I spent two days on Staten Island earlier this week. I was hoping I would find the place as interesting as I did when I lived there, and I was not disappointed. Many of the things I revisited made just as great an impression on me as ever. The Dump is as omnipresent at the Mall as I remembered. The Blazing Star Burial Ground is still the creepiest, most depressing place in New York City. The grounds of Mount Loretto still make you feel like you’re in a Jane Austen novel.
And then there are some surprises, like walking down the street and seeing – a wild turkey.
More than one, in fact. In fact, there were dozens of them. Many more than I photographed. I was very impressed. Apparently they especially like the South Beach Psychiatric Center. They number around a hundred now. An article in the Staten Island Advance notes that they have caused utter gridlock in the government, as (without any predators) they will continue to reproduce and they enjoy things like tearing up lawns for grubs (the utmost indignity a homeowner can endure).
There have been efforts to apply “birth control” by coating their eggs in vegetable oil, thus strangling the embryos; but this has apparently failed. It is a bit disconcerting to find our government so unable to deal with an overpopulation of very edible, very catchable animals in a city filled with gourmandizers who would have no objection to eating them.
This seems like a perfect situation for a feudal solution: the Borough President, or the Mayor, or whomever, every year should hold a great feast, for which the local turkeys are harvested. Invitation to said feast could be considered a great honor, which would alleviate the gaminess of the actual meat. And surely there are some good French cooks about who can slather wild turkey in butter and make it taste delicious. This must be must cheaper than hiring people to find their well-disguised nests and painting the eggs with vegetable oil. Why is it that simple solutions among us are utterly impermissible?