City Hall Revealed

May 3, 2009

The Nest

The Nest

The City Hall subway station was officially closed and abandoned on December 31, 1945. Tours were still offered until quite recently, and now the station has fallen into complete disrepair. Still, the occasional MTA Inspection worker is sent to investigate its conditions. Such is the character of my next interview and thus my next descent into the underground.

City Hall is close to the Canal Street/Chinatown area, and so it seemed a logical location for my next investigation. The street entrances to the station are now sealed, so we entered through a sewer shaft that actually led us to the station. As with the previous descent, I brought two crewmembers with me and left the rest inside the station, and above ground, to monitor our progress and standing.

Diving gear was unnecessary for this attempt because we were going to walk through the abandoned subway line. We did, however, wear long rubber suits, helmets, and the same monitoring and recording devices as before.

This line was not as warm as the sewers had been, but the air was still stagnant and smelled of the refuse floating immediately below and beside the old tracks. We trudged along in the dim light until we saw a large crack in the wall, from which rats were openly and unabashedly scurrying. We decided to go in.Clutching to the wall for guidance, we eventually were led into a larger corridor that seemed to be an abandoned construction site. Water was everywhere, and it floated above our ankles. I later found out that this was an integral portion of the station’s history:

“City Hall Station opened along with the rest of the Interborough’s first subway line on October 27, 1904. It was immediately clear that expansion of the subway system would be necessary and additional lines were built. But ever-increasing ridership eventually required the Interborough’s five-car local stations to be lengthened to accommodate longer trains, and so the IRT underwent an extensive program of station lengthening in the 1940s and early 1950s.

City Hall, due to its architecture and its being situated on a tight curve, was deemed impractical for lengthening. The new longer trains had center doors on each car, and at City Hall’s tight curve, it was dangerous to open them. It was decided to abandon the station in favor of the nearby Brooklyn Bridge station…” (http://www.nycsubway.org/perl/stations?5:979)

Clearly an attempt had been made to expand the station into the surrounding strata. After this had been deemed impossible the site was abandoned altogether, and is now almost completely forgotten by its human progenitors. Because there are only small cracks for air to flow, this site was quite warmer and gave me a distinct feeling of suffocation. Despite this, the plants and animals had not forgotten, nor had they hesitated to take advantage of such a fortuitous situation. They had formed their homes in the rubble, and had appreciated its protected nature.  They flourished in this environment. If we were to find an alligator nest or even an alligator themselves, this would have been an ideal location.

And so we did. Tucked in a small corner of the rock lay an alligator’s nest devoid of eggs. Had this been the former home of the egg we found in the sewer? We took some samples and, after searching for a bit more and finding nothing, ascended back to the surface.

I was becoming restless. How could these alligators evade detection so well? Obviously, there were alligators living below the streets of New York. I had only found bare traces of this, though, and was eager to find the alligators themselves. Perhaps the means to avoid detection had been one of their urban adaptations?

The East River... an alligator throughway?

The East River... an alligator throughway?

My second interview with Rusty proved fruitful. His testimony confirmed my suspicions—there was and is several generations of gater lurking in the waters of the metropolis. What disturbs me is the water quality of the East River, especially at the latter half of the 19th century. It is quite polluted, and is actually dangerous to swim in, though now in 2009 it is much cleaner than ever before. What type of adaptations must these alligators have to be able to survive in such a habitat?

The alligator that injured Chester may still be alive, but Chester has long since passed. I could not investigate his tail to see if the bite marks are consistent with an alligator’s jaw and teeth. My supposition is that it must have been a relatively small alligator; a larger creature would have devoured Chester. Perhaps a more appropriate term is maim. You see, alligators perform what is known as a “death roll” on order to eat their prey. They tightly grip the prey by its body and use their powerful tails to swing that body around until bits of flesh are removed. Only a relatively small gator, even a baby, would have been able to remove a cat’s tail and leave the rest unharmed. The water in that area though moves quite rapidly, at about a speed of four knots. The alligator must be small but an incredibly strong swimmer.

