Monday, February 4, 2013

Groundhog Day Chills

If you've ever wanted to see the groundhog come out of his hole, you don’t have to drive the five hours from New York to Pennsylvania to do it. This past weekend, my adventurous family woke up at 5AM, packed blankets and snacks and hopped in my Dodge Journey to wheel it out from the Bronx to the Staten Island Zoo, where within the hour we were parked and hiking throughout the frigid temps to visit Staten Island’s Chuck the Groundhog. In case you don't realize it, Chuck is the official groundhog meteorologist of New York City. Last year he bit Mayor Michael Bloomberg - no doubt upset about the constant taxes Bloomberg is so fond of. This year City Council Speaker Christine Quinn was there to officiate.

I held my 6-year-old daughter on my shoulders for the duration of the 40-minute ceremony. My 9 year old, however, was not as happy to be there as the rest of us. She just couldn’t warm up amidst the 20-degree chill. My wife took photos in her usual keen-eyed fashion.

Swiped from The New York Daily News web site...with yours truly and family upper left.
New York accents were in full force as the ceremony begun. Introductions were started by a band that didn't know the words to the Beatles "Ob-La-De, Ob-La-Da". Next, they performed their own original song about "Stun-island Chuck." Ten minutes of silence passed as we wondered when the show would start. I was beginning to feel like I was trapped in the Staten Island Ferry terminal waiting for the next boat to load. Finally, some sweet kids from PS29 sang the National Anthem, and Borough President of Staten Island James Molinari announced he had to get up at "tree-in-the-morning" to be here. Christine Quinn touted Chuck's record of accurately predicting the weather 80% of the time in contrast to PA's Punxatawney Phil, who has only been 40% accurate.

When Chuck finally came out (cute little fella), Quinn and colleagues concluded that Chuck DID NOT See his shadow, and therefore spring will be arriving in 6 weeks. Good call, Chuck! Give the people what they want, or there's liable to be someone shouting "Moider da bum!"

No comments: