March 23, 2006-- It was all the news yesterday, when a coyote made its way into Manhattan and was found dashing and darting through Central Park. The spotting and subsequent chasing of the poor mixed breed --apparently coyotes can breed with both dogs and wolves--made national news and was reported on CNN, by the Associated Press, Reuters, Gawker, you name it, they carried it.
Must be a slow day in the media business, so much so that even I am writing about it. But for a different reason. No one really knows how Mr. Coyote, that frisky devil, made his way into Manhattan. But a routine check of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission for a news update on their paved River Road (it was buried this time last month by a rockslide) yielded a casual photo of a similar you-know-who. In fact, I myself have seen red fox on that road at 5:30 a.m. during my early training rides. In addition to five bunny rabbits, 21 doves, and eight Northern Cardinals.
And although it was theorized by my very own brother, NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe that Mr. Coyote came down to Manhattan via one of the Amtrak bridges, I would like to offer another theory: he came across the George Washington Bridge.
Now we all know that the pedestrian ramp closes at 11:59 p.m. so that no terrorists on bicycles can make their way across the bridge, shimmy up one of the poles, and install a bomb inside the rafters, all the while undetected. No, the ped path is closed from 11:59 p.m until 6 a.m. so that terrorist cyclists (and pedestrians). not to mention coyotes, fox, rats, pigeons, doves and bunny rabbits, can't cross without being acknowledged by one of the NYNJ Port Authority guards.
Which means one thing: that darn coyote could have crossed right under their very noses, before 11:59 p.m.! It makes sense, because the guard booth windows are at least waist high, and it is unlikely that a guard would register movement from his booth that is below the window height. This is the same technique that soldiers used during WWII, and if my memory serves me correctly from all the senseless war footage I have seen, also during the Vietnam war. Crawling on your stomach. Except Mr. Coyote did it so quickly, noiselessly, and with the ease of who he is, a crafty devil.