The East River, where Rusty believes the alligator to have lived, connects Upper New York Bay on the south to Long Island Sound on the north. These gators would have a range of habitat then, from the boroughs of the city to Long Island. I decided that Manhattan would be the best center for this type of habitat for several reasons. Namely, the island is actually centrally located, has an intricate network of underground systems including the sewer, the subway, and the tunnels to and from the city that are tightly woven and interconnected, and most importantly, Manhattan is perhaps the only location where such a peripheral population could have gone unnoticed for almost a century.

I decided not to physically investigate the East River. It is too dangerous for swimmers to enter its waters (including scuba divers) because of the levels of toxicity and because of the speedy current. As an alternative, my crew prepared to enter the urban subterranean depths in search of the sewergater.

Residence: Brooklyn, NY

Incident Location: The Fulton Fish Market

Age: 42

Gender: Male

Occupation: Commercial Fisherman

Injury or Fatality: None

Other Witnesses: Unknown

BEGIN RECORDING

Captain Cousteau: Hello Rusty!  Thank you for meeting with me.  Please recount your sewergator encounter with as much detail as possible…

Rusty (refused to provide last name): In 1989, we sold our house in Queens and moved in with my wife’s parents in Brooklyn. We used the capital to purchase a 40-foot 1978 commercial fishing vessel. It had a fiberglass hull and a diesel engine and came from Nova Scotia. I was able to pay in full at the time of the purchase, picking it up for $13,500. I named my boat “Riot Ready.”

At that time, the Fulton Fish Market was in its historic location near the Brooklyn Bridge—above Fulton Street in Lower Manhattan. In its original location, the Fulton market was one of the last, and most significant, of the great wholesale food markets on the East Coast. The market was already transitioning from a commercial dock to a truck depository. As a local, I was still able to dock and sell my haul directly to the market without a middleman. I would wake up at 4 a.m. and prepare the Riot for the Atlantic. On a good day, I would finish unloading at 3 p.m. While the Riot is not a factory ship, I use large nets and over the years I sought to harvest tuna, cod, salmon, shrimp, krill, lobster, squid, and crab from wild fisheries far out in the Atlantic Ocean.

After selling my load, I head home for dinner. My catch is then sold to restaurateurs and retailers who purchase fresh fish of every imaginable variety. Fulton prices are tracked and reported to the national government as the market distributes and buys fish to and from ports across New England.

New York is a city of rats, so on the waterfront we have a great need for cats. When the traffic dwindles and most people sleep the neighborhoods are swept by strays. The strays live a life drastically different from kept cats and often die from malnutrition, exposure or food poisoning. Part-time grocery store or restaurant cats were once used to keep rodents away. The number of kept commercial cats has diminished with the decline of small grocery stores and rise of supermarkets, along with more stringent health inspection guidelines. Flea ridden felines are no longer the go-to source for rat removal.

At the fish market the need for cats remains great, but not everyone believes their service outweighs their nuisance. Once, a longshoreman with a severe allergy tried to get rid of all the cats by poisoning their food supply. Within a day the rat infestation was out of control. They covered the crates and stole the workmen’s lunches. Finally, cats were recruited from surrounding neighborhoods, but even then a group of virile rats will sometimes manage to kill a cat. That’s why the cats refuse to sleep at the market. Fearing that the rats would overrun them, they retire behind dumpsters in abandoned alleyways.

The first summer after purchasing the Riot, I began feeding Chester. Cats are punctual and Chester kept track of my schedule and knew my weakness for orange tabbies. As a boy, I’d had an orange tabby named Rambler who I kept until I began fishing commercially as a crew member on a factory ship. I moved out of my father’s bi-level in New Jersey and got an apartment in the city. I saw Rambler on the weekends and always remembered to bring home a bag of catnip with a side of fresh tuna from Friday’s catch.

