The 7 train that cuts through Queens has long been known as the “International Express,” after all the different nationalities that live in its shadow. Recently a group of urban ecology students from Columbia and Barnard mapped the line’s lesser-known diversity: its wildlife.
According to the free downloadable podcast tour the students dubbed Safari 7, animal life near 7 stops include cormorants (Grand Central), male fish effected by birth control pills (Hunters Point), squirrels (Queensboro Plaza), chickens (103rd St-Corona Plaza), and germs (74th St-Broadway, though as we all know they’re at every stop).
According to Janette Kim, director of Columbia’s Urban Landscape Lab, the project celebrates and highlights the city’s biodiversity. “We live in a very rich ecosystem,” she told the Queens Chronicle, “but we don’t always acknowledge or understand it.” (See fish and birth control pills above.)
The idea is to download the podcasts onto your MP3 player and hop a train. However, if you’d like to explore this quirky, hidden world with other like-minded souls, a free group tour meets on June 14 at 1 p.m. on the 7 platform at Times Square.