Good morning. It’s Thursday. We’ll look at how the abortion issue divides the two major-party candidates for governor. We’ll also find out why dolphins are making a comeback in New York Harbor.

Wednesday, the ninth day of summer, was the first day of the fall campaign for governor. And one issue dividing the Democratic and Republican candidates, fresh from their victory celebrations after the primaries on Tuesday, was immediately clear: abortion.

In fact, as my colleague Nicholas Fandos notes, the confetti was still raining down at Gov. Kathy Hochul’s victory party when she articulated an emerging message of her campaign as the Democratic nominee: If the Republican wins, he could try to limit abortion rights in New York.

That Republican is Representative Lee Zeldin of Long Island, who said nothing in his own victory speech about abortion or the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

That was no accident. In New York, where registered Democrats far outnumber Republicans, Zeldin needs to recruit voters from outside his conservative base — independents and disaffected Democrats worried about crime and inflation.

Hochul hopes to convince that same bloc that Zeldin’s positions are more extreme than he acknowledges, especially when it comes to a woman’s right to an abortion.

The issue has the potential to be unusually powerful in New York, which broadly legalized abortion three years before Roe. Since then, New Yorkers have never elected a governor who opposed legalized abortion.

Zeldin has regularly voted in Congress to limit abortion access and to prevent federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood. He told a virtual “town hall” sponsored by the anti-abortion group New York State Right to Life in April that he supported naming a state health commissioner who “respects life as opposed to what we’re used to,” according to a recording of the event obtained by NY1.

And after the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade was issued last week, he said it was “yet another reminder that New York needs to do a much better job to promote, respect and defend life.”

Zeldin himself has said that the governor’s power to change abortion laws in New York is relatively limited, given the Democrats’ control of the Legislature in Albany. “New York has already codified far more than what Roe provided,” he said in a recent interview with The New York Times, an apparent reference to a 2019 law that made the federal protections a part of state law in case Roe was ever overturned.

By committing $35 million in state funds to promote abortion access, Hochul has demonstrated that governors can reinforce the message that New York is a safe haven for women seeking abortions. And with millions from campaign contributions to spend between now and November, she and her Democratic allies are not veiling their strategy.

“You’ve got an extremist view held by Lee Zeldin, and we’re not going to keep that a secret,” said Jay Jacobs, the state Democratic Party chairman. “The voters need to know what they are buying.”


Expect a sunny day near the high 80s. At night, it will be mostly clear with temperatures in the low 70s.


In effect until Monday (Independence Day).

The reporter who wrote that story — William J. Broad — told me that reporting on the dolphins’ comeback in our own backyard had been a respite from covering the months since President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine and put Russia’s nuclear weapons on “special combat readiness.”

I asked him to tell us more about the dolphins and the researchers who eavesdropped on them.

Eavesdropping on dolphins? What were the researchers listening for?

Bottlenose dolphins — the type famous for wide grins and energetic leaps — are highly intelligent creatures that use sound waves to communicate and hunt food. Scientists have found that they can emit a rapid series of clicks known as feeding buzzes that help them track prey. Day and night for two years, the team listened for the unique buzzes of bottlenose dolphins as a way to track their whereabouts.

Where did they put the microphones, and what did they find?

The team set up underwater microphones and recorders at six locations off Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and New Jersey to listen for the distinctive feeding sounds. It found the highest activity of the dolphins to be in the Lower Bay off Long Island, particularly near the entrance to outer New York Harbor. The least activity was found closer to Manhattan, in the Upper Bay off Brooklyn, in an area of high shipping traffic and noise.

What unexpected places around New York have dolphins been sighted in?

Last year, a pair showed up in the waters of the East River off Greenpoint, Brooklyn, eliciting gasps from onlookers and scientists. Dolphins sometimes come near the shore and get stranded when ill. But Howard Rosenbaum, a senior scientist at the Wildlife Conservation Society, who was a co-author of a recent study, said the pair showed no signs of distress.

Can you see dolphins on routine cruises across New York Harbor or, say, from the Staten Island Ferry?

Probably not, especially in areas of high ship traffic. Dolphins appear to avoid the din of multiple loud engines. My wife and I recently went on a Circle Line Cruise with our visiting daughter and her husband. When we got to the Statue of Liberty, it was like a Manhattan traffic jam, only with all kinds of small and large craft jostling and crisscrossing one another’s wakes for better views. We saw no dolphins.

On the other hand, a number of companies offer sightseeing tours for whales and dolphins in and around New York Harbor. I can’t vouch for the companies, but it seems like they’d go out of business if they didn’t deliver the goods with fair regularity.

Why do dolphins appear to be making a comeback? Is it a payoff of all the efforts to make the water cleaner?

Experts cite the cleanup of New York Harbor as a main factor but admit the overall reason for the dolphin revival is murky. Other possible factors include warming water because of climate change and the recovery of menhaden stocks along the East Coast. Dolphins feast on those small schooling fish, eating up to 20 pounds a day.

Is it possible the coronavirus pandemic is behind the increase in sightings?

Yes, at least partly. People who never spent time on the waterfront suddenly found themselves taking long walks and couldn’t help but notice when a dolphin surfaced nearby. Maxine Montello, an official at the New York Marine Rescue Center, said another source of accidental sightings during the pandemic was people showing a newfound interest in driving boats — even when they had little or no experience. As she noted, it can be scary out there.


Dear Diary:

Against an iron fence near Stuyvesant Town
I leaned to watch a flock of soaring birds
Exploit the summer sky and leisurely
Equivocate, as if they were the netted
Particles of one diffusing mind.
Which roof to land on, which stark flat city roof?
Alone one bird, against the common will,
Flew closer to a cloud and ravished part
Of space she took to be her own.
Then I took her, a thousand feet or more away,
In that long since extinguished moment
Mute against the grating, for my friend.

Herbert Klein

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