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Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category

Pretty the Coney Island Cat

Pretty the Coney Island Cat © Stanley Fox. December 3, 2014

Pretty the Cat is frequently mistaken for a stray by tourists but this Coney Island cat has long made her home on the Bowery where she is fed year-round by concessionaires. This morning, Coney raconteur and retired arcade owner Stanley Fox photographed Pretty when she jumped on the hood of his car, which he’d parked on the Bowery. Just after he snapped this photo, Pretty ran off to eat breakfast. Ray, who runs the basketball game on the Bowery, had come to feed her, as he does every day. “He stands guard while she eats,” Stan told ATZ, as Ray chased away a big seagull trying to snatch the can of food.

The feline queen of the Bowery is at least 10 or 11 years old by our estimation and is spayed. As we reported last year, after Manny of Coney Island Arcade and Target the Cat left the Bowery for Las Vegas, Pretty came into her own. This feral cat whom only a handful of people could pet in the past became the mascot of the independent game operators. In the summer, you’ll find her grooming herself in the middle of the Bowery unperturbed by passersby and taking a nap in Jimmy Balloons game under the Wonder Wheel sign.

Related Posts on ATZ…

February 12, 2013: Coney Island Cat & Arcade Business Moving to Las Vegas

January 14, 2013: Landlord Evicting Famous Coney Island Cat and His Humans

February 21, 2011: Target the Coney Island Arcade Cat & His Friend Pretty

January 26, 2011: Photo of the Day: Henderson Music Hall Cats Now Homeless

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Coney Island Boardwalk Cats Project

Coney Island Boardwalk Cats banner painted by Marie Roberts

Look for the Coney Island Boardwalk Cats Project on Pet Day at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, June 14, on the Boardwalk under this beautiful banner painted by Marie Roberts. Stop by their tent on the Boardwalk across from the Wonder Wheel to learn how this new group of volunteers is helping the feral and stray cat population of Coney Island.

Coney Island Boardwalk Cats Project

The T of TNR: Coney Island Boardwalk Cats Project first rescue trapping. June 8, 2014 Photo © Tricia Vita

The Coney Island Boardwalk Cats Project is just winding up a very successful first week of TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) rescue trapping. Beginning last Sunday, 28 cats were trapped, with 20 sent to the ASPCA’s Glendale facility for spaying and neutering.

“Thank you to everyone who made this possible,” said Josie Marrero, founder of the Coney Island Boardwalk Cats Project. “Drivers, trappers, brain stormers, those very special ladies who helped get the clinic appointment, Wheels of Hope Guides. The cats need us all working together so they can have a chance at a better life! The work is just beginning. We have 15 clinic spots for July. Hopefully, that number will also go up to 24.”

Coney island Boardwalk Cats

This pregnant cat will be fostered and get veterinary care while she has her kittens. June 8, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita

The majority of the cats have now been returned (the R in TNR) to their Boardwalk colonies after a few days of being cared for by CIBC volunteers in donated recovery space in Borough Park. The building, which is a garage, is in the process of being sold and a new recovery space is needed after July for the group to be able to continue their work. (more…)

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Miss Colombia with Carino the Poodle and Rosita the Parrot

Miss Colombia with Carino the Poodle and Rosita the Parrot, Coney Island Boardwalk. August 24, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

On Memorial Day in Coney Island, the colorfully costumed Oswaldo Gomez aka Miss Colombia paraded by and we scurried to take a photo. Rosita the parrot was as usual perched on his head. Where was Carino the poodle? “Carino died,” Oswaldo said. “He was 17.” That’s the equivalent of 84 in human years. The poodle passed away earlier this month.

Carino and Rosita Ride the Steeplechase Horse

Carino and Rosita Ride the Steeplechase Horse at the Coney Island History Project, May 27, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

It was on Memorial Day Weekend in 2008 that we first became aware of Miss Colombia and his pets as a New York City phenom. The Mermaids, a male folk rock duo, were singing in front of the Cyclone when he came by, took the dog out of the carriage, pirouetted around and stole the show. The flamboyant trio have been in every parade in New York City and are the subject of their very own flickr group. You’ve seen them in the Mermaid Parade, the Easter Parade, the Chinese New Year’s Day Parade, the West Indian Day Parade, Gay Pride, and St Pat’s.

Victory dance

Victory Dance after winning 1st Prize at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park’s Pet Day, June 11, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

As regular visitors to the People’s Playground, the dog and the parrot got to “ride” the Steeplechase horse and the antique Whip car at the Coney Island History Project. They won first prize in the first annual Pet Day at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park. Afterwards, Miss Colombia did a victory dance while the parrot perched on Carino’s back, clasping the prize–a season’s pass to the Wonder Wheel– in her beak. Rest in peace, sweet little Carino.

