View Full Version : Manhattan Squirrels

February 28th, 2003, 07:24 AM
I noticed

February 28th, 2003, 07:20 PM
It's curious that squirrels from different parks have different behaviors. Maybe Central Park's are wilder.

April 6th, 2003, 07:42 AM
April 6, 2003
Hard Hats Insist There's a Squirrel Up There

The 54-story glass and steel tower that Bloomberg L.P. is building on the site of the old Alexander's department store isn't due to be finished until 2005, but if the construction workers there aren't imagining things, its first occupant has already moved in.

Several months ago, a gray, bushy-tailed squirrel appeared on the eighth floor, and, enticed by the prime Midtown location and a generous supply of bagels and bananas from workers' lunches, it decided to stay. Or so some of the workers say.

Not everyone working at the site, on Lexington Avenue at 58th Street, has seen the squirrel, but everybody seems to know about it. It does not live in a cage, but ventures out from behind steel beams at the end of the workday, to collect scraps and to cement its title as the job site's unofficial mascot.

Mike Weipert, a strapping teamster in a Levi's denim jacket and a hard hat plastered with decals, was surprised that anyone outside the site had heard of it. "Boy, nothing's sacred," he said. But even with the secret out, Mr. Weipert was circumspect about the squirrel's identity, although he did refer to it as male.

"He's anonymous," Mr. Weipert said. "Nah, I'm not giving out names. Next thing you know he gets an agent, the agent gets 60 percent, he goes to a bigger site.''

Other workers offered unhelpful suggestions as to the squirrel's whereabouts: "We threw him off the roof." "A tank rolled over him." A worker whose girlfriend is a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals hurriedly added that a tank did not, in fact, run over the squirrel.

Responding to the arched eyebrows of a reporter and a photographer, who did not actually see the squirrel, workers insisted that it did exist. To prove it, Dino Verdi, a foreman, radioed a worker named John, in another part of the building.

"Hey, John, did you get rid of that squirrel?'' the foreman asked.

"I still got him," John replied over the radio. "I've been trying to get him to wear safety goggles, but he refuses."

Brett Auerbach, a superintendent standing nearby, added, "Hopefully, he'll bring in a crew of squirrels, and they'll finish the job for us."

For now, the mysterious squirrel has a safe, dry pied-à-terre. But what happens when the building - to be the headquarters of the financial and media information company - is completed?

"I think he's going to do very well with Bloomberg," Mr. Auerbach said.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

April 6th, 2003, 08:29 AM
Next Parks Commissioner?

April 7th, 2003, 04:40 AM
April 7, 2003
Where the Squirrels Roam

The New York gardening season gets under way in late April, after the last of the spring snowstorms. By then, plants, soil and sacks of manure cover the sidewalks in front of hardware stores and bodegas all over town. Americans do not think of gardening when they think of vertical, asphalt New York. But even people who have never touched dirt in their lives get the urge to garden after moving to a city where leafy green things are notoriously rare.

New Yorkers vent the agrarian impulse in window boxes, roof gardens and by setting out tomatoes on balconies and fire escapes. One of my neighbors in Brooklyn has cultivated a vineyard on the roof of a garage. A thousand-square-foot yard is not even a postage stamp in the Midwest. But those of us with that much earth within the city limits of New York qualify as gentleman farmers.

The row-house gardener is not an island, especially in a densely populated city like this one. The fate of my garden rests heavily on what happens in the yards of my neighbors. My roses, which need full sun, have been imperiled for years by the creeping shade of an ever-larger locust tree owned by a neighbor two doors over. Persuading her to prune the tree will require patient negotiations.

My soft, well-mulched flower beds are a magnet for the 10 or so cats that live on the adjacent properties, including a family of four feral cats that weathered the winter under a large evergreen bush next-door. Cats bypass stonier beds and make a beeline for mine. The first few weeks of the season will be spent cleaning up after my feline visitors and laying down the noxious repellent to persuade them to find cat boxes elsewhere.

