Thursday, July 16, 2009


In Boston, the Franklin Park Zoo may close. As many as 165 employees may lose their jobs, and a large percentage of the animals may be euthanized.

“These are extremely difficult times across the state, and there have been tough cuts in every area,” a [Governor Deval] Patrick spokeswoman, Cyndi Roy, said in a statement. “This is an example of an unfortunate cut that had to be made in order to preserve core services for families struggling during the economic downturn.”

Boston's mayor disagrees:

"This is just another bad decision on budget cuts, affecting working families,” Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino said.

"It's a big deal,” he said of the possible closure of Franklin Park Zoo in Dorchester. “It's a great resource for the community. The zoo is an inexpensive place to spend a day in tough economic times."

The zoo opened in 1913 and is set in a beautiful green park by Olmstead. As the article notes, it "represents something of a touchstone for virtually anyone who grew up in Boston and walked through its majestic gates."

I admit to being utterly prejudiced-- I worked there in the early seventies and met many lasting friends , including my late partner Betsy Huntington and frequent commenter Annie D. But the zoo is an architectural treasure, a place where Boston's many communities come together peacefully, and part of a great tradition.Massachusetts spends money like a drunken sailor on everything else; the zoo is unique and irreplaceable.


PBurns said...

The Good News here is that the "we will kill all the animals" stuff was pure bullshit and a game of extortion for more money. That is a disgrace of another kind.

See "The Zoo That Cried Wolf" at >>


Heather Houlahan said...

So an institution that served through two world wars, the Great Depression, and how many other recessions is going to roll over and pee itself now?


Chas S. Clifton said...

Like Patrick, I suspected a little gentle extortion--like when the National Park Service (admittedly underfunded) always first closes the Washington Monument to dramatize its needs, hoping to send a stream of disgruntled tourists right to their representatives' offices.

Anne in VA said...

I sent a permanently disabled spotted merganser to that zoo back when I was repairing birds. I remember feeding it live goldfish in a deep tub of water in my shower stall. After he caught on, he considered that tub his territory, and gave me a nasty bite with his serrated beak when I tried to pick him up. All training for future falconry, I guess. He went to the zoo to be company for an older, lonely female. They apparently hit it off, after he got out of quarantine. I would be banging on their gate if I thought they would nuke him to cut costs. They need a PR makeover after this.