Saturday, November 30, 2013

A squirrel's tour of PCV

We'd like to extend a warm welcome to all squirrel travelers and we're happy to present this self-guided tour for those interested in visiting the squirrels of Peter Cooper Village.

Your tour starts at the Main Gate at First Avenue and E. 22nd St.

Hop through the gate, pass by the squirrel-friendly guard house, and you will be facing east on Peter Cooper Road. Follow the path along the road and at the first crossroads you have a choice to bear left or right.  If you're hungry for a snack you can make a left and scoot over to the Acorn Palace which is near 23rd St. (though chances are there's nothing left by now... acorns go fast in the fall).
Otherwise stay to the right and follow Peter Cooper Road to the fountain.

Either path will lead  to the fountain (which can barely be called a fountain these days).

The Fountain

 There are quite a few black squirrels around the fountain, you may be lucky to meet Red Momma, who lives in a tree by the fountain and is usually somewhere around. 
Red Momma

The Purple Tree
Look for the family of purplish black squirrels that lived in the Purple Tree by the fountain last summer but seem to have scattered now. A few may still be around.

At the fountain you have a choice:
Continue to the right along Peter Cooper Road to the Playground Area.
Or alternatively,
Continue to the left along the path that leads from the fountain to the Orange Tree.

Path to the Orange Tree

The Orange Tree

There are actually two trees that the squirrels run back and forth between.
The Orange Tree is so-named because of several generations of orange squirrels that inhabited it a while ago. These are gray squirrels that have a lot of orange coloring and brilliant orange tails. They are somewhat similar in coloring to calico cats.

Here you will no doubt meet ET (be prepared: she will probably  pounce). Her four kids, three red-brown and one gray, should also be around.


There is also a large purple-black squirrel that lives around here and doesn't seem to mind tangling with  ET. And just beyond to the left and close 23rd Street, there's a family of  young black squirrels.

The Cherry Orchard
Either path leads to the Cherry Orchard, where on a nice day, all these squirrels can be found playing.

 Just beyond the cherry trees, rejoin Peter Cooper Road and follow it to the end. Turn right just before the exit, and you will be facing the flagpole and Gray Mama's tree.

Gray Momma's Tree
Turn right here

Gray Momma's Tree

You will probably find Gray Momma in her garden 

You can usually see squirrels engaged in one of their favorite pastimes: digging. If you didn't bring your own peanuts, and feel the need for a snack, this may be a good place to find one. There are plenty of peanuts to be found in that good earth!

The squirrels are mostly gray here, but if you walk to the other side of the green that abuts the garden you will find a colony of black squirrels near 22nd Street.
 Although our tour ends here, we encourage you to scamper across 22nd St (be quick and be nimble!) and go into Stuyvesant Town, which also has many black squirrels.
As far as we know PCV/Stuytown is the place to find black squirrels in New York City.

 Stuytown extends all the way down to 14th Street, a major crosstown street. From there if you have the time, you might want to cross 14th and head a few blocks down Avenue A, to Tompkins Square Park in the historic East Village. Plenty of lovely gray squirrels there, as well as many other sights. 

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