A few winters ago, when I read about trips to see harbor seals hanging out around the little islands in New York Harbor, I had no choice but to go see them: The return of marine mammals to this area is, in ecological terms, a historic event. After decades–if not centuries–of polluted water, the Ha-bah (harbor to you West Coasters) was clear enough to support top warm-blooded predators (besides humans). And damn: That’s some pricey real estate those seals were gentrifying!
And this summer, our much, much larger mammal-cousins — Atlantic humpback whales — decided to get in on a bit of the clean-harbor NYC action, and I sat down with them for an exclusive interview on life around New York City, and how much they pay in rent.
Q: Hello, whales 004 and 016. What do you think about New York City. Is it everything you ever imagined?
Q: Uhhh. Hmm. This will be harder than I thought. But…wait, you can probably hear me underwater…you’re good at that sort of thing. And Google Translate can sort out any words I don’t understand. So let’s keep going. As I was saying, what do you think about New York?
A: (burble burble blrrbber). Translation: It’s a….FISH!!!
Q: (Gasping, squealing, slowly recovering ability to speak) OK, I think I get it: You heart New York because you’re hungry and there’s lot of menhaden? It does look pretty amazing. That’s a lot of little teensy fish. (Looks out to sea.)
Q: Almost as crowded as the Queens-bound N train platform at Lex-59th at rush hour! Amirightoramiright? Give me a high five! Hello…are you listening to me? Oh there you are! Circling those fish again.
Q: Anyway, let’s continue: What’s your rent like?
A: (blrbb) Free.
Q: NO! Do you have a dishwasher? What about the pet policy? ….Are you going to tell me? I have to know!
A: (brrllg wredddd regg bllrg) Can’t. Gotta go. But hey, look behind you…that’s our VIEW.
A: (bggef) Jealous?
Q: Now that’s just mean. Yes, it’s a view, and yes, I’m jealous.
A: (BBKDF REEEDD HLLEEFF EEEEE EEEE EEEE EEEEKKK!!!!) WE KNOW, AND WE’RE SUPER EXCITED ABOUT IT!
Q: (Sighs.) OK. Well, at least someone in this town has a good deal.
(To read more on these awesome creatures, go to Gotham Whale.) A special thank you to Adela for sleeping in long enough for me to complete this post.