Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Blizzard: The great snowstorm of 2010

We were one day short of having a White Christmas, as the snow arrived on December 26. Following are some photos taken in and around Peter Cooper Village, in the first couple of days after the snowstorm.

Mini snow cyclone on First Avenue. Due to high winds, little cyclones of snow were blowing all around us.

It was scary, but we were out there to help the squirrels! Neither rain nor blinding snow would deter us from our mission.

YIKES!!! Step in THAT???


I can make it!

There might be a peanut in there somewhere.
OK where is it?

I give up; hand it over!

Little Miss Brownie sticks close to the base

And prefers to sit on her tuffet

But thanks so much for being there!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Winter Solstice

Well here we are approaching the shortest and darkest day of the year: the Winter Solstice, which is on December 21st this year. We have been suffering in a deep freeze here in New York. All the squirrels have their fur coats now, except for some of the littlest ones, that I fear for. Even Spunky - a skinny little suirrel - finally got her coat!

Last night we had our first casualty: a big, beautiful black adult that seemed to have half her face frozen. Bernie caught her with his bare hands and carried her home under his jacket, got her warm and fed her. She then rested and seemed OK, but at about 3 o'clock in the morning she started moving about in her cage and shortly after that, she expired. RIP, big, black beauty.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Letter to Lina

Dear Lina Macri,
As you know, you have deeply offended members of the New York squirrel community. If you wish to get back in their good graces, salvage your reputation, and once again  feel free to walk your dogs in city parks, I'd advise you to make reparations.

How could you do that? I'd like to suggest that you do some community service that would show your remorse, amd also that you are the animal lover  you profess to be.  Perhaps you could feed squirrels 2-3 times a week throughout the winter months. That way  you'd  have a chance to get to know up close and personal, these wonderful, sentient creatures that are every bit as smart as your beloved dogs. 

You will gain an appreciation for the fact that squirrels, unlike so many other animals, do not hunt and kill other animals. You will learn to love the littlest ones -- the babies -- and hurt for them on the coldest winter days. When you see that the squirrels you feed have to stay outside in the cold while your dogs get to go back to a toasty warm apartment, after their romp in the park, I think you'll develop a new empathy for squirrels. When you see that there are few nuts on the trees in winter and realize that the squirrels, unlike your well cared-for dogs, will have to go to bed hungry as well as cold, I think you will begin to care for them. And that could change your life around.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ice Pick Robber Hits Peter Cooper Village

Yes folks, the man dubbed the 'ice-pick robber' has come to our fair community. After hitting Co-Op City in The Bronx three times, he came to  Peter Cooper Village and then to Stuyvesant Town.  First he struck inside a building on Cooper Road in Peter Cooper Village on Monday evening (Nov. 22). The victim was a 63-year-old woman.

Then he moved next door to Stuytown where according to police, he robbed two women in separate incidents only minutes apart on Thursday (Dec. 2).

The suspect follows the victims into the buildings and into the elevators, displays a weapon (knife or ice pick), demands money and/or jewelry, receives an unknown amount of USC/jewelry, and flees the locations on foot.

The suspect is a M/B or M/H/40's, 6'0", 250lbs, with a close-cut beard, and was wearing a green jacket.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto Crime Stoppers' website at or by texting their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577.
All calls are strictly confidential.

From Fox News we have the following report:

At 3:15 p.m. and the again at 3:22 p.m., the man approached two women in the elevator of two apartment buildings with an ice pick and demanded money, according to the NYPD.

In the earlier robbery at 17 Stuyvesant Oval, the man took off with the victim's wallet and phone. In the second attack, at East 14th Street, the man stole money and jewelry.

No one was injured, police said.

