Ah, the heady days of the 1960s. I’m told if you remember it, you weren’t there.
So we’ll forgive you if you forgot all about that time – May 9, 1965 – when a bunch of teenagers swiped a penguin from the New York Aquarium in Coney Island.
Why would they steal a penguin, you ask? Because, man, why not?
The story goes like this: an MTA detective was on the subway at Stillwell Avenue, minding everybody’s business like he ought to. He spots a group of teens hop on his subway car carrying a cardboard box. The kids leave, but leave the box behind.
Then the box moves.
Figuring it’s a seagull – because, man, why not? – he goes to grab the box to take it outside and release it. Only after getting bit on the thumb does this detective decide to get a little more inquisitive, and takes a look inside the container.
He called up the aquarium and they confirmed they were a penguin down, and it was returned safely.
Oh, yeah, then it happened again in 1967.
I learned all this after stumbling across the New York Historical Society video above, first released in 2012.