My first survey of the yard revealed peanuts buried by squirrels. The peanuts mean that someone is feeding the squirrels, which means that the litters will be bigger and that more and more squirrels will descend on the gardens. A recently departed eccentric known as the Squirrel Lady brought a plague of the animals by dispensing pounds of peanuts at a time from the back porch, while the bushy-tailed beasts frolicked over her arms and shoulders. The squirrels grew steadily fatter, and the population exploded.

They intimidated the neighborhood cats and emptied the bird feeders. They buried the peanuts in window boxes and flower pots, then promptly dug them up again. They descended on fruit trees and tomato plants, taking a bite from each piece of fruit and leaving the rest to rot. Worst of all from my perspective, they ate every tulip every year. They devoured 200 bulbs in my yard alone.

The cats can be persuaded to move on. But the poor gardener does not stand a chance when someone lays out a banquet for the most ravenous beast on the urban landscape. The first gardening chore of the season: find out who is feeding the squirrels and get the culprit to stop. *BRENT STAPLES

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

April 7th, 2003, 07:01 AM
How come they intimidated the neighborhood cats ? They are adorable.
As sweet as rats, but with an even nicer tail.
I love them.

April 7th, 2003, 11:01 AM
Me too. Squirrels can stand up, and they shell nuts with their little hands. They run around tree trunks and absolutely torment my dog. Plus they're smart, which is why I think they're disliked so much - very few people have achieved a squirrel-proof birdfeeder.

January 27th, 2004, 12:28 PM
Union Square:



January 27th, 2004, 01:09 PM
"It's so cold today that in park, I saw a squirrel salting his nuts."

January 27th, 2004, 01:31 PM
Hehe.. I like very much the one holding the guy's glove. I should do that one day, provided the glove is thick enough to keep out teeth and saliva.

August 28th, 2009, 07:27 AM
Maybe it’s nuts, but they call her ‘The Squirrel Whisperer’

By Kara Bloomgarden-Smoke


“When I was a small child, I used to walk through Prospect Park with my grandfather. I thought he was magic because the squirrels always followed him,” said Susan Goren. She later learned that her grandfather had dropped nuts as they walked all along.

Although Goren has always noticed squirrels, it wasn’t until she went on disability three years ago following various health problems and unexpected surgeries that she began to bring nuts and water, as well as attention, to the squirrels in Washington Square Park on a daily basis.

Goren spends about $150 a month on feeding squirrels.

“I had to start ordering online, because around here they charge a lot for a pound of nuts, and that will last me less than a week,” she explained during a recent visit to the park. “I can order online in bulk, but I don’t have room in my apartment to store 25 pounds of nuts.”

Goren is planning to share the order with a fellow Washington Square Park squirrel feeder.

Goren and a friend did a squirrel taste test with almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts and acorns. The critters take the acorns every time, although acorns are not always available.

In the fall, Goren imports acorns from the playground outside of the McDonald’s on W. Third St. There are also a few oak trees in Washington Square Park that produce the squirrels’ favorite food.

Like all rodents, squirrels’ teeth keep growing and they have to continuously shave them down. Goren says that sometimes you can hear the squirrels making scraping noises on harder nuts like almonds and hazelnuts, which means that they are filing their teeth.

“When I started, I used to get bitten, but I haven’t been bit all year — knock on wood,” Goren said. “Bites hurt like the devil. They have a very sharp set of teeth. They are rodents, after all.

“They don’t have rabies,” she added.

A friend of hers went to St. Vincent’s after getting bitten and the doctor said not to worry about rabies upon hearing the type of animal bite.

When a tree limb was cut down and the squirrels’ nest box fell, Goren fed the babies with a syringe filled with puppy food every two hours and was “heartbroken” when the babies didn’t make it.

“I am not a rehabber yet, but every time I take care of new babies I get a little closer,” Goren said.

A squirrel rehabber is licensed by the state and must pass tests, submit references and have an interview in order to get approved. Certified squirrel rehabbers are listed with the Center for Animal Care & Control so they can be called up if a motherless or injured squirrel is found.