There’s nothing more depressing than old age in animals. It seems somehow wrong that Rambler, my childhood confidant, should have graying fur, sagging skin and old blind eyes. Rambler became more quiet, and coughed in his sleep and on one December day, while I was in Ft. Lauderdale with friends, Rambler died alone on my parent’s living room floor. My parents kept him in the outdoor refrigerator where they stockpile meat for family barbeques until I returned from vacation. We buried him in the backyard in a small cardboard box I’d taken from the market.

Chester looked a lot like Rambler. He had yet to acquire the cagy, expressionless, haunted look of the other felines of the waterfront. His face was still so full of expression, and I swear that cat had an uncanny sense of time. He was so punctual that a day never passed when Rambler wasn’t awaiting my arrival. When I adjusted my schedule for the 4th of July holiday, I worked a makeup Saturday and was surprised to find that Chester knew not to await my arrival on weekends, knowing that I didn’t work on those days.

That August the cat population once again began to decline. Supervisors questioned all of the longshoremen, but no one admitted to laying down the poison. They contacted the local shelter to see if they had increased their pickup in the area and found that the pickup had also declined. By September the rats had infested the market again.

Chester was thriving and no longer needed my assistance to pull in his dinner. He still awaited my arrival and I always paused to let him rub against my boots. I often scratched him behind the eats as he proudly displayed the large carcass of the rat he’d caught that day. He’d already slit the vermin down the belly and eaten its liver, but he always waited for my arrival to finish off his prey. Occasionally, his dinner was still alive upon my arrival, but always very near death. The rat would squeal as Chester pressed his paw into its broken ribcage. He would tap the rat to ensure that it was still alive. After it cried out in pain, he would pounce on it, tossing it in the air before once again securing it to the ground with sturdy grip on its tail. Before leaving I always congratulated Chester with a celebratory belly rub.

Every day Chester’s catch grew larger, while my load decreased. The market was having trouble maintaining its dock service with its continued rat problem. Crate carries quit and discussion of relocating to Hunt’s Point had already begun among the longshoremen. Pressure was building to redevelop the area due to the Market’s desirable location, high real estate value, and increasing financial problems. Moreover, the market was cramped and lacked modern amenities. More and more men in great shiny suits walked the docks, discussing the site’s potential for retail and residential use. And every day there were more rats.

–Sure, the Bronx market is technologically advanced. It offers climate control. But there’s something nostalgic about an old open-air fish market. There’s some value in hauling my load onto a dock where commercial fishing has gone on for more than a century. I particularly miss the urban legends.

At the time, the rumor began to circulate that the rat problem wasn’t really a rat problem at all. Alligators, although not commonly found along the northeast Atlantic shore, had been sighted in sewers and rivers around throughout the city for decades. The cats could have been killed by gators, which preyed on the felines’ curious nature. Dock cats weren’t afraid of the water and would follow rats running through debris that floated at the water’s edge. Old oil drums floated upside down and discarded lumber was stacked recklessly against the barricades. Hundreds of plastic bottles and soda cans created a thick layer that would sustain a cat’s weight as it bounded after his prey. Some cats misjudged the thickness, and getting too close to the edge of the debris, fell into the bath—an easy meal. But that was just the beginning. Eventually, the gators learned to stalk cats that came near the waterfront, lying in wait in a location the cat was likely to traverse.

The only problem with this theory was that no one actually saw an alligator, no substantiated report of any large reptile with teeth, scales, and large, muscular tails. Not a single confirmed account. Still, somehow every log that fell into the water looked more and more reptilian. The city grew wary of the waterfronts. I began to worry for Chester. He had become the top cat, King of the Docks, proudly presenting me with freshly killed rats nearly equal to himself in size. But even Chester, like the others, might one day disappear. I didn’t know whether the alligator theory was a real possibility, but it was one possibility I could do something about.

