Skip to main content

Ready for their Close-Ups, or Not: A Walk in the Prospect Park Zoo

New York is famously photogenic. Visitors and residents routinely snap photographs of friends in front of its famous buildings, the blissful landscapes in parks, sunsets over the Hudson, newsworthy scenes on the street, celebrities on the red carpet, or whatever fanciful food dish has just been set upon the table.

Australian King Parrot
Australian King Parrot

We should in turn be accustomed, especially in this age of visual media - snapped, uploaded, and shared - to serve as the objects of this ubiquitous image-making. After all, we live under the surveillance of security cameras. Yet, while some individuals confidently pose in front of the camera, others shy away. Sometimes, we just want to get away from the crowds and the click-clicks of a thousand shutters. I was thinking these thoughts in the Prospect Park Zoo yesterday as I was taking close-ups of a Hamadryas Baboon.

Hamadryas Baboon
Hamadryas Baboon

It's understandable, if rather unsophisticated, to anthropomorphize our fellow furry residents of New York City or to project onto them some inherent cuteness. Some are not "sweet," for example, although they might look precious. That dingo that looks like your dog may harbor predatory "feelings" toward the adorable "shy" kangaroo directly across the way. One is much easier to photograph than the other.

"Cameras Ready! Set! Action!"


Dingo
Dingo

Western Gray Kangaroo
Western Gray Kangaroo

Dingo
Dingo

Western Gray Kangaroo
Western Gray Kangaroo

By the way, a visit to the Prospect Park Zoo's Discovery Trail offers a sort of simulated trip to Australia. In addition to the Western gray kangaroo, the zoo also does its best to serve and protect rock wallabies, emus, and Cape Barren geese.

Rock Wallaby
Yellow-footed rock-wallaby

Never underestimate the ability of a zoo visitor to misidentify an animal. I'm holding back from the cliché that city-bred New Yorkers are particularly prone to confusing members of the animal kingdom, but I would have liked a nickel for every time I heard someone yell out "Fox!" when spotting a dingo or this Red Panda.

Red Panda
Red Panda

Red Pandas. OK, well, these guys ARE cute. As much as I would like to bring one home, I couldn't offer an adequate supply of bamboo. Its nocturnal habits would likely pose problems. Best they stay in Prospect Park Zoo. Along with the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, New York Aquarium, and Queens Zoo, the Prospect Park Zoo is maintained and operated by the Wildlife Conservation Society (link). Aside from supporting conservation efforts - the Red Panda, for example, is endangered - becoming a member of the WCS is a good deal, providing free admission to all five parks.

Red Panda
Red Panda

We often speak proudly of New York City as "diverse." A trip to any one of the WCS zoos confirms that the diversity extends beyond humans. A visit should also reinforce the idea that we share a whole planet where biodiversity is in crisis - whether shy or camera ready, sleeping or alert.

waterfowl, turtles, and people
At the Prospect Park Zoo

It's fun. I can't remember the last time I was so thrilled seeing a kangaroo hop across a patch of Brooklyn.

Visiting the Prospect Park Zoo: Consult the official website of the Prospect Park Zoo for times and admission.

Pallas's Cat
Pallas's Cat

White-faced Scops Owl
White-faced Scops Owl

Black-tailed Prairie Dog
Black-tailed Praire Dogs


View Prospect Park in a larger map

Getting there: I advise consulting MTA Trip Planner for customized trips. The Prospect Park B and Q subway is close to the zoo.

Images by Walking Off the Big Apple from March 29, 2013, with a Canon EOS Rebel T3 and 55-250mm lens. A camera phone would work fine for dingoes, prairie dogs, baboons, and the indoor birds, but not so much for kangaroos hiding behind bushes. See a full slideshow of 25 pictures on Flickr WOTBA.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Museums in New York Open on Mondays

