On September 4th, Mike Busch was on a private boat off the coast of Rockaway, "within view of the NYC skyline," and he captured some amazing photos of a humpback whale (perhaps the same whale New Yorkers spotted the week before).
These whales aren't all that uncommon here, and Busch points out that there's "a whale watching boat out of Breezy Point that goes out everyday in the summer and on weekends through part of October. I would highly recommend it!" (If you're taking your camera, he offers some technical tips over here—"The hard part was getting the whales to cooperate by doing anything other than slowly swimming and surfacing briefly!")
According to the WCS, "Waters off New York City and the greater New York Bight serve as a feeding ground, nursery, and migratory corridor for many species of marine life including whales, dolphins, sharks, fish, and sea birds. WCS’s New York Seascape program works to restore healthy populations of these species and protect New York marine waters, which are vital to wildlife and key to the area’s economic and cultural vitality."