Friday, December 4, 2009


I know, you get to hear the chicken block watch story. Yes, you are very excited.

BUT FIRST! (yes, I *BAIT* and switch-ed ya.)

About a month ago I went to the UN Day: A Tribute to Peace Keeping Concert at the UN (yay for free tickets to awesome things, love my job!). The last song they played was THIS: The Price of Silence.

It is actually a really fun song and has artists like Sister Fa, Natalie Merchant, Aterciopelados, Emmanuel Jal, and Angelique Kidjo. Now I was lucky to see some of these artists in concert. BUT the best part of this video is that you get to see fake delegates dancing inside of a computer generated UN General Assembly Hall, and it is THE FUNNIEST THING to watch ACTUAL UN footage mixed with fake delegates dancing soooo poorly. Also there is a creepy pregnant lady dancing who wore, I kid you not, a dress with a GIANT FETUS on it made out of felt.

And yeah, that's the photo that I took when I saw President Obama speak at the UN cause I am that awesome. You know it. Awesome and poor. (Doesn't the guy behind him kind of look like "Oh crap, not this hope and change BS again..."? Poor man, he's so tired from his long translation or long flight ;).)


So, in addition to all my many jobs and titles and accomplishments and yadda yadda I am so cool and BROKE, I am the president of the Upper Orange Street Block Watch (formerly the East Rock Block Watch). My responsibilities in this position revolve around informing members of the block watch of devious activities in the neighborhood. When there is crime, people tell me, and then I email everyone else and scare the bejesus out of them, and they all email me back going "OMG, Alya, that is so totally AWFUL! Did they call the cops! I hope everyone is okay! Did the cat make it out of the tree?"

No but seriously, this is Urban New Haven. We do have real crimes. Y'all remember Annie Le? :( She was the Yale graduate student that they found in the WALL. Yeah. New Haven has 2.5 TIMES as many homicides PER CAPITA as NYC. Step it up, NYC we're making you look bad. Or Safe. Whatever.

Most of my emails are like

"A car was stolen here at this time, suspect unknown. If you saw anything please call the cops. kthanks, Alya."


There is this competing Block Watch. They're called the SoHU group, for South of Humphrey Street. ooooo they have an Acronym.... Fancy... Whatever. ANYWAY the president of THAT group sends out, I'd estimate, about 30 TIMES more emails than I do. Their group is more of a Block ORGANIZATION though. I just do crime and traffic. I also try to only report on incidents that occur in MY AREA. She sends stuff out for all of New Haven. I don't like to clog the inboxes, you know?

So on Thursday she sends this email. I'm gonna just paste the email WORD FOR WORD:
Subject: SoHu: Missing Chicken

Hi All,

A neighbor at ## Clark street keeps some chickens. 4 of them. They just chased a hawk away from their yard, but one of the [chickens] is missing. She doesn't know if a hawk got her, or if the chicken flew over the fence because she was scared.

She’s reddish brown and she really blends in with the leaves this time of year. Her name is Ginger but chickens aren’t very good at coming when called.

If you see the chicken, can you please let me know asap.

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Group "South of Humphrey", the SoHu block watch community group.
For more options, visit this group at

... Let me show you a picture of New Haven.

This is not the best place for a chicken.

Let me calm all of your fears and say:

Hi All,

Ginger was found cowering in the bushes out on Clark St. Call off the missing chicken alert! Thanks to you all who responded so quickly!


I'm really glad my efforts to drop everything I was doing to go look for that missing chicken didn't go to waste. It would have been devastating if we had to put out a Ginger Alert and she was taken by that hawk!

To understand WHY people in New Haven, CT, the third largest city in Connecticut with a population of 125,000 people now have chickens in their backyards, please read this article (the photo is of the SoHU alderman, Roland Lemar, and my ex-Alderman, who has been replaced by Justin Elicker). Or you can read this article in Urban Chickens... no seriously?

Thanks for reading and best regards,