INWOOD — A seal was spotted preening for passersby on a dock off Inwood Hill Park Monday evening.
The unusual visitor attracted a crowd of about 25 onlookers as it frolicked in Spuyten Duyvil Creek and sunbathed on a Columbia University rowing dock, witnesses said.
“This guy just hopped up and hung out for a while, then when the rowers came down to practice he jumped back in the water and splashed around the boats for a bit,” Inwood resident Laurel Parrish wrote in a local Facebook group.
Police and Animal Care and Control of New York responded to check on the animal, but it eventually swam away toward the Hudson River, said Inwood resident Bruce Katz, who took photos of the seal.
“It looked to me like it really just wanted to sit on the dock and enjoy the day,” Katz said, noting that the seal was not obviously injured or ill.
“I got a pretty good look at it through the lens,” he said. “It looked like a healthy, happy seal to me.”
A spokeswoman for AC&C confirmed that a field officer did check on the seal and that it was not injured.
The NYPD did not immediately responded to a request for comment.
It's not the first time a seal has been spotted Uptown.
In 2009, a harbor seal made appearances near Columbia’s boathouse dock for about three weeks in April.
Two years later, a gray seal was spotted resting on the beach near the Dyckman Marina.
Harbor seals are the most common species in the waters surrounding New York City and large groups of them were spotted this winter off the coast of Pelham Bay Park in The Bronx. Gray and harp seals were also spotted in the New York City area.
The Riverhead Foundation, a nonprofit that does marine animal rescues in the New York-Long Island area, did not return a request for comment.
It was not clear what type of seal the recent visitor was, but Uptown residents were excited by the sighting.
“To have this plop up on the dock — it’s just something you normally don’t associate with Manhattan,” Katz said.