Toni Boornazian


Christmas Eve Caroling

On December 24th, members of the SPNA community came together for a festive and fun evening of Christmas caroling. Carolers gathered around the tree and Peter Stuyvesant statue in the west side of the park and indulged in refreshments provided by Veselka. It was wonderful to continue the tradition of caroling in the park with St. George’s Church. The event was the perfect way to close out 2021.

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Devoted, Romantic, and Melodic

Cardinals are birds in the Cardinalidae family found in the Americas and the Caribbean in woodlands, gardens, shrublands, and wetlands. They come in a variety of colors and are passerine, meaning their toes are designed to grab onto surfaces for perching. The family consists of 14 genuses, which together comprise 53 species. The Cardinalis genus specifically consists of three species – the Northern cardinal, Vermillion cardinal, and Pyrrhuloxia – all of which are found in the eastern United Sates, southeastern Canada, Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala. The Northern cardinal is the most common cardinal in New York.

Male and female Northern cardinal

Male and female Northern cardinal

Both male and female cardinals are songbirds, and they will sing to each other for communication and for courtship. The songs are learned, meaning cardinals will sing songs similar to other cardinals around them. Male cardinals will sing their songs from a high perch to mark their territory and will chase after and fight other males. Both males and females are highly territorial, and will even fight their reflections in water, bumpers, windows, or other reflective surfaces, sometimes for many days, especially during breeding season. They also use their song to warn against predators – falcons, hawks, owls, and other birds of prey consume cardinals, and milk snakes, bluejays, squirrels, cats, chipmunks, and other animals consume cardinal eggs.

Cardinal couples are known for their devotion to one another. Male cardinals will woo female cardinals with their bright coloring, song, and by feeding them choice seeds and berries beak to beak. They generally mate for life and are monogamous, working together to raise chicks throughout the year. The female lays three to four eggs two to four times a year. The father raises and feeds the young while the mother incubates more eggs. Unlike many other birds, Northern cardinals are not migratory and will stay in the same area during their lifetimes. This means families stick together and form relationships with other cardinals around them. In order to keep warm during winter, cardinals will fluff their down feathers to trap warm air and alternate tucking their legs one at a time into their body while perching.

Male Northern cardinal feeding a female beak to beak

Male Northern cardinal feeding a female beak to beak

The relationship cardinal couples have with each other inspired cultures to associate devotion, romance, and friendship with the bird. For example, according to a Choctaw legend, a cardinal once came across a beautiful, lonely maiden looking for companionship. As the cardinal continued to travel, it came across a brave, handsome man. It befriended the man and tricked him into following it straight to the maiden’s home. The maiden and the boy met and quickly discovered friendship, companionship, and romance. The positive qualities associated with cardinals, their distinctive appearance, and their wide distribution contributed to their instatement as the state bird of seven U.S. states and as the mascot and namesake of a number of sports teams.

The Northern cardinal is one of our many neighbors who call Stuyvesant Square Park their home. They frequent our bird baths and are regulars at our bird feeders. Their devotion to each other is reminiscent of the vision we have for the Stuyvesant Square community – coming together to care for one another, cultivate relationships, and help ensure our park is the best it can be for everyone. You can find more information about Northern cardinals here.

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Winter’s Reality Check

Contribution by Lew Widoff

In September, longtime SPNA neighbor Lew Widoff shared a piece about listening to our jazz concerts in the park. Below is his new piece, titled Winter’s Reality Check, which commemorates the annual changing of the leaves and shift to cooler months.

The change is subtle as days are shortened and choices more restrictive. Gone is the energy of growth and freshness. The surroundings have shifted signaling the closing of a cycle. Through instinct and acquired experiences we adapt to the other side of our planet’s journey. It too follows a pre-directed course controlled by the powers of attraction in which we are just passengers. As Spring enriches life… Fall keeps it in perspective. Browns and Oranges and Yellows are given their final fling as they carpet the ground preparing for the change.

Tradition serves to occupy the spirit during this seasonal ride.Family bonds are reinforced as elders share their wisdom of experiences. They are the fixtures that record the marks placed upon the timeline. These are the cycles that represent the Tree of Life. ~ COGNITO

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Goodbye Fall Leaves

Saturday Dog Run Clean-up

On December 4th, NYC Parks and SPNA board member Jeff Fagan with other Stuyvesant Park Dog Run volunteers came together to tidy up the piles of fall leaves in the dog run. The photo above shows NYC Parks’ Crew Chief Josie DeJesus, Jeff Fagan, and volunteers behind some of the 30 bags of leaves they cleared on the busy day.

Volunteers also came out on November 20th to rake leaves and plant tulip bulbs. Below are photos from the November 20th event. We want to thank all the volunteers who came out to plant and rake, as well as NYC Parks’ Josie DeJesus  and Maria Mendez and SPNA board members Doris Dieter, Grace Iannuzzi, and Claire Brennan, for their efforts in keeping Stuyvesant blooming.

Interested in volunteering? Our bi-weekly Gardening Club continues to meet every Tuesday and Thursday from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM, weather permitting. Masks are required. No experience is necessary.

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Welcoming the Holidays

Tree Lighting and Caroling

Setting up the treesOur Christmas trees are up and shining with light! SPNA was happy to once again purchase two beautiful trees for Stuyvesant Square Park. The trees are now up and shining with light. On Sunday, December 12th, the SPNA community came together for a festive tree lighting to officially commemorate the beginning of the holiday season. SPNA President Jason Money and Council Member Carlina Rivera delivered opening remarks and SPNA provided refreshments. The Kidwell Sisters initiated the countdown and brought holiday cheer and drama with their beautiful performances.

Some photos of the event are included below. You can find more photos and videos on our Instagram page. You can also click on the video below to view a livestream of the entire event.

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