Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Happy New Year, Whitey

This is my buddy Whitey's lil slice of the Big Apple, the Pond at Central Park. From this map, it doesn't look all that impressive, but it's a beautiful little quantum of solace, and that's probably one of the main reasons my girlfriend and I visit this part of Central Park so much. That and to hang out with Whitey. He doesn't ask for much, and we try and bring him some nice stuff to eat.

On Dec. 30th, we went to see Whitey with bags of birdseed for him and the rest of the ducks. Something looked odd about the Pond, but I didn't pay too much mind about a duck shortage, and a strange accumulation by the water's edge all along the perimiter of the Pond. Whitey has been missing before, and it's not for me to question the ways of Whitey. He was with some Mallards, and they were grooming themselves. On Dec. 31st, we saw him and a few ducks on the other side of the Pond in a spot where we could not get to him. I don't think he heard us or knew that we were there. I know he was kinda distracted, because he usually waddles, swims, and on occasion flies right for us, because he knows well have good food for him and his buddies. Still, we didn't see one duck in the Pond. Something DEFINITELY happened, and this is how we found Whitey on New Year's Day.

Ducks are NOT supposed to look like this. There's a gland that produces an oil used to clean themselves off and to make sure their feathers are waterproof. If they can't get whatever is out of their feathers, they're gonna die. Needless to say, my girlfriend and I were worried shitless. One of the people we regularly see at Central Park told us that he noticed an oily spillage in the Pond after Christmas, and it looked like it was coming from Wollman Rink, or a vendor there. It could have been some chemical spillage or oil, but no matter what it was, this was not right by a longshot.

After calling up the Central Park Conservancy and the Cenrtal Park Rangers' office, someone was sent out to investigate. I later found out that while precious little has been done short of putting up a boom to collect whatever had been leaking into the Pond, the going theory was that it was used cooking oil. The Central Park Conservancy did their best to flush the crap out of the water. They ran a hose, and it was running solid for at least a couple days. Still, while he lookd better the first week in January, he still looked spooked by the water. He was hardly swimming, and that broke our hearts. Just last week he began to swim for a lil bit, but he was doing his damnedest to get back to his old silly self. He'd carefully tread over icy bits to come to where we were. His feathers looked remarkably better, and I knew he was on the mend. Over the past couple of days, he'd swim for a lil bit, and he came to us easier. Just this part morning, he came waddling for us whe he heard the clicking sound, and he was swimming around after he had his fill. Whitey was practically all better, and while I should feel some degree of peace of mind, I want to know who thought it was ok to dump that much oil into the Pond. Even if that asshole doesnt understand that what they did will have an impact on the environment, I'm damn sure that this was illegal, and I want to know that this asshole is going to get punished. Since there's not a whole lot we can do about that, my girlfriend and I will continue to go to see Whitey, and feed him and his buddies.

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