Coyote Sighting Sparks ‘Amazement and Fear’

A coyote in the middle of the big city. Photo by Christine E.

The Central Park coyote got a lot of attention this past winter, but hasn’t been heard from much since. Until a few days ago. Christine E. sent the following account of her interaction with the coyote on the northern edge of the Great Lawn, around 85th Street.

She apologizes for the photo’s “Blair Witch-esque quality. I was balancing an old generation phone, the dog in my arms, amazement, and fear.” (For a crisper shot, see here.)

“Just an FYI (and a warning to parents of small children and dogs), I spotted a coyote in Central Park on late Sunday night / early Monday morning just before 1am. I was in the park, with my leashed 7 pound dog, on the path near the north end of the Great Lawn. I hoped to spot Saturn, which was scheduled to make a rare appearance next to Jupiter. Due to clouds and my equipment (I only had binoculars), the astronomy was a bust.

Those white lights may be planets…

As I started back home to UWS I noticed a coyote, about 30 feet away, staring at us, probably mostly staring at the dog who likely looked delicious. The coyote took a couple of steps toward us. I scooped up the dog. The staring contest continued. Then I shouted something and the coyote sauntered off and entered the Great Lawn. I carried the dog most of the way home as a precaution.


I reported the sighting to the Gotham Coyote Project ( and to 311, which are the proper channels for tracking NYC coyotes, according to google search. The city’s response was that “No action was taken because the agency determined the condition reported was within acceptable parameters for park/city use.”

I guess the coyotes have a permit for after-hours park use! lol”

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 14 comments | permalink
    1. GG says:

      People really go into the park alone at 1AM to walk their dogs?

      Wow, things sure have changed in the 50 years I’ve lived in this neighborhood. Back in the 70’s and 80’s this probably had a 50/50 chance of something really bad happening.

      Oh well, be careful out there folks.

      • Josh P. says:

        50 years is a long time! The park is now incredibly safe. More people than ever want to live here. Unfortunately the population of the UWS hasn’t been allowed to grow since 1970 so it’s become completely unaffordable for young families to live here. I hope the coyotes got a good deal on a place with a nice “den”!

        • PM says:

          So all those families with young kids in the playgrounds, waterparks, cafes, or CP itself are… tourists?

          • Josh P. says:

            You’re right – the number of families is here not literally zero. But if you look at the numbers, the Upper West Side is losing families at a rapid pace.
            From 2006 to 2019, the number of total households on the UWS declined from 121,000 to 118,000 and the percentage of households with children under 18 declined from 21.2% to 17.9%. That combines for an overall decrease in households with children from roughly 25,500 to 21,100, a decline of over 17%!
            To be clear, the issue here is not that families are fleeing a dying neighborhood – the serious crime rate decline from 11.9 per 100,000 to 8.1 per 100,000 over the same period. The median sales price of a condo over the same period increased from $1.2 million to over $1.9 million in that time. This is a great neighborhood that’s getting better and people are willing to pay an absurd amount of money to live here. We just aren’t building enough new homes, so it gets harder and harder for young families to get a foot in the door.

            • PM says:

              Using the same dataset, and starting at 2000, produces the radically different result of an increase in the percentage of households with kids from 14.6% to 17.9% of all households.

              Similarly, CPI inflation since 2000 is 2.2% annually, or 58% over the entire period. $1.2M x 1.58 = … $1.9M.

              So one can just as easily argue that this place is gaining families at a nice clip, particularly more well-off families whose income growth has outpaced inflation, while inflation-adjusted RE prices haven’t budged at all in 20 years.

            • Josh P. says:

              The housing cost info is already inflation adjusted and presented in constant 2020 dollars (2020$). So even after adjusting inflation, housing costs are up almost 60%. New York City real estate is expensive and getting more expensive.
              I chose to highlight the 2006 number because I moved here in 2007 after I graduated college. I’m 36 years old now and the UWS side has been losing families the entire time I’ve lived here. I don’t think it’s a great defense of the way the neighborhood has been run to say “we’ve steadily lost families since George W. Bush was in office, but if you go back far enough they did increase from 2000 to 2006.”
              I don’t think I’m saying anything especially controversial here – the UWS is losing housing units and becoming more expensive. The high cost of living makes it difficult for young families to afford to live big cities. Try to find an apartment on StreetEasy where two working teachers can afford to raise their two kids. The neighborhood has made the choice to prioritize preservation over growth, and this is the outcome.

      • Wijmlet says:

        I’D HESITATE.

    2. Jay says:

      Regular “Cloverfield” event + images.

    3. Vincent says:

      Don’t go into Central Park at 1am and bring your 7 pound dog, problem solved. To quote Ron Swanson, “Any dog under fifty pounds is a cat, and cats are pointless”.

    4. Sarah says:

      Glad Henry is okay! He looks adorable.

    5. MQue says:

      I see one almost weekly they eat plenty in the park and are not a threat. Best thing to do is either yell at them or carry a flashlight and point it in their face.

    6. WilliBird says:

      Those coyotes have no regrets. They just come from different sets of circumstances.

    7. UWSider says:

      Isn’t the park closed at 1:00 am? Why are you walking your dog then? Seems perfectly normal there may be nocturnal animals around looking for dinner.