Please see this post for current announcements of reopenings . Please consult the museum websites for changes in days and hours. UPDATED September 23, 2020 Advance tickets required for many museum reopenings. Please check museum websites for details. • The  Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)  reopened to the public on  August 27 , with new hours for the first month, through September 27: from 10:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday to the public; and from 10:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.  on Mondays for MoMA members on ly. Admission will be free to all visitors Tuesday through Sunday, through September 27, made possible by UNIQLO. See this  new post on WOTBA for a sense of the experience attending the museum . •  New-York Historical Society  reopened on  August 14  with an outdoor exhibition, "Hope Wanted: New York City Under Quarantine,” in the rear courtyard. The exhibit by activist Kevin Powell and photographer Kay Hickman will highlight how New Yorkers weathered the quarantine

25 Things To Do Near the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

(updated 2016) The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) at 11 W. 53rd Street is near many other New York City attractions, so before or after a trip to the museum, a short walk in any direction could easily take in additional experiences. Drawing a square on a map with the museum at the center, a shape bounded by 58th Street to the north and 48th Street to the south, with 7th Avenue to the west and Park Avenue to the east, proves the point of the area's cultural richness. (A map follows the list below.) While well-known sightseeing stops fall with these boundaries, most notably Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and the great swath of famous Fifth Avenue stores, cultural visitors may also want to check out places such as the Austrian Cultural Forum, the 57th Street galleries, the Onassis Cultural Center, and the Municipal Art Society. The image above shows an intriguing glimpse of the tops of two Beaux-Arts buildings through an opening of the wall inside MoMA's scu

25 Things to Do Near the Metropolitan Museum of Art

(updated) Sitting on the steps in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of those iconic things to do in New York City. On a sunny day, the wide steps can become crowded with the young and old, the tourist and the resident. It's tempting to stay awhile and soak in the sun and the sights. Everyone has reasons for lingering there, with one being the shared pleasure of people watching along this expansive stretch of Fifth Avenue, a painting come to life. Certainly, just getting off one's feet for a moment is welcome, especially if the previous hours involved walking through the entirety of art history from prehistoric to the contemporary. The entrance to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fifth Avenue The Metropolitan Museum of Art should be a singular pilgrimage, uninterrupted by feeble attempts to take in more exhibitions along Museum Mile. Pity the poor visitor who tries "to do" multiple museum exhibitions in one day, albeit ambitious, noble, and uplift

Taking a Constitutional Walk

A long time ago individuals going out for a walk, especially to get fresh air and exercise, often referred to the activity as "taking a constitutional walk." The word "constitutional" refers to one's constitution or physical makeup, so a constitutional walk was considered beneficial to one's overall wellbeing. (Or, as some would prefer to call it, "wellness.") The phrase is more common in British literature than in American letters. As early as the mid-nineteenth century, many American commentators expressed concern that their countrymen were falling into lazy and unhealthy habits. Newspaper columnists and editorial writers urged their readers to take up the practice of the "constitutional" walk. One such essay, " Walking as an Exercise," originally printed in the Philadelphia Gazette and reprinted in New England Farmer , Volume 11, 1859, urges the people of farm areas to take up walking. City dwellers seemed to have the

25 Things to Do Near the American Museum of Natural History

After visiting the American Museum of Natural History, explore attractions on the Upper West Side or in Central Park. Visitors to New York often run around from one major tourist site to the next, sometimes from one side of the city to the other, and in the process, exhaust themselves thoroughly. Ambitious itineraries often include something like coffee in the Village in the morning, lunch near MoMA, a couple of hours in the museum, a ride on the Staten Island Ferry in the afternoon, cocktails at the midtown hotel, a quick dinner, and then a Broadway show. It's a wonder people don't pass out at the theater. While sitting on the steps of the American Museum of History, consider exploring the Upper West Side and nearby sites of interest in Central Park. There's a better way to plan a New York trip. Consider grouping attractions together geographically. Several posts on this site address this recommended approach. The Wild West of the Tecumseh Playground Groupin

