A whale lover’s guide to NYC: Whale watching, culture and more

Obsessed with these sea beasts, huh? You can get your marine-mammal fix right here in New York City.

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Blackfish

Blackfish


We know. NYC ain’t the deep sea. And yet, whales are flocking to our city right now like we’re a tasty swarm of krill. Okay, not necessarily living, swimming ones (wouldn’t that make a great horror movie, though?), but some whale-focused arts and culture events are. Considering that most New Yorkers spend little to no time around marine life (no, that goldfish that you won playing ringtoss on the Coney Island Boardwalk doesn’t count), we suggest taking advantage of the popularity of these deep-sea giants while you still can.

Blackfish
If you are the happy owner of any cute and fluffy Shamu dolls, it’s probably best to just toss them in the trash on your way to see this film. The eye-opening documentary Blackfish is SeaWorld’s latest PR nightmare, focusing on the killer whales who have been captured, bred and trained for the amusement park’s shows. Through interviews with past trainers, court records and footage from the park, director Gabriela Cowperthwaite reveals the psychological and physical complexities of captive 8,000-pound killer whales (emphasis on killer), and examines why forcing them to perform with unprotected trainers is dangerous for both species. Now playing at Cinema Village.

“Whales: Giants of the Deep”
While much of this exhibit is geared toward kids, it still does a good job of showing the not-so-cute-and-cuddly side of whales (e.g., Blackfish). The huge whale skeleton reminds us, well, just how damn big they are, and re-creations of whales during the evolutionary process give some insight into the snarling, wolflike land mammals that they once were. To emphasize your feelings of tininess, check out the plastic, life-size whale heart that doubles as a children’s jungle gym. Now on view at the American Museum of Natural History.

New York Whale and Dolphin Watching
Has all this whale talk given you a hankering to see one in the flesh? Departing from Riis Landing in Rockaway, Queens, these environmentally responsible whale-watching cruises will take you straight out into the Atlantic in search of whales and dolphins in their natural habitat. Impress (or annoy) all of the other passengers with your newfound whale expertise, by pointing out that dolphins are technically a type of a whale (we learned that at the "Whales: Giants of the Deep" exhibit), and that wild whales have never been known to attack humans (as opposed to those in captivity; we got that one from Blackfish). Departs from Riis Landing, State Rd at Heinzelman Rd, Breezy Point, Rockaway, Queens (718-474-0555, newyorkbeachferry.com). Sept 14, 15 at noon; $45, seniors $35, children 5–12 $25, children under 5 free.

Watch the trailer for Blackfish:


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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)

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