Billy Bulletin July 28-Aug. 3: Monsters Invade and Ships on Parade

The Billy Bulletin appears every Thursday with news about travel and the cities we cover, to help our readers and passengers navigate the week ahead.


This week we’re reading about tall ships, mechanical menaces and a squirrel with a taste for human blood

New York

Um … not to scare you out of your wits or anything, but there’s a squirrel on the loose in the Prospect Park that has developed a taste for human blood. At least five people have been bitten by a squirrel that is acting erratically, and health officials are working under the assumption that it has rabies. Time Out reports: “Health commissioner Dr. Mary Basset said in a statement that most squirrel bites occur when someone tries to feed an animal. So, like, don’t do that.”

Now this is less important, but: Good grief is New York noisy. (Why do people lean on the horn at any hour of the night here? When has honking ever solved anything?) If you’re a light sleeper, this New York Times piece offers a number of technically sophisticated solutions for the city that never wants to let you sleep.


Warning: Starting Thursday July 27, the streets of Ottawa will be the domain of two giant mechanical beasts: a 12-metre-tall mechanical horsey-dragon, and a slightly taller spider. Roaming the roads as part of Canada 150 celebrations, the terrifying creatures are created by a French company called La Machine. (The CBC wins the prize for most boring observation about the creature invasion: namely, that it will block traffic.)


The seafaring city is just one of many Canadian stops on a summer-long, cross-Atlantic tall ships race. Festivities this weekend on Georges Island will celebrate the arrival of some 25 of the old boats. On Saturday, the party includes a special concert by local hero Joel Plaskett, with instructions here on how to attend. (You will need to board a ferry, in keeping with the boat theme …)

Joel Plaskett


In other tall ship news, the U.S.S. Constitution – nicknamed “Old Ironsides” – is back in the water after a spell in dry dock for repairs and refurbishment. The oldest commissioned warship in the world, the Constitution saw battle in the War of 1812. Though visitors won’t be able to climb aboard again until next month or September (tentatively), the ship’s return to the water was exciting enough to draw a crowd. The Boston Globe spoke with several U.S. Navy veterans who went down to the harbour to witness the re-floating of the boat, including an 80-year-old who enthused: “Anyone that loves the sea and ships, it’s an amazing thing to see … Think of the places this ship has been. Think of the things it’s done.”


The U.S.S. Constitution, a.k.a. ‘Old Ironsides’

Air travel

Transpolar flights have made the world a smaller place over the past decade or so. Setting a course over the Arctic, for example, puts the major cities of East Asia into direct-flight range for New York, Toronto and Montreal – travellers no longer have to stop on the West Coast along the way. USA Today has a quick chat with an airline pilot on the special challenges of these (increasingly routine) journeys. Note, meanwhile, that polar flights are only possible if Russia co-operates with other countries to make them so.

Billy Bulletin July 28-Aug. 3: Monsters Invade and Ships on Parade
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