Miss Colombia and Carino in Mermaid Parade

Miss Colombia and Carino in Mermaid Parade, June 20, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

Related Posts on ATZ…

May 22, 2014: Video of the Day: Parrots Visit Coney Island

September 19, 2013: Photo of the Day: Coney Island Parakeets Go for a Walk

June 17, 2013: Photo of the Day: Paquito the Chihuahua in Coney Island

May 8, 2013: Traveler: The Cats of Rimini’s Italia in Miniatura Park

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Parrots Ride Wonder Wheel

Parrots Ride the Wonder Wheel, Coney Island. May 18, 2014. Photo via Facebook.com/SonnyMushy

On Sunday, ATZ chanced to meet these four Brooklyn parrots and their humans boarding Deno’s Wonder Wheel. Ronen, who is seen in the above photo posing with Sonny Mushy, a 12-year-old Amazon parrot, and Sky Mushy, gave us his card: “Exotic Birds — Training and Consultations.” He’s taken his birds to Coney Island before but it was their first time riding the Wheel. “Sky was a bit skittish. Sonny was okay, but all in all it was a good experience for them,” said Ronen, who brings the parrots outdoors to socialize them. “They’re pretty intelligent animals. They have the mind capacity of a five-year-old.”

Ronen and his friends are part of a new group called NYC Parrot Adventures. A video of their Sunday adventure, “Parrots Visit Coney Island,” is posted on YouTube by Michael Sazhin, who writes the Trained Parrot Blog. Sazhin brought Truman, a Cape parrot, and Kili, a Senegal parrot, to Coney Island for their second visit.

Truman made headlines last month when he went missing for 48 hours. The parrot was found in Canarsie, where he’d flown from Bensonhurst, a distance of six miles. In Coney Island, the parrots fly in avian harnesses. “They flew at the beach, ate at Nathan’s, played with loads of people, and took a ride on the historic Wonder Wheel, a Ferris Wheel landmark built in 1920,” Sazhin writes on his blog. “The birds had a fantastic time. Not only did they get sun and fresh air, but also an incredible socialization experience.”

As for parrots riding the Wheel, it’s not unusual to see dogs and other pets riding the stationary cars accompanied by their owners, usually on the park’s annual Pet Day, which is June 14th this year and includes a pet costume contest. In the contest’s first year, one of the winners was Miss Columbia’s parrot Rosita, who clasped the prize-winning season pass to the Wonder Wheel in her beak.

Rosita the Parrot

Rosita the Parrot and Miss Columbia, Pet Day at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, June 11, 2011. Photo via Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park

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Related Posts on ATZ…

January 27, 2014: AC Boardwalk, Disneyland Have Model Programs for Feral Cats–Why Not Coney Island?

September 19, 2013: Photo of the Day: Coney Island Parakeets Go for a Walk

June 17, 2013: Photo of the Day: Paquito the Chihuahua in Coney Island

May 8, 2013: Traveler: The Cats of Rimini’s Italia in Miniatura Park

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Brooklyn Rescue Umbrella

April 27: Brooklyn Rescue Umbrella Adoption Event at Boggie Doggie in Brooklyn

Instead of standing on line for more than two hours to get into a pop-up cat cafe, you can wake up to a cat purring beside your pillow or curled up in your bathroom sink. The cute cat in the above photo is one of several cats available for adoption by Brooklyn Rescue Umbrella on April 27 from 12 noon till 5pm at Boggie Doggie, 76th St and Fifth Avenue, in Brooklyn.

The Coney Island cats include Spice, who was born under the Coney Island Boardwalk last year and rescued as a kitten. BRU founder Josie Marrero describes her as “smart, easygoing and beautiful! (fiv+ so best as an only cat. VERY healthy!) Watch her in motion and you’ll get your own Red Carpet for her.”

Another Coney cat up for adoption was rescued just a few days ago. One of the caretakers of the Coney Island Boardwalk cat colonies found a friendly cat abandoned at Carey Gardens Houses on Surf Avenue. After taking the cat to the vet, Josie learned she is a spayed and micro-chipped female named Clover. “About a year old? Lap cat. Purrs even around dogs. Orange and white tabby. Amazingly cooperative!”

Coney Island Cat up for adoption

Spice was born under the coney Island Boardwalk and rescued as a kitten. Photo by Brooklyn Rescue Umbrella

If you can’t keep a cat in your apartment, consider spending your spare time volunteering with one of New York City’s cat rescue groups. All need help caring for and fostering cats and kittens.

Brooklyn Rescue Umbrella recently launched the Coney Island Boardwalk Cats Project to help the stray and feral cats on the Boardwalk. ATZ has joined the effort and hopes that our readers will too. We will start doing TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) in the next couple of weeks and volunteers are needed to assist. Friendly strays and kittens will need foster homes. Follow CIBC on Facebook or twitter for updates or email ConeyIslandBoardwalkCats[at]gmail[dotcom) for info.

