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There’s No Reason For This Giant Raccoon to Be Up in a Tree on a New York City Street But Here It Is

2 minute read

Occasionally, an animal will go viral on the Internet for doing something shocking in New York City, from the so-called “pizza rat,” the rodent that dragged a piece of pizza down subway steps, to the squirrel that grabbed a Shake Shack milkshake out of a Madison Square Park garbage can.

The latest surprise occurred at 7:45pm on a Sunday, when a raccoon strolled up West 115th Street and climbed up a tree on Broadway across the street from Columbia University’s campus in the Morningside Heights section of Manhattan. This brazen “street raccoon” just sat up there for a minute or two, looking around as city buses and taxis zoomed by, before it climbed down and sauntered up the avenue. Presumably it came from Riverside Park, where the creatures have been seen many times before.

A few young adults rushed towards the animal with their smartphones to take photos. When the raccoon parked itself next to the entrance of a Japanese restaurant, one could be heard exclaiming, “This is not the time for Snapchat to malfunction!”

Maybe the animal was just looking to grab dinner, since it chose to take a walk around a block that has a halal food cart, the 24/7 supermarket Morton Williams, and a Japanese restaurant. We’ll never know.


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Write to Olivia B. Waxman at olivia.waxman@time.com