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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on June 7, 2000. All rights reserved.
Between the Lines
For obvious reasons, waterfowl have become a special
type of persona non grata at U.S. 1’s corporate parks. But
at Carnegie Center last week lunchtime crowds gasped in pleasure as
its two elegant white resident swans multiplied exponentially.
Having set up their big, twiggy nest in a raised flowerbed just a
few feet from one of the center’s outdoor food courts, the Carnegie
Center swans had spent roughly a month laying and incubating a clutch
of seven eggs. Some plastic barrier tape and an improvised "Do
Not Disturb" sign placed by caring center workers helped allay
the expectant parents’ anxiety.
And on a radiantly sunny Wednesday, May 31, right around noon, the
first two cygnets pecked their way out of their sturdy shells and
tumbled into the adoring gaze of their human neighbors. Under the
hissing and pacing of father swan, there was hardly a worker present
who did not feel like honorary godparent to the small bedraggled hatchlings.
And as the eldest cygnets dried into fluffy beige versions of big-beaked
bathtub rubber ducks, more siblings joined the brood. Over a period
of two days, the steadfast swans successfully hatched six of their
Thunderstorms and rain followed in short order, but by then the family
had already launched its brood onto Carnegie’s cluster of drainage
lakes. Now, coaxed along by their stately parents, the six diminutive
cygnets are barely visible across the wide expanse of the largest
ponds. But under the watchful eyes of Carnegie Center’s commuters,
that too will change as days and weeks pass. Swan parents and human
godparents are looking forward to a healthy and hearty summer together.
DONALD WARREN, a Nassau Street-based attorney who had a 20-year career
with the Santa Fe Railroad, responded to the story on Trainfans.com
(U.S. 1, May 31). It’s easy to see why people develop a mania for
trains, he says. He remembers discovering a group of rail fans outside
of Amarillo, Texas, in an inaccessible corner of the Manzano mountain
range. "They were set up with a radio and scanner and tripods
as if this were a sporting event. I have no idea how they got there,
but they were as happy as can be."
Nevertheless, career railroaders scornfully referred to the fans as
"foamers," as in foaming at the mouth. "To railroad men,
these people chasing the trains have to be unbalanced." On the
other hand, he met also rail fans who were very knowledgeable. Says
Warren. "I can remember starting a job with my heart pounding
out of fear and respect for the tremendous amount of mass that you
were trying to control and get over the road."
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