Manhattan moggies take the air

MIDSUMMER fevers infect Manhattan as nowhere else. Skyscrapers, the subway and sweltering heat turn into a potent virus that makes people and animals engage in all manner of seasonal aberrations that would never happen in such sensible spots as Peoria, Illinois, or Lubbock, Texas.

Forget the drunks and druggies, rapists, muggers and murderers who are part of the city's pestililence year- round. Think, instead, of the steamy day that a Rottweiler got loose on the subway, or that Rosita Libre de Marulanda bared her breasts for commuters on the A-line. Or the cat that jumped from 46 floors up and lived. Or the flying turtles and iguanas.

Rosita is the 49-year-old breast activist who is constantly doffing her shirt in the subway at rush hour. She does it to promote a 1992 New York court ruling that says it is sex discrimination for men to be allowed to take their shirts off in public, but not women. Blase New Yorkers consider her protest to be exhibitionism of the best kind - but exhibitionism none the less. They see it as the sort of protest that does nothing for bosom liberation about which New Yorkers do not have strong views - except when it comes to policewomen. The boys - and girls - in blue at the NYPD got so mad at their comrade who bared herself for Playboy that she was taken off the beat and given a desk job - safe from the leers and insults.

In a city were murder is routine, a one-shot drama barely makes the news. But when death is part of a more pressing problem - like holding up the subway system - New Yorkers take notice. Tuesday, for example, was a day from commuter hell. Within an hour a distressed veteran postal worker accused of mail fraud jumped in front of train, killing himself and stopping the trains for two hours. A pregnant women, trapped on the train went into labour, and a fierce- looking Rottweiler somehow broke loose from its owner and terrified passengers before being subdued by tranquilizer darts fired by cops of the Transit Division.

Animals, especially moggies, exhibit symptoms that humans know well enough. They desperately want to get out. Urban vets call it 'hi-rise cat syndrome' - an animal plague they claim is unique to New York.

Last month a cat set a record for survivng a high- rise fall, gliding down 46 floors to a safe and relatively soft landing in a flower tub. Naturally, cat psychiatrists and animal physicists were on hand to explain the phenomenon. These experts said the average cat reaches a terminal velocity of 60 miles an hour after falling five storeys; from then on its speed does not increase. After nine storeys, cats adopt a position that allows them to survive providing there is something soft to land on. Short-distance fallers often end up with broken bones while 30- storey divers can survive, even if they hit the pavement.

Between 150-200 cats take a leap from their owners' apartments during the summer months. Hi-rise dogs and ferrets are also prone to fall out, as are turtles and iguanas. A suprisingly high percentage survive.

Some years ago, I lived in a modest brownstone on the Upper West Side and had a cat called Gillie who took one look at my new girl friend, now my wife, and jumped out of the bathroom window. Gillie recognised instantly there would not be room for the two of them. Both survived, I'm happy to say.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketers / Sales - Home Based - OTE £23,500

£19500 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced B2B Telemarketer wa...

Recruitment Genius: Showroom Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor