From an article in the Times this morning, " 'Nothing We Can Do,' Rescuers Say, For Whale Beached on Queens Shore" (my emphasis):
There it sat on the sand at Breezy Point on Wednesday morning in the misty drizzle, gray and improbably enormous, flippers slowly flopping, mouth bobbing open and shut in the lapping tide.
It was a whale, a 60-foot finback, longer than a city bus, “the banished and unconquerable Cain of his race” as Melville called it, looking almost robotic and entirely surreal on a stretch of Queens shoreline still littered with debris from Hurricane Sandy, with Brooklyn’s blocky skyline beyond.
As evening fell, the whale, severely underweight even at about 60 tons, was alive, but its breathing was slowing, and it was not long for this world, rescuers said.
The prognosis for beached whales, particularly of this size, is always grim, said Mendy Garron, a marine-mammal rescue coordinator with the National Marine Fisheries Service.
Some residents first seemed hopeful that the whale might somehow make its way back out to sea, but as fog rolled in and the rain mixed with snow, the mood grew somber. One by one, the whale-watchers peeled away from the beach, leaving the giant, heaving animal, growing ever more still as day faded away.