Breezy Point was already the epicenter of New York City bad news. All but swallowed by the angry ocean during Hurricane Sandy, the neighborhood at the western tip of the Rockaway peninsula then caught fire, burning 111 homes to the ground as firefighters watched helplessly.
Now, a different category of bad news: The finback whale that beached itself at Breezy Point last week is dead.
The emaciated and injured whale was first discovered on the beach near Breezy Point last Wednesday by Lou Bassolino, a neighborhood resident who has been driving the beach for weeks in hopes of finding the boat he lost in the hurricane.
Bassolino told Newsday that he and his family waded into the surf and began pouring water onto the whale, following instructions they found online after Googling “How to save a whale.”
“We’ve been through so much devastation here,” he said, “we just wanted to save something. We wanted to save that whale.”
If there is a silver lining in the sad end to this story, it’s that the whale’s unassisted death means biologists won’t need to euthanize it. As Mendy Garron of the National Marine Fisheries Service told The New York Times, the amount of poison necessary to kill a 30-ton animal turn the carcass into an enormous pile of biological toxic waste.
Disposing of the corpse still won’t be easy. But another small piece of good news is that apparently whale-disposal technologies have advanced since the 1970s, when Oregon transportation officials, in a now-immortal burst of outside-the-box thinking, decided to dynamite a beached whale, sending gobs of molten blubber raining down like cetacean napalm on the vicinity.
Officials say the Blow It Up option is not on the table.