Downtown Express file photo by Lorenzo Ciniglio
Peregrine falcon chicks and their mother last year outside 55 Water St. With spring in the air, the building’s falcon webcam is expected to go back up soon.
By Janel Bladow
Clocks have sprung forward, bulbs are poking and the first day of spring is Friday! Yippee! Maybe nature’s new growth might signal renewal on Wall St. as well. We can only hope. Meantime, stuff is always blowing in the wind and filling our sails here in the South Street Seaport (S3 to us).
Hawk-eyed… Zelda the Turkey who once hung out in Battery Park isn’t the only unusual bird flocking Downtown. Aside from the oh-so common grackles, sparrows, pigeons and gulls, this week a red tail hawk was spotted hanging around the Con Ed building on Front at Peck Slip.
“Red tail hawks are pretty abundant in the city this time of year,” Glenn Phillips, executive director of New York City Audubon Society told Seaport Report. “I just got an e-mail of a sighting in a small park Downtown. The hawk was eating a squirrel on one bench and a homeless person was asleep on the other. Cooper’s hawks too are being spotted in the weirdest places. I saw one in Brooklyn yesterday.”
But they aren’t the only birds cruising through Lower Manhattan these days. In fact there are so many New Yorkers with birds on their brains that the Audubon Society has sold out their very first Downtown walking tour.
This Sunday, March 20, guide Gabriel Willow will traipse through the streets after feathered predators. They’ll visit 55 Water Street, home to the famed Peregrine falcons who star in their own webcam video each spring (cam goes up soon: www.55Water.com).
They’ll also hike across the Brooklyn Bridge in hopes of spotting another falcon couple living atop the arches. If the trip is as successful as it sounds, look for more Downtown tours to be added soon (www.nycaudubon.org). Meanwhile, Phillips says the early migration has started and he expects to get calls and e-mails about strange looking birds falling from the sky. “Woodcocks should be coming to Lower Manhattan any day now and they put on some show. They are quite amazing looking, like sandpipers but feed on insects, have a very noisy mating call and put on quite an acrobatic display. Many often collide with tall buildings. We send out a letter to shut off lights at midnight or we find them in front of office buildings in the morning. If they land on soft ground they usually survive and we transport them to wooded parks.”
Phillips also told S.R. that the first warblers — pine warblers — should be flying in any day. Dark-eyed juncos will be poking about the ground soon, and you should keep your eyes open for our smallest bird — the golden crown kinglet.
Show biz… The cameras are rolling around the hood this Friday when TV’s “Ugly Betty” comes to S3. Will Wilhelmina and Claire be able cope with the cobblestones in their stilettos? Can Betty become a Downtown girl? Stay tuned! And watch for Judith Light, Vanessa Williams, America Ferrera and the Mode company regulars as they leave their posh magazine offices for the streets of the Seaport.
Crossing the river… Our late good friend and neighbor, artist Paul Jansen will have a posthumous show next month at the Corridor Gallery in Brooklyn. Jansen, who lived in S3 for many years and was a co-coordinator of the Fish Bridge Dog Run, could often be seen walking Petunia, his feisty French bulldog, while taking a break from painting. His wife Delores tells S.R. that Paul was involved in planning this show. “He was wildly excited about it,” she said. So mark your calendars: opening Sunday, April 5, 4-6 pm, and running through May. More details: www.pauljansen.net or www.corridorgallerybrooklyn.org.
Muy vino… A good crowd and yummy wines made the book signing and wine tasting Thursday, March 12 at Pasanella and Son a standout. “I’m really happy with the turnout,” shop owner Marco Pasanella told S.R. as he looked out on the mostly young, urbanites not from the neighborhood. The big draw was Tyler Coleman, a.k.a. Dr. Vino, discussing and signing his new book, “A Year of Wine.” He told Seaport Report, “Other wine books are about regions or varieties, but I decided to take a seasonal approach, as the weather changes so do the foods we eat and the wines to drink with them. Richer, fuller wines in winter. Lighter ones in summer and so on.”
So the tasting started with a liter bottle of Hofer Gruner Vethiner 2008 a nice, light white. “The bigger the bottle the smaller the carbon footprint too,” added Dr. Vino, who also got a kick out of its crown cap like those on soda bottles. The quartet of fermented grape juices was topped with a full-bodied cabernet, 75 Wine Company Cab 2005.
“We came because we love the wine shop and the ambiance here,” said Marcella Shinder who lives on Pine St. Her boyfriend Jonathan Kanterman was taken with the Dolcetto D’Alba 2006 (Vendemmia De Forville) “It’s bright, red and cherry,” he said. But tastings aren’t the only events at the Tuscan style wine shop drawing an enthusiastic crowd these days. Earlier in the week, wine lovers who are also movie fans watched “Three Days of the Condor,” during the bi-monthly “Sip ‘n Cinema” series. This Monday (March 23), they’ll screen “A Thousand Clowns” following the tasting. “We’re now showing films shot around the area,” Pasanella said. “It’s a nice way for people to chill, stay in the neighborhood and enjoy a sense of community.” S.R. will drink to that! Go to: www.pasanellaandson.com for details.