My wife and I had been married five years and she wanted to have a baby. Lucy hated cats. She came from a family of dog lovers and animatedly refused to allow a litter box in the house. “Real pets do their business in the bushes,” she said. Until I’d met Chester, I hadn’t even considered asking Lucy if we could acquire a pet. But, now, the conversation seemed inevitable.

I asked Lucy if she wanted to go out to dinner on Friday night and she agreed. I put on the dress shirt and slacks I wore to church and made a reservation at an expensive-looking restaurant in Little Italy. Lucy bought a new dress and seemed anxious. I hadn’t been this nervous since I’d asked her to marry me. Just before the check came I paused, leaned forward and placed my hand on hers.

“I want to adopt a cat,” I muttered.

Lucy retracted and pulled her hand from underneath mine. Before I realized what was happening Lucy had slapped me across the face and left the table. Everyone in the room was looking in my direction. The sting of her fingers on my cheek continued to burn as I rushed to the matradee’s stand and offered him a wad of bills from my wallet. I didn’t bother to count the money and only later realized that I must have spent over $300 on that meal, certainly the most expensive dinner we had and will have eaten in this city.

I followed her to the parking garage. She was pressing herself against the passenger door. I had the keys.

“I thought you were going to ask me to have a baby!” she shouted into the empty garage.

I couldn’t respond. I was standing directly in front of her and yet she continued to shout. I unlocked the car door without saying a word and she climbed in. The silence continued all the way home. The next morning we woke up and without finishing our discussion we continued as if nothing had happened.

I left early that morning, eager to get out of the house. I arrived at the market and finished unloading my catch early as well. Chester wasn’t waiting in his usual spot.

“I’m early,” I told myself. “He’ll be here soon.”

I tied the boat up and seated myself on a crate. It was October and the sun had begun setting earlier. As the shadows lengthened dozens of fur clad, bulbous lumps scampered in the growing darkness.

Thirty minutes passed with no sign of Chester.

An hour.

I walked to the end of the dock and counted the logs that looked like alligators. There were three that had a mild resemblance.

“What are you still doing here?” a supervisor shouted from the landing.

“Have you seen Chester?” I asked.

“That orange cat you like so much?”

“Yeah.”

The man looked confused. He didn’t seem to understand why I cared.

“He’s inside. Cat got into a bit of trouble today. Go check the locker room.”

I wanted to run, but hesitated while the supervisor was watching. My feet were light and I struggled to lay down heavy, slow steps. I swung the door to the locker room open, but didn’t see Chester. I stepped between two wooden benches and walked to the end of a row of lockers. At my feet was a small cardboard box, not unlike the box I’d used to bury Rambler.

I was devastated. I loathed the idea of looking inside. I sat down on the end of one of the benches and moved closer, pressing my ear against the cardboard. I quieted myself. The room was noiseless except for the hum of a distant motor. If Chester was alive I should be able to hear him rustling inside.

Finally, I gained the courage to peel back the cardboard and look inside. Chester looked up at me with a pleased grin as if to say, “You found me!” nestled in a tangle of shop rags and old towels. I reached inside so that I could give him a proper greeting. I pulled the towel away. It was stained with blood.

Despite the injury, Chester quickly popped up to say hello. I rubbed his head and neck and counted his legs—four—he still had four legs. And as I ran my fingers down his back he turned so that I could rub the crest of his spine. Then I noticed the damage. Chester’s tail was gone!

That was all the proof I needed. The Fulton fish market was overrun with alligators and Chester was coming home with me. I tucked him into the cardboard box and safely stowed it below deck.

That night, at Lucy’s suggestion, I slept on the couch with Chester. My punishment didn’t last long, as Lucy was soon pregnant. We had a baby girl in July.

END OF INTERVIEW

Photos of Incident Location:

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Photo of “Riot Ready” Commercial Fishing Vessel:

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Photo of Sewergator Victim: Chester (Missing Tail Not Shown)

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First Dive

April 28, 2009

Sewergator?

Sewergator?

