Brooklyn's Raccoons in the New York Times

Update 2010.01.03: Removed all links to the old Gowanus Lounge domain, which has since been appropriated by some parasitic commercial site.

Flatbush Raccoon, June 26, 2008
Flatbush Raccoon

Last week, I was interviewed by reporter Ann Farmer for the New York Times about my experiences with raccoons. The article is published in today's Times:
Raccoons have long been widespread in New York City, and there is no way to say with any statistical certainty whether there are more now. But Capt. Richard Simon of the Urban Park Rangers, which is part of the city’s Parks Department, said a rise in the number of 311 callers reporting sightings, encounters or interactions suggests that “the citywide population of raccoons has increased.”

One thing seems clear. In the leafy neighborhoods surrounding Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and Green-Wood Cemetery, residents have been flooding the Internet with raccoon stories.
- The City’s Latest Real Estate Fight: Humans Against Raccoons, Ann Farmer, New York Times, July 8, 2008
That pesky Internet! Ms. Farmer cites the Brooklyn blogosphere as one source for the reports:
Chris Kreussling, a computer programmer who lives just south of Prospect Park in Flatbush, posted pictures on his Flatbush Gardener blog recently of several raccoons in his backyard. It elicited a quick round of similar testimonies.

Another Brooklyn blog, the Gowanus Lounge, chronicled multiple raccoon sightings in recent days (link defunct) in Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Windsor Terrace and Red Hook.

When contacted, many bloggers recalled raccoons rooting around in gardens and compost piles, traipsing into children’s wading pools and sometimes rearing up on their hind legs when startled. Many expressed awe at seeing the nocturnal mammals so close.

“People need access to wildlife in urban areas,” Mr. Kreussling said. “I consider it a bonus.”
That last quote is a reference to biophilia, literally "love of life or living systems." I think the way I expressed it in the interview was something like: People need nature around them.

Ms. Farmer also interviewed several of my neighbors. Check out Nelson Ryland's cautionary tale of the hazards of cat doors!

Thanks to my neighbor Brenda of Crazy Stable and Prospect: A Year in the Park for putting Ms. Farmer on the trail!

Related Posts

Rabies in NYC: Facts and Figures
Summer Nights, June 26, 2008


The City’s Latest Real Estate Fight: Humans Against Raccoons, Ann Farmer, New York Times, July 8, 2008


Brenda from Flatbush said...

Biophilia is an antidote for anhedonia! We see surprisingly few raccoons given our proximity to the park, but our fave sighting was the guy who tried to tightrope-walk across the telephone wire in the back yards. They are clever beasts, but they're not very good tightrope walkers. We shone a flashlight on him and laughed at him, and I swear he looked mortified.

Chris Kreussling (Flatbush Gardener) said...

The raccoons I get seem to have no shame.