Look Who Came For Dinner
Date May 13, 2010
Relevant Logs The Mere Mention Of The Name

New York Times
Madeleine Hart

While hundreds of people called the Corinthian their home during the Great Storm, one uninvited hungry guest found its way into the hotel's Chambery Restaurant on May 13. Gus, the famed polar bear, who escaped the Central Park Zoo with his pal Ida and a pack of penguins in April, entered the storeroom from a back loading area without being seen, where he ate through a few pounds of food, before deciding to seek company in the restaurant itself.

Gus surprised the few Corinthian employees and hotel patrons working or eating in the restaurant when he lumbered out of the storeroom and helped himself to the sandwiches set out for those seeking refuge in the hotel. No one was injured, though Kain Zarek, public relations specialist for the Linderman Company, nearly lost a few digits when feeding the animal.

If the voracious snap of ursine jaws were any indication of food preferences, Gus apparently has a liking for roast duck.

Zarek was the hero of the hour when he rode a food cart out of the storeroom throwing meat in his wake to lure the 1,000-pound animal out of the restaurant, through the lobby and into the greenhouse that is home to the lavish Corinthian rose garden. Zarek was modest about the feat.

"Well, you know how it goes. People were in danger and somebody had to step up and make there that everyone got out safe. I'm just glad that no one got hurt, and that includes old Gus, and that the New York City Zoo will be getting both of their polar bears back in time for it to reopen," Zarek said in a southern drawl. "Ain't nobody found them penguins though, I hear. If they're as crafty and clever as they sound I best make sure they don't go getting unionized or I might be out of a job."

Ina Anderson, casino floor manager, said that it was the Corinthian's pleasure to play host to the white beast.

"While the Corinthian was never built with the comforts of a polar bear in mind, we were more than happy to be a temporary respite from the cold for Gus, who has been a longstanding and iconic resident of New York, in his time of need," Anderson said.

During his brief visit, the 25-year-old Gus managed to bulldoze his way through approximately two dozen sandwiches — peanut butter and jelly, turkey, and ham — and several pounds of various meats While he was clearly hungry, Gus was probably not in danger of starving. Living off its blubber, a polar bear can go for months without eating, according to Zookeeper Kenneth McNamara.

In the wild, Gus would snack on seals, but would also happily wolf down walrus, crunch on caribou, or even graze on grass, berries and seaweed in a pinch. At his home in the zoo, Gus eats his main meal at the end of the day after the visitors have left. These meals include mackerel, chicken, beef, horsemeat, and what the keepers refer to as "bear chow." Every day the keepers encourage Gus and Ida to hunt for their food, to keep them active and healthy, by hiding fish in frozen blocks, inside toys or in the rock crevices of their habitat.

While Gus and his better half Ida are safe, the penguins remain at large. Teamsters, be on the lookout.

OOC: Along with the lighthearted NY Times news story about Gus at the Corinthian, there would be photos of the bear and Kain Zarek on the food cart luring him out, photo byline by Madeleine Hart as well.

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