Last week was a nice change. My usual assignment editor was on vacation so I started each day by going into the office. I finally got to meet some people! It was the hottest week of the summer by far so I was relieved to be indoors even if it only was for a couple hours (and I didn’t have to find a Starbucks to use the bathroom).
The past 6 weeks have been go, go, go so it was no surprise that sitting in the office quickly became boring. I started helping Gersh (my internship supervisor) find Brooklyn stories. He runs Daily News Local, which focuses on the local happenings in the Burroughs. I stumbled upon a NYT blog post about recent mockingbird attacks in Transmitter Park. So weird, right? I didn’t know mockingbirds attacked people. I suggested the idea to Gersh and he sent me on my way.
Transmitter Park in Greenpoint is beautiful. Lots of lawn space to lay out, shrubbery for shade, a playground, water fountain, and a pier. It’s right along the East River so people can watch the ferry boats go by or simply stare at the Manhattan skyline from a distance.
I scoped out a few trees (while trying to look as normal as possible). I whistled, threw rocks, shook branches. No attack! I really wanted to be attacked (Prof. Prado told me later that it is unethical to provoke a source…Oops)! I went around the park asking people if they had heard of these attacks or witnessed any. I must’ve sounded ridiculous because no one had any idea what I was talking about but they were thankful I warned them.
After doing some research, I learned that mockingbirds become very territorial and aggressive during nesting season when they’re protecting their eggs. Anything that poses as a threat could be attacked. Nesting season starts in the spring and lasts until the early summer so it was basically over by the time I arrived. Still, I learned a lot and had fun being a crazy bird lady (definitely a story I’ll tell my classmates).
Friday was intense. A cashier at a McDonald’s in Washington Heights fainted. The restaurant did not have any air conditioning so her fainting was the last straw for a few other workers. They walked out, made signs, and began chanting, “No A/C, No work.” A nine-year veteran of that McDonald’s, Luisa, told me that it happens every summer but the company just won’t fix it. To support the protesting workers, Council member Ydanis Rodriguez and Senator Adriano Espaillat stopped by the restaurant with a letter addressed to the owner. When trying to deliver it, the owner literally ran away from us. So the council member, senator, protestors, and other supporters chased him up the street until he ran for cover inside a bank. It was hilarious, to say the least, to see a government official running after a grown business man with a piece of paper.
What a week. Mockingbirds and McDonald’s. I’m lovin’ it! (Do you see what I did there?)