The sleepy Stockade neighborhood has seen more than its share of action lately. There was a bear barreling around the streets on Thursday, a film crew shooting an HBO flick on Friday and now two deer have been spotted hanging out there.
Debbie Zalondek of North Ferry Street was jogging with her dog at 6:30 a.m. Monday when she caught sight of the first deer in Riverside Park, not far from the end of her street. When the deer saw her, it got spooked and broke through a nearby fence. Then a second deer came into view. The two, which she speculated were does, ran through backyards in the direction of State Street.
“I couldn’t believe it. I’ve been here 20 years. I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said.
Spotting a bear or a film crew milling around the Stockade is a rarity, but seeing deer in the city really isn’t, because urban areas often can provide food and shelter for them, explained Rick Georgeson, spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Region 4 office.
A few years ago, a deer got stuck on the grounds of the New York State Executive Mansion in Albany, he noted.
More deer than usual could show up in cities this spring because of the mild winter, which Georgeson said didn’t take a toll on the population as a harsher one would have.
Although it might be startling to see a wild animal in the city, Georgeson recommended calling the DEC only if the animal poses a potential threat.
“If you just see an animal in the distance, just appreciate it from a distance. Don’t bother it. The majority of the time, it’ll find its way back to where it came from,” he said.
A call to the DEC was warranted in the case of the young black bear that sauntered into the Stockade on Thursday.
Sightings were reported as early as 6 a.m., but the bear eluded officers until around 4:20 p.m., when they spotted it about 25 feet up a tree in the backyard of 150 Front St. A crowd of well over 100 onlookers gathered to gawk as police cordoned off the area and waited for DEC agents from Delaware County to arrive with tranquilizer darts and a cage.
The bear was tranquilized around 6:45 p.m. that night and then released on state land in Delaware County after being tagged for identification purposes.
Stockade residents were more curious than alarmed to see an HBO film crew descend on the neighborhood the following day to film a portion of “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight.” Crews transformed a corner of the neighborhood to look like the Washington, D.C., neighborhood of Georgetown as it appeared in the early 1970s.
HBO spent about 10 hours shooting footage in the neighborhood.
The movie, which is scheduled to be released next spring, details the years Ali was barred from boxing after he refused to be inducted into the Army.