Saturday, June 20, 2009

Urban Beekeeping Popular in New York City

Urban Beekeeping: Beekeepers Keep the Lid On
By Joshua Brustein, The New York Times, 6/19/2009

THERE were hives to inspect and honeycombs to drain, but before all that Patrick Gannon sat on a cinder block in his backyard on City Island with his 9-year-old son, Julian, and just watched the bees.

“I can’t think of anything more relaxing than sitting in front of my beehive, drinking a beer, smoking a cigar, letting the bees fly,” Mr. Gannon said on a recent Saturday afternoon. “And the smell. It’s the most beautiful smell.”

Mr. Gannon moved to City Island from Manhattan in 2003, lured by the opportunity of sailing. But after trading a sixth-story walk-up apartment for a house, Mr. Gannon decided to return to beekeeping, a hobby he had discovered as a young man in rural England.

His pastime, however, means breaking the law. His hives, like all those in New York City, are illegal, and Mr. Gannon could face thousands of dollars in fines if someone complained and the authorities took action.

Though it’s almost impossible to keep a bee colony a secret, the number of New Yorkers taking the risk is growing: beehives are popping up in various neighborhoods, and seem particularly popular in Brooklyn, say those who track beekeeping…

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