Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Whale Visits NYC or "Why Do Whales Now Swim Near Big Cities"?

You have to admit that this is an inspiring photo. I grabbed it from this news article discussing the 35 foot humpback whale who has been swimming very close to NYC.

There's a new tourist attraction in NYC: Whales

If Ed Glaeser was writing a paper on this, he might title it;  "Why Do Whales Now Swim Near Big Cities?"   Randy Walsh and I are finishing a paper on this broad subject (we don't explicitly discuss whales) but our paper instead focuses on the rise of environmental quality in major U.S cities over the last 30 years with a focus on the causes and consequences of this dynamic.  As this article suggests, one beneficial consequence of the reduction in water pollution is an improvement in the quality of life for creatures in the nearby water. My father now goes out fishing again in NYC rivers that just a few decades ago were highly polluted.  It is no accident that this whale is hanging out. There must be food and fun in NYC.   The "consumer city" takes place under-water as well as on land!