Clearly Ms. Coventry and her lawyer Louis had seen something unusual—or had they? The dog could have simply gotten caught in some underwater muck and drowned. Typically, alligators live in the south eastern portion of the United States, in the lagoons and swamps. They are usually between 6 and 14 feet. Crocodiles, on the other hand, are not native to the US. It is for this reason that I knew we were searching for an alligator. I still had many questions though: was this one isolated case? Or was there a colony of alligators just below the city’s surface? Smaller alligators tend to live in large groups. Unfortunately, neither Ms. Coventry nor her lawyer were able to see how large the animal was because it was partly submerged.

The Diving Saucer

The Diving Saucer

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, located between 86th and 96th streets, can certainly sustain a population of large reptiles. According to Central Park’s official website, the reservoir, “covers a full one eight of the park’s surface. The 106-acre water body is 40 feet deep and holds over a billion gallons of water,” (http://www.centralpark.com/pages/attractions/reservoir.html). Until 1991, the reservoir was an integral portion of the fresh water supply in the city. Since then though, it has been largely converted into an aesthetic attraction and this has allowed the park’s wildlife to live there in peace. Though not able to utilize Calypso, my ship, in the reservoir, I decided to investigate this incident with my crew using the Diving Saucer. The Saucer can dive as far as 350 meters (equal to approximately 1,150 feet) and can stay underwater for up to five hours (http://www.cousteau.org/technology/diving-saucer). This tool would be perfectly suited to an exploration of the vast reservoir.

Taking a member of my crew with me, the Diving Saucer was transported to New York and prepared for the dive ahead. Alligators are nocturnal, and so I thought that we would descend in the manner of an alligator, at night, in order to catch a glimpse. When we finally descended beneath the dark, still waters of the reservoir, I kept the Diving Saucer’s lights dimmed. I did not want to frighten any creatures, especially this alligator. We viewed the magnificent wildlife that calls the reservoir their home, but still we did not see any sign of the alligator.

As it does every morning, the sun began to rise at about 5:30. My crew members and I had scanned the waters from above and below the surface, but we had not seen an alligator or, for that matter, any unusual or large creature. Though beautiful and majestic, the small fish and birds native to the reservoir were not what we had come in search for. I felt disappointed, but I was not discouraged. We had set out two weeks after the incident relayed by Ms. Coventry. By now, the alligator could have easily wandered over land to another body of water in the park, or could have entered one of the many abandoned sewer tunnels leading into the heart of the city.

I needed more interviews, more information. The reports of a “sewergator” were numerous, but many dated back many, many years. The alligator of the 1935 reports would not be alive today. If the reports have any truth to them, that alligator(s) would have left descendants; Pollock’s could have been one of those descendants. In the wild, alligators can live from 35 to 50 years and they reach sexual maturity at about 10 to 12 years of age. That means that there is a possibility that seven generations of gators have been born since the original sewergater, five of which could still be swimming in the depths, and every generation increasingly adapted to their adopted environment. I absolutely had to find this hidden habitat.

Residence: Park Avenue and 88th Street, New York, NY (Upper East Side)

Incident Location: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park

Age: 86

Gender: Female

Injury or Fatality: Yes

Other Witnesses: Yes – Attorney Louis Goldberg

BEGIN RECORDING

Captain Cousteau: Hello Constance!  Thank you for meeting with me.  Please recount your sewergator encounter with as much detail as possible…

Constance Coventry: I’m a social person. I’m often referred to as a socialite or Grande Dame of New York philanthropy. While these I enjoy these titles, I much prefer my quiet mornings in Central Park and spending time with my dog, Pollock, a descendant of Peggy Guggenheim’s brood of Lhasa Apsos (hence the name Pollock, for Jackson Pollock, to whom Peggy gave his first four one-man shows). Like me, Peggy’s most successful relationships were with animals and works of art. I rarely see my only living relative, my son William, and so my lawyer, Louis Goldberg, has assumed my guardianship.

