Right here in New York City!

I’ve really nothing to say right now, but I couldn’t just send you these snaps without some kind of comment.  This afternoon, walking thru the Ramble in New York’s Central Park, I ran into these fellers:


In Central Park!!


Quiet, calm, curious, friendly–but mostly curious– raccoons right here in New York City, where people come from everywhere else so they can make more noise and craziness than they could at home while at the same time being more afraid of strangers than they’d ever been before.  But not them.

So you can surely imagine my surprize when these little fellers, soft as their fur, just moseyed out of the trees onto the sidewalk and right up to me. Not brave but simply with no fear and no reason to develop any.

Look at this one! There he is up on his hind legs and there I am on my ugly twisted feet looking down into his beautiful eyes and there we are, the two of us, just being there in the Ramble in Central Park in New York City.


*                   *                  *

Now that I’m back home and I’ve started thinking again (while I was out there I was too busy being there to do any thinking), I wonder how they got there and where was mama when I was taking pictures and how come in 43 years of walking thru the Ramble I’d never seen raccoons in there before and some more generic questions like what do they eat and how do they spend their time and do they have rabies.  That last one gives rise to a personal question:

Was my toe in danger?

The only one I can truly answer is the last one: no.

Published in: on August 2, 2008 at 9:59 pm  Comments (4)  

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  1. Dear Dick:

    Your toe was in danger. I don’t know how much; obviously these animals are used to people. They do however remain wild animals and, if they feel threatened, they would promptly munch off your toe, without the least malice. I would personally be willing to vouch for your utter lack of intention to cause harm to any coons, but alas, coons are very anti-lawyer. (For example, a typical coon lawyer joke– What do you call a nest made up of the shredded flesh of lawyers? A slum.)

    While I am therefore unable to help you with a letter of reference or such, I can tell you my three coon stories. When I was an undergrad, I lived off campus, renting a house with two other students. Our landlords were foster parents for wild animal babies. At the time I was renting from them, they had a baby racoon. Having been raised by humans, it was very frendly. It used to crawl up on me, remove one cigarette from my pack, True Blue in those days, take it to the floor, and, with one vary sharp claw carefully split it open and examine it.

    The second story dates from the first year of my marriage. You reached the second floor, three square foot back porch by means of an open stair case. In back of our apartment was a good sized wood. One night Barbara and I came home to find a very large coon on the back porch. Barbara started to shoo it away, but I stopped her. Unless you’re armed, and we weren’t, you should not annoy a large coon when you’re standing between it and it’s only means of flight.

    The third story concerns my sister Charlotte, who lives out in Avon. One night, a coon came in via the dog flap. Charlotte’s dog, a minature poodle, repulsed the invasion by the use of sonic power– he barked very loudly and persistently. The coon left the house, but the dog flushe with victory, decided to mount a pursuit, Charlotte pulling up in the rear of the chase. The dog finally got close enough to the coon to threaten the coon, who fliped over on it’s back. As the vet later explained to Charlotte, the usual procedure for the coon in such cases is to “De-glove” the dog — remove it’s skin like a glove. Charlotte however came up in time and fought of the coon. the coon, caring nothing for honor, left the feild. Having known Charlotte, aka the Baby, since 1955, I believe it made the right choice.

    If I had been in your situation at the park, I’d have let the coon climb on me. I would, however, have known it was dangerous. I live for danger, and I remain

    Your fond b-in-l



  2. While waiting for the other Goldberg on the steps of the Met one early summer’s evening many years ago, across the street is a cabbie being busted by NYC’S FINEST. In the tree above them watching the frisk was ….a rather large racoon–maybe one of yours.



  3. Rabies is endemic among racoons. One of the symptoms of rabid animals is that they act in unusual ways, like coming up to humans when they normally don’t, or walking around in the afternoon when they are usually nocturnal. In other words, you would have gotten rabies had the coon decided to bite you.

    Please don’t do that again. Racoons may look cute, but they are dangerous critters. Why do you think they wear those masks?


  4. Here it is, now December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day. And on this day the City of New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene published this:

    2009 Health Alert # 45

    Three Raccoons from Central Park Test Positive for Rabies in Recent Months
    December 7, 2009

    • Three raccoons collected from the northern end of Central Park have tested positive for rabies in 2009, two during the past week.
    o A fourth raccoon from Manhattan tested positive in July 2009 but was collected near Inwood Park.


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