Tropical Bird survives Hurricane Irene in Central Park

Male Cockatiel

Cockatiel survives Hurricane Irene, finds refuge in Central Park

F3CNUP5PVPJ7: Josie the cockatiel joins the rank of beloved creatures with ties to Central Park. For some time the media reported on the Central Park peacock, the Central Park wolf, and the Central Park lamb. Now, we present, the Central Park Cockatiel. Our friends over at recently shared the tale.

A routine trip to the vet went bad when Jim DiGiovanni, an Upper West Side resident, accidentally opened his bird carrier on the street while trying to check that it was securely shut. His pet cockatiels, Cliffy and Josie, flew away. He and his partner immediately started papering the area with signs.

Missing Cockatiels

Josie and Cliffy, The Missing Cockatiels

The first call they received was unfortunate. Cliffy had been found wounded. DiGiovanni rushed the bird to the vet but it was too late. It seemed all was lost for Josie too when Hurricane Irene rolled into New York. The owners assumed they’d never see their bird again. But they were wrong. They received a call from The Central Park Conservancy. Josie had been found. A veterinarian got to work flushing out pebbles and bits of metal that the bird tried to eat. He was dehydrated and almost half the weight he was before he was lost but in the end, Josie pulled through. The owners were told that he may have survived due to the abundance of water from the hurricane. The vet who treated the bird explained that domesticated birds don’t forage well in the wild and usually suffer from dehydration or malnutrition.

DiGiovanni was so pleased to have Josie back that he’s become a lifetime donor to the Central Park Conservancy. The Conservancy is a non-profit responsible for the restoration and maintenance of the park. They provide 85% of Central Park’s budget.

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Central Park’s Secret Stream

Central Park was supposed to cost $1.5 million dollars to construct. Today that would be $35,135,360. But in 1859, $3.5 million had gone into it’s construction ($82 million today). As a result, the northern part of Central Park was more rugged and untamed than the southern half. As a result, it’s the location of one of Manhattan’s last original bodies of water.

Harlem Meer

Harlem Meer is fed by Montayne’s Rivulet, Central Park's secret stream

During the development of New York City, and Central Park, architects almost completely changed the landscape of the island of Manhattan. The area was formerly hilly and swampy, nothing like the orderly grid of streets that exists today. Central Park also is almost entirely man made. Most of the bodies of water are fed from city drinking water. But that’s not true of The Pool, a small body of water near the Great Hill. It was created by enlarging one of New York’s original streams, Montayne’s Rivulet. Recently “Secrets of New York” sent host Kelly Choi to Central Park to meet with Central Park Conservancy President Doug Blonsky to get a closer look at New York’s secret stream.

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Last Central Park Summer Stage Concert for 2011

Summerstage Free Concert

Summerstage Free Concert

Wednesday, September 21st at 7pm, Rumsey Playfield will host four R&B sensations: Jagged Edge, Melanie Fiona, Chris Walker, and Force MDS. This will be the last free concert in Central Park for the year. The event is un-ticketed so you’ll want to get there early to get a good spot. We’ve put together some videos for you so you can check out some of the artists that are performing:

Jagged Edge has sold over 8 million records, won countless awards and gained impressive nominations while solidifying their place in R&B history with hit singles such as, “He Can’t Love U,” “Let’s Get Married,” “Promise,” and “Where the Party At.” With catchy lyrics and hypnotic beats; numerous albums, including A Jagged Era, J.E. Heartbreak, and Jagged Little Thrill, have held spots at the top of the Billboard charts.

Melanie Fiona shares her passion for music with her debut album, The Bridge which is a collection of soulful songs that highlights her retro sound and combines the traditions of classic soul with modern music R&B stylings. Several of her singles have climbed the charts, including “It Kills Me,” which peaked at number one on the R&B/Hip-Hop Song Chart.

Chris Walker has been active in the music industry since his days as R&B/Pop songstress Regina Belle’s musical director. During his tenure, Belle noticed his fine voice and encouraged him to produce his debut, First Time, which yielded two Top Five R&B hits, “Giving You All My Love” and “Take Time.” His follow up album, Sincerely Yours further established his career. With the recent release of his newest single, “I Got That Love,” R&B fans can be sure that Walker’s sultry, mid-tempo grooves are here to stay.

The Force M.D.s began their climb to fame by singing and dancing on Greenwich Village street corners and the Staten Island ferry. Among the first R&B vocal groups to intermix catchy doo wop-affected consonances with hip-hop beats, the Force M.D.s’ versatile mix of credible urban savvy with smooth showbiz pleases both b-boys and traditional soul fans.

Concert Details:
SummerStage is located right off the 5th Avenue and 72nd Street entrance to Central Park in New York City. Enter at 69th and 5th Avenue. Admission to all free performances (not benefit concerts) is on a first come, first-served basis, no tickets required. Depending on the show, chairs may or may not be placed on the field. Depending on the show, bleacher seating may or may not be available. E-mail [email protected] for questions concerning specific shows. SummerStage Gates open 90 minutes prior to showtime on weekends and benefit concerts, 60 minutes prior to showtime on weekdays. Shows will not be cancelled in the event of rain. Shows will be cancelled, however, in the event of lightning for the safety of the audience and the performers. Food and beverages are available to purchase at all shows. Menu items include burgers, hot dogs, vegetarian sandwiches, Heineken, Amstel Light and wine. At the free shows, food and non-alcoholic beverages are permitted. However, glass bottles, coolers and alcohol are not permitted. And yes, the Summerstage support staff will search bags on entry. For more info, you can call (212) 360-2777.

