Today I decided to go take a walk and enjoy a bit of the sun on my lunch break. As a co-worker and I were walking on Lexington Ave between 79th and 80th St, we noticed people were looking into the sky. Of course we looked and didn't understand what the hoopla was all about. A woman walking behind us stated that there was a racoon in the tree. A racoon on Lexington Ave? Oh boy this little guy or girl was far from home. Of course I decided to call 311 for assistance. 311 is the NYC's phone line for non emergency related information. 311 is also a way for city agencies to monitor complaints or issues for better quaility service. My cousin was trained as a 311 operator when he was in college and he even stated it was a joke. They have a database of all the city, state and federal agencies and if someone calls to inform the city of garbage strewn all over a street or a fowl odor is coming through walls, then the approriate agency is notified and the situation is (hopefully) resolved.
So that brings me back to the racoon. I called 311 and the woman who answered the call pretty much chuckled on the phone and asked me what I wanted her to do about the racoon. I stated that I was concerned because the racoon is in the tree and I would like someone to come and rescue it and release it to its natural surroundings. This operator proceeded to read to me a scripted piece about how racoons like to hide in trees, how they are known to be seen in urban communities and yada yada yada. I was perplexed because it sounded like a story I would read to my 5 yr old and the fact that she considered Lexington Ave and 79th St an urban community. This is the Upper East Side lady, there is nothing urban about this area!
Needless to say I learned a thing or two about NYC 311:
1 - only call if you are concerned about what side of the street you need to park on
2 - only call if you have an issue with a parking violation
3 - only call if you need to locate a towed vehicle
May I note, that this is the second time I called in regards to an animal and the city just brushed me off, I guess NYC isn't animal friendly.