I was a longtime fixture on the New York social scene after inheriting my husband’s real estate fortune. These days, I rarely attend afternoon lunches or evening parties, preferring to wake up early, before the pads of my feet begin to hurt and prevent me from walking Pollock. My son prefers to keep me shut up in my apartment, saying I should not walk Pollock any longer. But Louis understands and often joins us as we tour 88th Street on our way to 5th Avenue.

I refuse to use a cane, although my doctor recommends it. Because my walks are now the highlight of my day I often wake up early, around 6 AM, to bathe and wash my hair. My mother always said that it was unnecessary to shampoo your hair every day, but I like it to look fresh. I often comb my chin-length hair off my face and, once dry, use a curling iron to add waves around my face. My hair is thinner now and it is difficult to tease out volume. I powder my face and rub on some color—but not too much! I carefully apply a dark red lipstick in a way that defines both lips, clearly separating them from the rest of my face. My eyebrows are always becoming lighter, so I pencil on some definition, an earthy brown. I still wear dresses and thick nude tights. I wear a sturdy black leather shoe with a flat sole. I often have difficulty zipping the back of my dress and bending over to tie my shoes. The laces slip through my fingers like wet spaghetti and my knuckles throb as I work my way through tying a bow.

I am usually thirty minutes late for my appointment with Louis, but he doesn’t mind. By the time I slip on Pollock’s collar and board the elevator to the ground floor, Louis has comfortably tucked himself away in a large leather lounge chair in the first floor lobby and dozed off. When the elevator doors open I drop Pollock’s leash and he runs to Louis to give him a good morning greeting. Louis stands immediately, but as though in the middle of a dream, wiping the sleep from his eyes, and begins pulling biscuits from his pockets for Pollock to enjoy. Pollock takes dainty nibbles, refusing to lick the smaller crumbs from the lobby carpet. After we leave, the doorman will remove a handheld vacuum from behind his desk sweep up any remaining biscuit.

Louis offers his arm as we step out of the building and under the big green awning that stretches across the sidewalk to the street. I hand him Pollock’s leash as I dig through my purse for sunglasses. We glide softly down the pavement, stopping only as a precaution when we meet an unusually large crack in the sidewalk. There are now three of these crevices on our stretch of 88th Street. I walk cautiously now, much less assured of my footing than in the past. Once I would prance down the sidewalk click-click-clicking in patent leather pumps. That day has passed.

Louis asks me about the weather and I respond that it’s much too hot. He agrees.

We pass Peggy’s museum on our way to the reservoir and I stop to balk at what a truly ugly structure it is. “Shame on you, Mr. Wright,” I mumble under my breath. Pollock barks loudly at the traffic on 5th Avenue and a taxi driver beeps in response. We wait for the light to change and then Louis steps off the curb and offers me both hands as I step into the street. Pollock can already smell the dogs in the Park. He tugs on his leash and nearly pulls me over. Louis picks him up and carries him safely to the other sidewalk. Pollock’s ears perk up as we get closer to the park’s entrance and he whines softly between pants. This air is thick and muggy, uncomfortable for a dog with such long hair. His tiny pink tongue hangs from his jaw as he struggles to catch his breath. I too am walking more slowly now as I putter forward through the humidity. Pollock breathes harder as his excitement grows. We walk in the Park, up a rise in the path, over the crest and down an incline toward the reservoir track. Young men and women in shorts and tight shirts run past at lightning speed. Pollock wishes he could join them. Louis holds the dog tightly to prevent him from slipping away.

The placid water perfectly reflects the tall buildings running along the Park’s western edge, creating a carbon-copy skyline in the reservoir. I wait until a group of runners have passed, then step onto the gravel path and let go of Louis’s arm. He continues to struggle with Pollock, who has become fussy and wants to be let down. I cross the path and reach out for the cast-iron fence and pull myself closer to the water. Turtles are sunning themselves on the rocks below and a pair of Canadian geese swim by. The sky is blue and the water is blue and the sun is bright and I am still happy to be alive.

