, tipping or stolen cows it was a good thing for the many charities that received money from the auction. This time the auction proceeds will go to God’s Love We Deliver. Here is my tip for those looking for the cows. I went to the Staten Island location and found only two cows but did end up in an informative lengthy discussion with the gentleman that works at the lighthouse museum. And it is always fun to take the ferry. Bloomingdale’s has only one cow as does Macy’s. The balance of today’s cow photos were taken at the mall in Hudson Yards. I was too hot and tired to go to Brooklyn, Queens or the Bronx. If you go – take some photos please. For those that like a bit of NYC cow parade history – here you are. MOO!

Who’s Pulling Your Strings? August 22, 2021

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 Of all the things I missed during the COVID NYC shutdown – visiting museums was at the top of the list. Now that we are open again (with many restrictions) I am on a museum tear. This Museum Hack site says there are 145 NYC museums – guess I have lots of new places to explore. This new exhibit at the Museum of the City of NY is all about puppetry. Puppetry is a form of theater or performance that involves the manipulation of puppets – inanimate objects, often resembling some type of human or animal figure, that are animated or manipulated by a human called a puppeteer. I have always found puppets to be fun, instructive and occasionally scary. I encourage you to check out the whole museum – it is one of my favorites.

Blowin’ in the Wind August 15, 2021

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 I have always been fascinated with weather vanes. Probably got interested in them since I love watching clouds and would sometimes spot a weather vane while studying cloud formations. I think of weather vanes as a very early type of public art. When I heard the American Folk Art Museum was having an exhibit all about weather vanes I was on it.
Weathervanes have been around for over 2,000 years, invented by the Greek astronomer Andronicus in 48 B.C. to determine the direction of the wind. The first weathervane – also called a “wind vane” – was fashioned to look like the Greek god Triton, who had the head and torso of a man and the tail of a fish. This is a great museum and it is always free.They also have a wonderful gift shop. I encourage you to check out this wonderful space.

Happy 33rd Anniversary – Central Park Zoo August 8, 2021

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 Today is the 33rd anniversary of the Central Park Zoo. I am happy to say I have been associated with the zoo for the past 31of those 33 years (that is probably how I know most of you). The zoo began in the 1860s as a menagerie. The zoo or menagerie (as it was called) started inside and around the Arsenal (built in 1848 – which now houses our WCS administrative offices and the NYC Parks Dept). The zoo was modified in 1934 as part of the WPA with the addition of many new buildings arranged in a quadrangle around the sea lion pool. In a contract with NYC, the zoo was completely renovated in the mid-1980s and with much fanfare, reopened on August 8th, 1988, replacing the old-fashioned cages with naturalistic environments. There are many great old photos of the menagerie and zoo found with a simple google search. Come visit us soon and a very Happy Anniversary!

Going to the Dogs August 1, 2021

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 The American Kennel Club was founded in 1884 and is a registry of purebred dog pedigrees in the United States. I have never had a pure bred dog but I loved them all – regardless of lack of pedigree. Since August is now National Dog month I decided to finally visit the Museum of the Dog and devote today’s photo montage to dogs. I started to think about all of the wonderful dogs that have been in my life and added those long gone cuties (and some very old photos) into today’s montage as well. Here’s to my dogs Lois, Donald (their five puppies), Benny, One-eyed Jack and of course now, Mr. Pepe who have made my life so much happier through the years. They also have a ‘find your match’ game at the Dog Museum where your photo is taken and they come up with a dog that ‘matches’ you. Bottom photo in this montage is what I discovered as my ‘match.’ A Rat Terrier apparently is ‘friendly, inquisitive and lovable.’ Not sure that is a perfect description of me…but I will take it. Give your dog extra kisses this while month please. Woof!

Impressions from a Muggle July 25, 2021

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 Full disclosure…I am a Muggle. In J. K. Rowling’s world a person who is not familiar with the Harry Potter universe is a Muggle and hasn’t read any of the books nor seen any of the movies. Yup – that is surely me. Pre-covid I noticed that the empty Restoration Hardware space across the street from me was going to become a Harry Potter store. I notified my friend Nora (a devoted Harry Potter fan) as soon as I heard this news. Then COVID hit and construction ceased. When it finally opened last month to delighted crowds I knew it was only a matter of time until I too went inside. What’s a muggle to do? Would I understand anything? So dear Nora happily (and very patiently) accompanied me to my first visit and explained everything as we wound our way through the store. Gladly there was no exit test as I surely would have failed. We had a fun, laughed filled time. I enjoyed seeing the crowded store filled with masked up delighted families and friends. Nora ate some Butterbeer ice cream while I watched. The store is housed in a landmark NYC building so sadly they ran into some bureaucratic red tape when they tried to add a dragon to the outside. There are two virtual reality experiences to be had as well although we did not partake in those. if you are planning to go you must go to the store and get a virtual entry ticket. The line starts at around 6:30 in the morning but the store does not open until 10. From my perch I can watch the happy Potter crowds streaming out of the building each day. Have fun if you go (and bring credit cards because there is a lot to buy).

National Zookeeper Appreciation Week – 2021 July 18, 2021

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 The third week in July is when we recognize and celebrate the dedicated zookeepers who keep our zoos and aquariums humming. Zookeeper’s faces may change from year to year but the hard work, resourcefulness and commitment remain the same. I salute you all and especially the staff at my home base, the Central Park Zoo. This past year was especially difficult due to COVID19 but the hard working zookeepers stayed loyal to their purpose. Thank you for allowing me to take your photos while you perform your tasks with good humor. We are open 365 days a year (except during this year’s COVID shutdown), thru rain, snow, summer heat and all holidays. National Zookeeper Week starts today. How about if you go to a zoo this week tell a zookeeper how much they are appreciated? I have been fortunate to stay in touch with many of our Central Park zookeepers who have moved on and it was fun to look at my past Zookeeper Appreciation Week photo montages to see all of those beautiful faces again. If you want to take a photo adventure back in time check out these great years. 20202019 2018
20172016 – 2013