UWS Mysteries: Political Teepee, Possum in a Van, Strange Blue Light, Naked on 72nd Street

Mysteries abound on the Upper West Side, even at a time when people are indoors. In fact, people seem to be contemplating even more mysteries than usual given that they…have the time to. It’s like that Hitchcock movie Rear Window. Sometimes you have to sit (and sit and sit) in front of the same window for long enough before you see what’s really going on.

Political Teepee

Someone put up a teepee in Central Park near Lasker Pool in the Northern end of the park a couple weeks ago. And either that person or someone else also hung a sign on it that’s got a somewhat confusing political message. Something about no one dying from heart attacks or strokes anymore, just coronavirus. It’s tough to read. Thanks to Rob for the photos.

Playing Possum

Remember that possum that we wrote about a couple of weeks ago that was hanging out outside the Museum of Natural History? Apparently, it wasn’t so natural after all!

We got this eerie message from a reader:

“I was walking my dog in Teddy Roosevelt Park when a man in a red minivan stopped and let the possum out of his minivan to run into the park. He then went in and parked in the AMNH parking lot. A woman who had a closer view of all of this reported it to security and the police. I’m just writing to report that this possum is not here naturally.

A Strange Blue Light

Sometimes a little mood lighting can be fun. But every night? One reader is confused as to why there’s always a blue light in the window across the way. Anyone know anything?

“In January, my boyfriend and I moved into 101 West 79th street (the huge building on the corner of 79 and Columbus). We absolutely love the building and the block, but are totally baffled by the building across the street from us. Each evening, one of the top floor windows is illuminated bright blue (see photo attached). Pre-daylight savings time the light turned off around 9:03, now it goes off around 10:03. Same time every night. Our living room and bedroom look straight out at the light, so pretty much every evening we debate its purpose, even more so in this time when we’re confined to our homes. We have also recently learned that other long-time residents of the building are curious as well — referring to it as ‘the blue light.'”

Bare Essentials

As the vast majority of Upper West Siders equip themselves up with masks and other protective coverings, others have a bit less protection. The video, shot by a reader “a few weeks ago” shows a man in his birthday suit walking down 72nd Street. The tipster says the man was wearing some sort of barely-there frontal covering such as a sock. This may be the same man that was spotted last year on Central Park West wearing only a pair of sensible shoes and shoulder bag. (It’s not clear if the video below was taken before the coronavirus restrictions were enacted.)

Have a mystery you’d like us to look into, or tell your neighbors about? Email us at westsiderag at gmail.

ABSURDITY, NEWS, OUTDOORS | 19 comments | permalink
    1. City-dwelling greenthumb says:

      Re: blue light – I can’t speak for them specifically but I was having trouble growing our fiddle-lead fig plant and read about grow lamps. Ours comes with a timer and different color light options so that might explain the mysterious blue light!

    2. i have seen the light says:

      Hello reader (and writer) at 101 W79. I lived in your building from 2000 until 2007 and can report that the same apartment had the same light, same color, same timing (roughly–as far as I can remember) back then. We didn’t have the benefit of “hyperlocal” online crowd sourcing at that time–this was long before WSR was a thing–so our imaginations turned it into an urban MacGuffin of sorts, a catalyst for our adventures in city living. But keep us posted if you find out! Thanks!

    3. UWS_lifer says:

      Here’s an idea….re: the blue light.

      Mind your own business.

      -an old fashioned NY’er

      • Robert says:

        I’m not sure this makes you “old fashioned” – just an old curmudgeon.

        -a millennial

      • _uwslifertoo says:

        The entire column is about commenting on strange community mysteries…. And here I thought “old fashioned” meant not being a troll in the comment section.

    4. susan b says:

      re: the naked man…i am reminded of this definition of a nudist – one who goes hatless and shoeless with dress to match!