The 'ice pick robber' has struck at least six times beginning on November 10.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Squirrel Killer Redux

We found some interesting links. Lina Macri owns a company called The Dog and Pony Show

This link gives us some insight into her professional life:

Her twitter tweets and a Facebook page that she set up for a sick puppy both portray her as an animal lover:!/linamacri

Based on these new findings, I'm in the process of re-evaluating my theory about Lina. Prior to this I thought she was either insane or psychotic or both. Now after reading her resume, I think she is not only sane but quite accomplished. And she probably sees herself as an animal lover (unless the bid to raise money for the sick puppy is a total fraud). My guess is that she considers squirrels to be on a rung of animal life lower than that of her pets. Her rationale may be that if she feeds her dogs canned horse meat, why not give them fresh squirrel meat as well?

At Peter Cooper Village, I sometimes see dog owners stalking squirrels with their leashed dogs. They'll let their dogs take them over to a tree where they seem to enjoy watching them terrorize the squirrels, who are usually scrambling up the tree to get away. They always have smiles on their faces, as if to say, isn't that cute? If you talk to them, they'll say that they are not doing any harm, since the dog is securely on its leash. They seem to think that the dog has a right to this kind of sport and apparently enjoy contemplating what might happen if the dog wasn't on the leash.

I'm thinking that maybe Lina believes her dogs need that kind of exercise (or maybe training), that they need a kill, and that squirrels being somehow lower animals, are fair game. Speaking of game, maybe hunting squirrels, like rabbits and hares, is part of the culture of her country of origin. Anyone for scoiattolo in istufato?

Maybe she thinks we're the ones who are nuts!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

squirrel killer stalked by media

The woman called "Lina" who with her two german shepherds has been stalking and killing squirrels in Washington Square Park continues to be a hot item with the New York press. Over the last several days the story has been on Channel 2 News and Fox TV, as well as on several radio stations and in print. Here's a second Daily News article:

And an article in the Village Voice:

Reporters and paparazzi are continuing to track Lina in hopes of catching her "in the act". But enough has already been witnessed to convince Park officials and Police of what she's been up to. Seems that she has a date in criminal court in December, and we just heard she's been banned from the Leroy Street (Hudson River Park) dog run, having been ticketed more than once in the process. Be on the lookout: she could show up in a park near you. If you see her letting her dogs off their leashes call the Parks Dept at: 212-387-7676
(Click to Enlarge)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bloodthirsty pooches eyed in vicious maulings of Greenwich Village squirrels.

The story broke in today's Daily News:

There were also stories on WCBS News and NBC TV News at 6pm.

But here at The New York Squirrel we had the scoop almost a month ago:

Thanksgiving Day

Meanwhile, she has not been resting during the Thanksgiving holiday. She was seen in the park several times subsequent to her Nov. 12 ticketing for violating the off-leash law. One night she was seen at about 8 pm by the chess players there. A second sighting was on Thanksgiving Day, shortly before 1 pm when her dogs attacked three squirrels. Two were gashed but able to run away and the third died immediately.

One witness  said he saw her dog kill a squirrel about 1 1/2 months ago. He thought it was an accident and started talking to her and said she told him viciously to get away or she would sic the dog on him! He thought she was crazy and quickly left.

Another witness saw her dog attacking a squirrel. He said the dog was extremely fast. The squirrel "was boogying, got about 5 feet up the tree and the dog just got its tail, yanked it down, and then gave it one killing bite and let it go." This guy said there was a police car there with uniformed cops and several Parks people in green uniforms. Two of the Parks people in green uniforms were black guys and the woman allegedly said to them: "What are you doing here? You should be up in Harlem!"

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Squirrel Killer Caught

Unfortunately she was just given a criminal summons for having her dogs off their leashes. NYPD said there's no chance of pressing animal cruelty charges unless intent can be proved. She says the dogs are service dogs, and claims she suffers seizures, and that's why she drops the leashes. But witnesses watched her let the dogs loose. It was quite a scene. She tried to say they hit and threatened her, but luckily there were lots of witnesses to the confrontation, and also to the squirrel deaths. People need to be on the lookout for her because there's a good chance she will strike again, if not in WSP, perhaps in another park. This is a picture of her and her dogs. 
(Click to Enlarge)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Smells like Squirrel Spirit

Smells Like Squirrel Spirit

On November 6, I attended the latest
exhibition, opening and performance
by American artist William Earl Kofmehl III

which coincided with the inaugural reception
of the new
Lombard-Freid Projects space
at 518 West 19th street

When I first arived I could see it was going to be a nutty scene, but I soon realized that it was also a tour de force.

