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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

seven eggs.

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.

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More on Trains

DONALD WARREN, a Nassau Street-based attorney who had a 20-year career

with the Santa Fe Railroad, responded to the story on

(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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