As Brooklynites arrived at Prospect Park dressed in their best to honor the legacy of former Prospect Park Alliance President Tupper Thomas, a handful of locals gathered outside the gala to honor the park's fallen geese.
"We just wanted to be here so that the community can see that we haven't forgotten what happened," said Kevin Beers, who organized the small gathering.
Beers painted a portrait of geese that were killed last summer, when the city secretly gassed hundreds of park geese after they were declared a threat to aviation safety. He placed the oil painting at the entrance to the fundraiser, in hopes that the group's message might reach some of the event's influential attendees.
The Prospect Park Alliance is working with Humane Society of the United States, Brooklyn College and other groups to find alternative ways to keep the park geese population to a manageable size, including by “oiling” the eggs to prevent them from hatching, making a rule against feeding the geese and bringing in border collies to scare geese away. But the contract between the city and the USDA for the gassing of park geese expires June 30, and with the park goose population on the rise it is very possible that the city may opt to exterminate them again.
"We want to try to prevent it from happening again, we want to create awareness," said Rina Deych, another protestor.
Some of those attending blamed Tupper Thomas for allowing the gassing to take place. One errant protestor, more aggressive than her fellow geese-lovers, antagonized gala-goers with this information.
Though the original plan was to hold a candlelight vigil for the fallen geese, a cool evening breeze crushed any such hope.