There were ancillary themes of knights, narcissism and old New York, but the main focus of the show was squirrelsessence of squirrel - eau de squirrel - raised to the level of art.

Whence came this inspiration? From what I heard, William Kofmehl, the artist, met Bernie Goetz in a park one spring day, played with the squirrels and then just got it -- he flipped for squirrels.

The centerpiece was this giant wooden squirrel sculpture, which people milled around and were able to walk through, which served as a trojan horse for the artist who lurked inside, emerging only at the end of the show, to say goodnight!

He was actually not lurking, as you could hear his voice coming from the squirrel eye microphones throughout the evening!

And not to worry, with a little help from his friends, arias were being sung and great passages from literature being recited alongside  his own contributions.

And then there was Bernie Goetz with his pet squirrel in tow, who would help to make the evening complete. 

Golden Squirrels

And the piece de resistance --  in lieu of his physical presence, a bronze of the artist sitting on a park bench surrounded by squirrels.

check the red ponytail.

how about a corn cob tail!

Watching Bernie and the artist play with squirrels on video.
Here's one of the videos. 

     Bernie and his squirrel meet and greet. 

Man puts hand in carrier to feel squirrel.
But is there an actual squirrel in there?

              Yep, there is!


Viewing the fascinating canvases embroidered by women of Costa Rica, where the artist lives for part of the year. The canvases, many of which feature squirrels, are for sale.

The exhibit is a triumphal recognition of squirrels and we are indebted to the artist for taking time to focus his genius on our furry friends and shine his brilliant beam of light on them. 

This man caught the Squirrel Spirit!!!

The exhibit can be viewed  until Dec. 21 at:
Lombard-Freid Projects
518 West 19th Street.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Squirrel Killer Still at Large

The WSP squirrel with the broken legs died overnight. It's not known if  his injuries were caused by this woman, but she and her dog have caused many other deaths.  Possibly the dog caught him.

It seems that she is hated in the WSP dog run; there are plenty of people who would like to see her brought to justice.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Dear Father Knickerbocker, I Just Googled You

This amazing squirrel sculpture will be a centerpiece of the inaugural show that opens on Saturday Nov. 6, at the Lombard-Freid Projects in Chelsea. The show includes a video interview with Bernie Goetz, and 150 canvases embroidered by a group of Costa Rican women commissioned by the artist, William Earl Kofmehl III, who lives and works between Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and San Luis, Costa Rica.

The wooden sculpture of the giant squirrel becomes a backdrop for a series of performances enacted by the artist and his cast. Characters played by various members of the Kofmehl’s family and friends perform a script that conflates the Greek myth of Narcissus with the artist’s own Wikipedia explorations. Read More

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Squirrel Killer on the Loose

This time we're not talking about a hawk. We're not even talking about a dog. We're talking about a human being, a fellow New Yorker.

We just heard that there is a woman who allows her dog (a German Shepherd mix) to hunt and kill squirrels in Washington Square Park on the NE side. Quite a few squirrels; five that our informants know of in the past few weeks. The dog enjoys killing and they think she does too.

They just discovered this a few days ago and sent a complaint to the current Park Manager. Then yesterday as they were walking through the park, they came upon people gathered around a dying young squirrel. Some of the chess players there saw the dog attack. The woman and dog had just left the park.

Another squirrel was located at the base of the Hangman's Tree that night. He has two broken legs, which have been set by a vet. With luck, he'll have use of at least three, but is going to have a hard recovery. It's not known if he was chased by the same dog, but it's likely.