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Olmsted and America’s Urban Parks

PBS Thirteen recently produced “Olmsted and America’s Urban Parks”, a documentary about one of the founders of Central Park, Fredrick Law Olmsted. Olmsted was not an architect like the park’s other designer, Calvert Vaux. He grew up in a fairly well to do home and eventually became a journalist who wrote about working class Americans. This documentary talks about how he became New York’s first Parks Commissioner (on September 11th 1857 actually), and eventually partnered with Calvert Vaux to create Central Park. Later in his life though, Olmsted went on to create parks in cities across America including Chicago, Boston and Washington DC. PBS Thirteen has made the documentary available online and we’re happy to share it with you here:

Watch the full episode. See more THIRTEEN Series.

BONUS: Came across this very interesting article that alludes to the suicide of Calvert Vaux on Ephemeral New York. Knowing this adds an interesting moment to the later part of the Olmsted documentary.

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Andrea Bocelli Central Park Concert originally for September 11th

Andrea Bocelli in Central Park

Andrea Bocelli in Central Park

This Thursday night Andrea Bocelli will perform at the Great Lawn in Central Park ( He’ll be joined by music legends including Céline Dion, Tony Bennett, Nicola Benedetti, Chris Botti, David Foster Andrea Griminelli, Ana Marĺa Martĺnez, Bryn Terfel, Pretty Yende And The Westminster Symphonic Choir Celebrate With Internationally Acclaimed Tenor Andrea Bocelli And The New York Philharmonic, Conducted By Alan Gilbert.

Though the concert is free, tickets sold out back in July. Fans may still be able to get last minute tickets from the website or by visiting a ticket broker or Ah New York! One of the few places were people will pay for tickets that were initially free. Bocelli was originally scheduled to perform in Central Park on the 10th to commemorate September 11th with concerts in other borough’s parks which would conclude with the appearance on the 15th in Central Park. But the Central Park Conservancy is characteristically concerned with the health of the Great Lawn if it hosts two concerts in the span of four days. They have good reason for concern. A Barbara Streisand concert totally destroyed Sheep Meadow in 1967 and it wasn’t restored for more than a decade.

Instead Bocelli performed last night at Avery Fischer Hall on 66th Street (a mere stone’s throw from the Park). That performance will be broadcast this evening on PBS. Bocelli’s concert on the 15th still retains a theme of expressing appreciation for New York City. He talks in a series of videos on his Youtube channel about how New York is one of his favorite places:

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Central Park jokester catches some spotlight.

Jason Schneider

Jason Schneider guaranteeing good times.

We’ve seen him several time while giving our Central Park tour. Now, Jason Schneider’s getting some well deserved attention for his Central Park comedy act. We typically see Jason in the Mall with his sign which says: $1 Jokes Laughter Guaranteed. Recently the Daily News published an article about the “unemployed joke writer” who’s making a living telling dollar jokes:

-Who did the promiscuous cow sleep with?
-Udderly everyone.
And this:
-What do you call Chewbacca when he’s working with clay?
-“Hairy” Potter.
Didn’t laugh? The investment in a chuckle is risk-free.
“In the beginning, sometimes people asked for their money back,” Schneider said about the jokes that faltered.
“Even now, if they don’t laugh, I make them take their money back. It keeps me on my toes.”

The young comic seems to do pretty well getting people to laugh. He says that even if they don’t ask for a refund, he’ll give them one if they don’t laugh just to keep on his toes.

Check out some of jokes from his website,

Park Jokes Epsiode 12 from Jason Schneider on Vimeo.

And his video from

Jason’s comedy can also be found at:

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The Avengers films at Bethesda Terrace

Cast of The Avengers

Copyright: WENN David Bodrick/DMBJ/

The upcoming Marvel blockbuster “The Avengers” shot at Bethesda Terrace in Central Park this past weekend. It seems that the location will be used for the films final action sequence. Passersby were treated to a star studded sighting including Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Stellan Skarsgard (Professor Erik Selvig) Chris Evans (Captain America), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) and Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner). Here’s some nice video footage courtesty of Stupid Famous People:

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Newest Central Park Zoo addition born during storm

Central Park Zoo's Baby Lamb and Mother

Central Park Zoo's Baby Lamb and Mother, Photo: Julie Larsen Maher

While the rest of the New York braced itself for the coming hurricane, the Central Park Zoo’s curators and staff found themselves with some added responsibilities. Early Saturday morning they discovered a newborn lamb cuddled calmly next to its mother Truffle in the Tish Children’s Zoo.

“On a day of great uncertainty for New York City, the lamb brought smiles and hope to all of us at the zoo,” said Susan Cardillo, an assistant curator for Central Park Zoo. “We had to name her Irene Hope. She was a big surprise. It is rare to see a lamb born in late August.”

Wildlife Conservation Society officials checked to be sure that Irene Hope, a Southdown, one of the oldest breeds of sheep, was healthy and that she was secured with her mother in their stable as the initial first day of nursing is critical for a new lamb’s health. She will continue to nurse for three to four months and can be seen in the zoo starting today.

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