    5. Michael A says:

      The description of the blue light sounds like a UV light on a timer. UV light is quite effective in killing virus, bacteria, mold, and other unwanted invaders. Many UWS buildings have air filters with UV lights in their lobbies to kill coronavirus. Someone in DC even suggested people take UV lights as an internal coronavirus remedy, but I’ll not go there.

      I don’t want my name or email address to be printed! I’m very private but wanted to answer the readers question.

    6. mb1 says:

      There are actually many teepees on the Northern end of Central Park. I have seen more than a dozen over the last month.

    7. Christine says:

      There are also several “tee-pees” in Riverside Park, in the 100s. No signs. Not sure what that’s about.

      Question – we also have seen nightly a big bright pinkish light from somewhere in the 60s or 70s(?) emanating all the way up here to the 90s/100s — it’s so bright that it casts a shadow on our BR wall. It’s pretty far west on the grid, and it shines north. Does anyone know what that is?

      • EagleEye says:

        There appears to be a very bright new north facing billboard on 157 West 57th, the first super-tower constructed on billionaires row. It currently has United States flag after dark. It is a real intrusion looming over Central Park. Hopefully it is just in support of our front line workers during this crisis. WSR maybe a story is in order.

      • Sterling says:

        I’ve seen teepees in Morningside park too. Slightly creepy. I called my find “Nicholas cage movie wicker man scary art thing”….I’ll send a photo….

    8. Anna-Inez says:

      I just sent the article on the naked man to my friends who live in NC who are former West Siders from way back in the 90’s and they loved the chuckle and reading all the other articles, so much that they have sent link along to their children who were born in NYC on the Upper West Side. at Col.. Pres
      Keep making us happy laughing and informed. Love getting the “RAG”.

    9. Lincoln Towers says:

      I don’t know about the blue light, but we have a red and blue light that goes on just before dusk and stays one until morning. Anyone looking up at our apartment at night will see a purple glow reflecting off the walls in our living room. It may look strange, but our plants love it. The light consists of some 70 or more LED lights, that require much less current than older plant lights. I bet the blue light is something similar.
      We are in the Lincoln Towers complex.

    10. Anne says:

      Re Christine’s comment—
      I, too, am bewildered by the BRIGHT light shining north from about the west 50s-60s…
      I think it’s too bright/ annoying light pollution( if that’s even possible in NYC), but it IS way too bright—
      Anyone know what the deal is?
      Thanks!

      • WEA homebody now says:

        Re: Anne’s & Christine’s comment—

        Are those are the same bright (purplish) lights that glare into our south-facing West End Ave windows? This week, I finally walked down the Avenue to investigate. I discovered that the LED lights emit from the top of the ‘Sky’ luxury building, at 605 West 42nd St (corner of 11th Ave). No one in the bldg seemed aware of the lights (only folks like us, who are greatly disturbed by the constant bright glare; there’s no avoiding it our apt, even with the blinds down).
        It might take a few formal complaints, but if enough people do, the matter can be easily resolved (e.g., a few yrs ago, another bldg in that same area left obnoxiously-bright lights on every night; after complaints reached the right people, the lights were toned down considerably; I now wonder if it’s the same bldg reverting back to the eyesore nuisance?). Hopefully, if enough of us can reach out & complain to our local representatives, they or someone can again intervene on our collective behalf.

    11. Amy G Dala says:

      Re: blue light – You could always cross the street and ask the doorman. Less fun that way I suppose.

    12. Anne says:

      Thank you “WEA homebody now”!!
      I will put in a complaint and will pass the info along to my neighbors👍
      Hopefully will end the obnoxious glare!

      • WEA homebody now says:

        Thanks Anne. I contacted our local representatives (Rosenthal), LandMark West (though I don’t know if LW can do anything, they are great advocates), & was advised to file a 311 complaint online (under the category of Housing/Buildings – signage/marquee/canopy, using the relevant address of 605 W 42nd St.) Dept of Buildings (DOB) also handles this type of complaint.🤞