A New York Spring Calendar: Blooming Times and Seasonal Events

See the UPDATED 2018 CALENDAR HERE . Updated for 2017 . At this time of year, thoughts turn to spring. Let's spring forward to blooming times, the best locations for witnessing spring's beginnings, and springtime events in the big city. While the occasional snow could blow through the city, we're just weeks now from callery pears in bloom and opening day at the ballpark. In The Ramble, Central Park. mid-April Blooming Times •  Central Park Conservancy's website  lists blooming times within the park. During the month of March we begin to see crocus, daffodils, forsythia, snowdrops, witch-hazel, and hellebores. Species tulips will emerge in several places, but the Shakespeare Garden and Conservatory Garden are particularly good places to catch the beginning of Spring blooms. Central Park near E. 72nd St., saucer magnolia, typically end of March. •  Citywide Blooming Calendar from New York City Department of Parks & Recreation April is u

25 Radical Things to Do in Greenwich Village

A list of 25 things to Do in Greenwich Village with history of protest, old cafes, and signs of change. Hipstamatic iPhone images of contemporary Greenwich Village by Walking Off the Big Apple (Revised and updated.) Flipping through  Greenwich Village: A Photographic Guide by Edmund T. Delaney and Charles Lockwood with photographs by George Roos, a second, revised edition published in 1976, it’s easy to compare the black and white images with the look of today’s neighborhood and see how much the Village has changed. A long shot photograph of Washington Square taken up high from an apartment north of the park, and with the looming two towers of the World Trade Center off to the distant south in the background, reveals a different landscape than what we would encounter today.    On the north side of the park, an empty lot and two small buildings have since given way to NYU’s Kimmel Center and a new NYU Center for Academic and Spiritual Center Life. The Judson Memorial Church

At the New Moynihan Train Hall, and the Zen of Going Nowhere

After slowly wandering around the Moynihan Train Hall , opened earlier this year in the James A. Farley Post Office Building across from Penn Station, an Amtrak worker approached me and asked if he could help with directions. “No,” I replied, “I’m just here to look at the station.”  Moynihan Train Hall, between Eighth Avenue, Ninth Avenue, 31st Street, and 33rd Street in Midtown Manhattan I wasn’t taking a train anywhere, not an Amtrak train to Philadelphia or to Boston. I was here to look at this impressive, even enlightening building. The architectural design is somewhat restrained and serious. Bright signage at the Moynihan Train Hall At a time when the idea of actual travel is just picking up, for some New Yorkers like myself, just the novelty of seeing a new transportation project in the city seems to suffice. It’s like mental preparation for taking an actual trip.  Looking up I remember catching Amtrak trains at the old Penn Station, not the beautiful and monumental edifice that

A Walk in NoLita, Sometimes Speaking French

To get to the New Museum of Contemporary Art on the Bowery from where I live in the Village I walk through the precious neighborhood of NoLita. I say "precious," because this neighborhood No rth of L ittle Ita ly is home to many attractive small boutiques and stylish bistros, and it feels like it could be bottled and sold for a large price. In fact, that's happening. The prices for several new condos in the neighborhood's attractive renovated Victorian-era buildings start in the six- and seven-million dollar range. And the proximity of the New Museum solidifies NoLita's stature as a hot neighborhood, with galleries, shoe boutiques and other art-friendly places popping up here and there. Walking along Prince or Spring toward the museum, I have several old and new, ecclesiastical and secular, places to note along the way: Buildings: The St. Patrick's Old Cathedral at Mott and Prince, served as the Roman Catholic Cathedral until the big St. Patrick's was

From Penn Station to New York Landmarks: Measuring Walking Distance and Time in Manhattan

(revised 2017) How long does it take to walk from Penn Station/Madison Square Garden to well-known destinations in Manhattan? What are the best walking routes ? What if I don't want to see anything in particular but just want to walk around? In addition to the thousands of working commuters from the surrounding area, especially from New Jersey and Long Island who arrive at Penn Station via New Jersey Transit or the Long Island Rail Road, many people arrive at the station just to spend time in The City. Some have questions. Furthermore, a sporting event may have brought you to Madison Square Garden (above Penn Station), and you want to check out what the city offers near the event. This post if for you.  The map below should help you measure walking distances and times from the station to well-known destinations in Manhattan - Bryant Park , the Metropolitan Museum of Art , the Empire State Building , Times Square , Rockefeller Center , Washington Square Park , the High Line