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Morning Spew

Finally, NYC Gets the Bird We Deserve

All hail our new beady-eyed queen, Astoria the wild turkey! And more news to take you into the long weekend.

I mean, look at her. (Courtesy of @BirdCentralPark on X)

New York City has had its share of famous birds in recent years—there was Flaco, who enchanted us with his haunting hooting and his daring tale of escape and freedom. Barry the owl gave us succor during the darkest days of the pandemic. And who can forget the Hot Duck, who burst onto the scene in 2018 with his showy plumage

Gorgeous birds, beautiful birds, all. But that's exactly what has troubled us about these creatures—are they, perhaps, too photogenic, too put together, too stunning, to be a symbol of this teeming, incredible, yet often trash city? 

But finally, we have a bird that truly represents New York City and captures the spirit of our great metropolis—I'm talking, of course, about Astoria the wild turkey, who has been spotted in neighborhoods throughout Manhattan in recent weeks after being first seen in Long Island City and Astoria. (Hey, what about all the wild turkeys on Staten Island, you may be asking yourself—shhhh, we've already covered those guys.)

Here's more about her, via the New York Times:

Most likely, Astoria flew across the East River, making a pit stop either on Roosevelt Island or the Queensboro Bridge. She may have even walked across the bridge. Where she was before Queens is a mystery, but whatever her path, Astoria seems quite pleased with Midtown as her base.

She has largely stayed close to 49th Street and Park Avenue, eating blueberries presented to her by the staff at Fasano, exploring the avenue's median and foraging in other nearby planters for juicy worms. At night, she roosts in trees. On Wednesday evening, Astoria checked out Saks Fifth Avenue, a New York landmark known for its luxury designers. David Lei, a birder and photographer who has closely followed Astoria, said she perched atop the awning. A store associate suggested that Astoria should be invited to next year’s Met Gala.

It appears that even Astoria is becoming fascinated by herself. Mr. Lei said he had observed Astoria admiring her own reflection in some mirrored pillars at 280 Park Avenue, an office building. "She is very cute actually," Mr. Lei said, adding that "people don't typically describe turkeys as cute."

But her relaxed, calm demeanor is also cause for concern. Though Astoria has mostly trotted along the sidewalk or flown across the street, there have been close encounters with traffic. Several birders have had to escort her across the street, much to the aggravation of some cabbies.

A chill, confident Queens girl, just making her way in the city! 

Over the last few days, perhaps tired of Midtown (who wouldn't be), Astoria has decamped to the leafy and worm-rich environs of Roosevelt Island.

Long live our hunched, beady-eyed queen! May she not be felled by rat poison or a car. 

And some links to bring you into the long weekend:

  • What is dead (a lawsuit against Local Law 97) may never die.
  • Meanwhile, a bill to curb plastic packaging? Still alive, maybe!
  • Via the CITY: "Last year New York City experienced its largest loss of rent-stabilized apartments in eight years, while permits for new housing dropped 76.2 percent in 2023 compared to 2022—declines both driven by the expiration of a tax relief program widely used by residential developers…The 2023 reports found at least 9,694 apartments left rent regulation, more than one-third of them in largely luxury buildings whose 421-a tax break had expired. Nearly all new rent stabilized housing added last year was under the tax relief program, known as 421-a."
  • A stretch of Rockaway Beach will remained closed this summer. 
  • Adams vs. Adams is heating up.
  • Are chicken tenders coming back to public school menus? Not so fast
  • If seeing South American pudu deer is on your bucket list, I guess you're in luck.
  • "Two NYPD sergeants get into shoving match over salary gap: sources"
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