Louis has taken the dog off the path to do his business. He curbs Pollock against a cement light post, then removes a plastic bag from his pocket to dispose of the waste. As Louis marches Pollock to the nearest trash receptacle, I begin walking north toward the pump house. I like to see both skylines before I return home. By walking north, then west around the track, I’ll soon be able to see my building.

The gravel is softer than pavement, and I enjoy rubbing the soles of my shoes on the uneven pebbles. I hold onto the iron fence just as I held onto Louis and begin walking more freely. The water smells fresh, and wet, and cool and I dream of striping naked and diving in. I dream of paddling deeper and deeper in my murky little sea, diving toward the bottom, but never finding it.

Pollock has gotten loose and is running zigzags around Louis. The man waves his arms after the dog. Pollock continues dodging on and off the track. The dog wiggles through the iron gate. Stepping down the rocky incline toward the water, Louis becomes frustrated and begins shouting at the dog, “Stop it! Stay still! Come here!” Unable to mount the gate due to his rotund stomach, Louis squats and reaches through the fence toward the dog. The dog turns his head to the side. His paws are in the water. He doesn’t understand Louis’s demands. Louis abruptly changes tactics. He begins to toss small rocks in the water behind Pollock hoping to move the dog away from the reservoir. Pollock thinks it is a game. He turns toward the water and readies himself to pounce toward the next rock as if it were a rubber ball. I have a clear view of this standoff and laugh at Louis’s attempts to subdue the rowdy dog.

Suddenly a large brown log to Pollock’s left springs to life and snaps up the dog. Pollock is surprised and lets out a muffled yelp before being drug into the water. Louis stands erect and steps away from the water’s edge. He realizes, as I do, that the moving log is not a log at all. Louis struggles to steady himself, not knowing whether to run away or assist Pollock. Louis looks at the dissipating ripples spreading over the surface of the water. Then he looks at me. I also look for Pollock, then spot Louis’s beet-red face. The dog is gone.

Forgetting Louis, I replay the incident in my head. There were no teeth. No biting or chomping. No blood or scales. It wasn’t even green. The beast simply secured Pollock in his jaw and lowered him into the water. His movement was swift and his jaw clamped tightly, but the encounter was not violent. The creature moved into the water in a zig-zag pattern, uncertain at first where to enjoy his tasty snack. The beast was dark and fluid and slipped away from the shallows. Only after sinking into deeper water would he swallow the dog whole.

I walked slowly to Louis, who held his head in his hands. Keeping an eye on the water I waited for Pollock to re-emerge, but the dog never came back up.

“Should we call the police?” Louis asked.

“No,” I responded. “But let’s wait a little while longer.”

Fifteen minutes passed, then thirty, and sweat ran down Louis’s face as he stared blankly as the water’s edge. He handed me Pollock’s leash, which had slipped off the dog during the scuffle. “What am I supposed to do with this?” I asked. Louis shrugged and tossed the leash into the water where it sunk slowly in search of poor Pollock. Louis was exasperated and exhausted.

I took to the unusual task of ushering him home, down the street I’d never need to walk again. Why would an old woman go to the park without a dog to walk? I said goodbye to 88th street as we turned onto Park Avenue, and then entered the lobby making note of the impeccably clean carpet.

END OF INTERVIEW

Photos of Incident Location:

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Photo of Sewergator Victim: Pollock Coventry

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Photo of Sewergator: None

The Alligator People _1959_

Possible images of Alligator/People Hybrids from the 1959 film “The Alligator People.”

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Film Trailer:

Pop Culture

April 24, 2009

The Simpsons, Episode 80 – Marge in Chains

May 6, 1993

Bart: We flushed the gator down the toilet, but it got stuck halfway, and now we have to feed it.

Grandpa Simpson: I’ll bet you want a piece of me! Well, you ain’t gonna get it, see!

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