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NYC Starts Watching for Seals on Coney Island

Unbeknownst to New Yorkers, seals have been hanging around the harbor for ages. For the first time the Parks Department is going to try to show them off a marine mammal tour of Coney Island today. (And next week there’ll be a walk through Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx). If Parks is trying to convince New Yorkers seals are out there, it’s a risky move: you can’t be sure when they’ll show up.

But the Coney Island walk is billed as marine mammals. The most likely sighting is a porpoise, says a ranger I talked to. For seals, we could see harbor, harp, gray¬† or even ring seals. There’s also a chance of dolphins (common, white-sided) and whale (fin, minke or humpback). This season seals have been spotted in the Rockaways and the Bronx.

There are other, more reliable ways to see seals around New York City. Though I probably won’t be able to resist the chance to look for them someplace a subway ride away.

  • CRESLI (Coastal Research and Education Center of Long Island) has seal walks and boat tours on Montauk and a neat map of where you might see seals around Long Island.
  • Seals also visit Sandy Hook in New Jersey from December to March.
  • New York City Audubon has a cruise by a bunch of island on a water taxi.
  • SKSA does kayak tours (wet or dry-suit required) on Long Island.

Where to See Seals

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