August 07, 2006
Massive manatee favors Manhattan suburbs
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
NEW YORK - In the heat of summer, all sorts of tourists head north to cooler climes. This year, a manatee has joined the crowd, cruising past the nightclubs of Manhattan and continuing north.
The massive animal has been spotted in the Hudson River at least three times in the last week - first off the Chelsea and Harlem sections of Manhattan, then to the north in Sleepy Hollow in Westchester County.
"It was gigantic," said Randy Shull, who said he spotted the unusual visitor Sunday afternoon while boating at Kingsland Point Park in Sleepy Hollow. "When we saw it surface, its back was just mammoth."
John Vargo, the publisher of Boating on the Hudson magazine, said his alert about the sightings was met with disbelief by some boaters.
"Some were laughing about it, because it couldn't possibly be true," he said.
It is unusual for one of the creatures - often associated with the warm waters of Florida - to travel so far north, although they have been reported along the shores of Long Island and even Rhode Island.
"I'm 70 years old, and I've been on the river my entire life," Vargo said. "I've seen dolphins and everything else, but never a manatee."