There are people watching out for her now, and working on getting more information. She appears in the park around 8 am, and then around 5 pm. Yesterday she varied her routine. She's young, medium height, slim, w/long dark shiny hair. She wears sunglasses.
Ralph Musolino has asked people to call the Parks Office at 212.387.7676 if she's seen. They want her apprehended for animal abuse.

black baby found dead

After a cold, wet and stormy 24 hours, a black baby was found dead on the ground not too far from the tree stump pictured below. It must have died from exposure. It was probably unable find a dry  hole to snuggle into during the storm. It may have been pushed out by bigger squirrels if there was not enough room.  No room at the inn? Um... no inn?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

the autumn leaves

In a final affront, they are taking away the leaves - the materials squirrels use for building their nests. First they've been chopping down trees, including one of the biggest ones that was used by squirrels for many homes. Think of the equivalent of an entire apartment building.  This is no joke in winter when the freezing winds blow and the snow and sleet pour down.

Now they're blowing all the leaves into piles and bagging them up to be carted away. Not a peep from the squirrels of course, as they watch and wonder. Sadly, they have no voice, and few speak for them. Of course there are already plenty of nests that have been built by the industrious creatures, but strong winds mean nests must  constantly to be refurbished. And with what, if there are no leaves left? It's sad because leaves are not only  decorative but they also serve the purpose of nourishing the soul-- oops I meant the soil --  but I'll leave that typo in. It almost seems like the workmen there are making work for themselves, for no good purpose.

Instead of picking up leaves, why don't they pick up trash? The park is looking more and more like a garbage dump these days. Bernie goes around picking up trash whenever he comes over there now.

On top of this there is now at least one hawk in residence at PCV. And there's something else that I neglected to mention at the time, which is brought to mind by the hawk. About a month ago they started clearing out all the bushes and hedges at PCV. In some cases they chopped down bushes as if they were trees, leaving big bare areas of ugly stumps. Where there used to exist plenty of cover for squirrels, these bare landscapes aid the hawks and make squirrels feel more exposed as well as look particularly ugly. Why have they done this?

Monday, November 1, 2010

the good news and the bad news

First the good news: Bernie found Littleguy! Then he brought him over for a celebratory visit -- lots and lots of nuts and water -- he was ravenous and thirsty after being outside for four days.  Here we're getting a glimpse of his glorious chompers: (click to enlarge)

Open wide!

Now for the bad news: Another hawk sighting at PCV. Looks like they're back for the winter. Today the hawk was swooping low along the hedges (where squirrels like to hide). Then it flew from one end of PCV to the other. On the move.

El Día de los Muertos

In memory of Dolly - the halloween squirrel - one year ago today

Dolly's skull has fallen out of her tree. It has no doubt rolled out so that we'll remember her on this coming Day of the Dead. Her tail is still sticking out the hole, and has become as brittle as a witch's broom.

A curious squirrel sniffs Dolly's skull:

The story of Dolly:

Hello Dolly!
Goodbye Dolly?
R.I.P. Dolly

Friday, October 29, 2010

Tree Down in PCV

Yesterday PCV lost one of its oldest and biggest trees. They've been cutting down trees with a vengeance recently. We got nervous when we saw the yellow truck parked next to the big squirrel tree, one which was full of  wonderfully large holes. And sure enough, the tree was about to come down.

What a revoltin' development this is! First the return of the hawks, then this sacking of the homeland. The squirrels are sure not "Living the life of Riley" at PCV these days.

In fact I think Tubby had moved over there and if she's already had her babies, her nest was possibly in that tree. Nobody admits to finding any babies' nests there.

I couldn't stand to stand there and watch. We came back a  while later and this is what we found.

And then today, the final death blow had been administered to one of the finest squirrel homes in PCV.
When the cold weather arrives, there will be less room for squirrels to snuggle up and stay warm, with this big tree gone.  Maybe that's why God is sending in the hawks -- to thin the ranks so there's not as much competition for bed space?

Whenever I see trees going down like this, I remember the battle over the old trees in Grammercy Park, and how "they" finally won and took away all the magic from that park. It's not even worth walking out of my way to go by there now. It may look pleasant enough, but it does nothing for me, whereas walking by the old Grammercy Park used to take my breath away.