When a squirrel recently got hit by a car, a rehabber kept the squirrel in a dark room and the animal recovered, Goren noted. If a squirrel is sick or injured, it can be taken to a veterinarian that specializes in wildlife.

“I took a squirrel in a carrier on the subway to a vet on the Upper East Side. The squirrel needed surgery but ultimately didn’t make it,” Goren recalled.

Goren once saw a dog kill a squirrel in Washington Square Park.

“There is a leash law for a reason,” she said. “A squirrel is just as sentient a being as a dog or a cat.

“I spend a couple hours a day watching them when I have time,” she said. “In the summer, the days are longer so they stay out later. They don’t come out at night because they are scared of rats.”

Goren is not the first local resident to spend time observing squirrels. “Squirrels at My Window: Life With a Remarkable Gang of Urban Squirrels,” considered an essential text, was written by Grace Marmor Spruch, a former New York University physics professor, and details Spruch’s observations from the window of her Washington Mews apartment.

“The book is very accurate,” Goren said. “Everybody who feeds squirrels in Washington Square Park has a copy.”

There are reddish squirrels in the Hanging Tree in the northwest corner of the park. Someone told Goren that the squirrels’ color could be because of the reddish sap of the tree, and she thinks that it is a plausible explanation.

According to Goren, there are only four or five black squirrels in Washington Square Park, but there are more in Stuyvesant Town and in Union Square, although she doesn’t know why.

“We have the fattest squirrels in the city in Washington Square Park,” Goren noted. “I’ve heard that the squirrels in Union Square are starving because nobody feeds them.”

There is no law against feeding squirrels. Councilmember Alan Gerson backed an anti-pigeon-feeding ordinance, but that does not apply to squirrels, explained Goren. Goren does not feed the pigeons, but she makes an exception for a white pigeon that somebody named Paz.

“Paz adopted me, I didn’t adopt Paz,” she said. “She is too well mannered, I think she might be from a pigeon coop.”

Local Parks Department officials are mostly supportive of Goren’s efforts. One Parks worker came by to tell Goren that he had seen a baby squirrel in a nearby tree.

Squirrels have babies in February or March and then again in August and September.

“There are new babies now; so the spring babies have to learn how to cope on their own,” Goren explained. “They get pushed out of the nest to make room for the new ones.

“I saw squirrels screwing a few times,” she said. “It was the funniest thing on the planet. They were making babies!”

Goren estimates that there are between 75 and 100 squirrels in Washington Square Park. She can often tell them apart because of the markings on their faces.

“People ask if I give them names,” Goren said. “But there are too many for that!”

She improvised her own sound to attract the squirrels.

“The sound I make is not a squirrel noise, but they know it’s me and I won’t hurt them. I made it up because it echoes well.”

Goren feeds the squirrels on the east side of the park, along with what she says are half a dozen other people who do the same. The squirrel feeders split up the park into different sectors, which Goren explains began when the park was under reconstruction.

During the Washington Square Park phase-one reconstruction, a score of squirrels died, according to Goren.

“I think it is because years ago they didn’t put rat poison in boxes, it was just loose,” she said. “So maybe it was in the soil when they dug it up.”

Goren is a popular fixture in Washington Square Park.

A student from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts recently used footage of Goren hand feeding the squirrels for a film-class project and posted a clip of it online.

“The N.Y.U. film students call me the ‘The Squirrel Whisperer,’” Goren said.

She is used to posing for pictures with the Washington Square Park squirrels.

“I am in more pictures taken by foreign tourists than anything. The Italians and the French love to take pictures of me feeding the squirrels.”


February 4th, 2011, 07:56 AM
Squirrels in Tompkins Square Park

(click to enlarge)

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_p2jgVV2iZVs/TUopN0SR-cI/AAAAAAAAo3k/Yg1VtsFDIcY/s400/-2.jpg (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_p2jgVV2iZVs/TUopN0SR-cI/AAAAAAAAo3k/Yg1VtsFDIcY/s1600/-2.jpg)


October 1st, 2012, 03:14 AM