The Mast-Head: A Winter Pleasure

Many of the animals appeared glad to see us, bored, I presume.

    We were the only people in the Bird House at the Bronx Zoo on Saturday. This was not surprising, since it was a cold, cold day and only about a half-dozen vehicles were in the parking lot when we arrived.

    There were four others at the tiger display and just two besides us peering at the snow leopards. Between the five of us and another group, only nine visitors visited the giraffes when we were there. Nobody else was around as we watched some grizzly bears wrestling in the snow. No one ever stopped to see the bison.

    It was as if we had the entire place to ourselves. I kid you not when I say that many of the animals appeared glad to see us, bored, I presume.

    Ellis, our almost-4-year-old, had wanted nothing else during the holiday break than to go to the zoo. Though we would have only about an hour before closing, having left Amagansett later than we would have liked, we were determined to go.

    Honestly, it was good that we had only limited time because the distances between exhibits are considerable, and, when the temperature is below freezing, they feel even farther. And one of our daughters happened to be wearing a pair of Ugg boots nearly worn through at the toes; she and Lisa went back to the mini van early to warm up.

    Forgetting about the weather, it was a pleasure to wander around the zoo with so few others. It was as if we were on a private tour of the place, an after-hours V.I.P. visit won in a charity auction perhaps.

    So what if the African wild dogs and gorillas had been moved somewhere warm for the winter? It was a reasonable trade in exchange for taking in what remained on display in near silence and without external distraction.

    Such is a joy of winter on the South Fork as well. We should all remember to take advantage of it while we can.