UPDATE April 28, 2014:

Mona, the cat curled up in the sink, was adopted on Sunday. Carey Gardens Clover found a foster home. Spice and several other cats are still waiting for their forever homes.

Coney Island Kittens

Kitten Season: These Coney Island Kittens have already been adopted but more are on the way! Photo by Brooklyn Rescue Umbrella

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Related Posts on ATZ…

April 9, 2014: April 15: Organizational Meeting for Coney Island Boardwalk Cats Project

March 16, 2014: Coney Island Bunny Makes Broadway Debut at Union Square Petco

January 27, 2014: AC Boardwalk, Disneyland Have Model Programs for Feral Cats–Why Not Coney Island?

September 19, 2013: Photo of the Day: Coney Island Parakeets Go for a Walk

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Coney Island Kittens

Coney Island Boardwalk Kittens, September 28, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

Since the dramatic rescue of Coney Island cat Snow Coney in November, we’ve written about model programs to manage feral and stray cats at Disneyland and the Atlantic City Boardwalk and asked – Why not Coney Island? It’s about to be launched.

There will be an organizational meeting on April 15th at 6:30pm at the Coney Island YMCA Community Room located on West 29th Street at Surf Avenue. Hosted by Brooklyn Rescue Umbrella, the purpose is to organize volunteers and support to help the stray and feral cats on the Coney Island Boardwalk. You must register via eventbrite since seating is limited. If you can’t make it on April 15th, follow the project’s new Facebook page or send a note to brooklyn.rescue.umbrella[AT]gmail[DOT]com indicating your interest to be contacted for the next meeting.

You’re invited to an organizational meeting to start a pilot program in Coney Island similar to Alley Cat Allies’ successful Atlantic City Boardwalk Cats Project to care for feral and stray cats. The program would utilize feeding stations, shelters and TNR—Trap Neuter Return – a humane and effective method of feral cat management that stabilizes the size of the colonies and reduces nuisance behaviors.

In Atlantic City, where the city-approved project was started in 2000, Alley Cat Allies Boardwalk Cats draws visitors from all over the country. Disneyland in California also has a managed colony of 200 feral cats who dine at five discreet feeding stations and receive medical care. The bonus for the community is the rodent population is kept under control and calls to public officials about cats are eliminated.

Meeting organizer Josie Marrero will talk about the feral and stray cat population along the Coney Island Boardwalk, where demolition and redevelopment have displaced some colonies and thrown others into crisis. A video of the Atlantic City Boardwalk Cats Project will be screened. A representative of the NYC Feral Cat Initiative, a program of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals committed to solving NYC’s feral cat overpopulation crisis through TNR, will attend to answer questions.

Coney Island Boardwalk Kitty

Coney Island Boardwalk Kitty, September 28, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

Immediate Needs

–Volunteers to assist with trapping, recovery, and transportation. Let us know if you have TNR certification or experience with feral cats or cat rescue.

–A volunteer coordinator as well to help with social media and fundraising. We would like to raise funds via Indiegogo or Kickstarter and also ask local businesses and property owners for support.

–Recovery space is needed for the cats immediately after trapping and post surgery. It should be a safe, quiet space. Male cats may be released after 24 hours, female cats after 48 hours.

–Approval of pilot program, including feeding stations, shelters and TNR, by the Parks Department and other City agencies, and property owners. Over the winter, BRU volunteers put out shelters, straw and food, only to be admonished and the shelters removed.

Coney Island Boardwalk Cats Project – Organizational Meeting hosted by Brooklyn Rescue Umbrella, Coney Island YMCA Community Room, 2980 W 29th St, Brooklyn, NY 11224. Tuesday, April 15, 2014 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

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Related Posts on ATZ…

March 16, 2014: Coney Island Bunny Makes Broadway Debut at Union Square Petco

January 27, 2014: AC Boardwalk, Disneyland Have Model Programs for Feral Cats–Why Not Coney Island?

December 10, 2013: Update on Coney Island Cat ‘Snow Coney’ & His Family

September 19, 2013: Photo of the Day: Coney Island Parakeets Go for a Walk

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Monkey Speedway Car

Antique Circus Monkey Racing Car. Photo by Architectural Anarchy, Chicago via 1st dibs

Coming across this photo of an “Antique Circus Monkey Racing Car” recently sold by Chicago dealer Architectural Anarchy rekindled the curiosity that I felt as a carny kid. My father’s story about how he had a real, live monkey on a trapeze in his popcorn trailer to attract customers in the 1940s began with mention of where he got the idea: a Monkey Speedway! It was at the Patriots’ Day Celebration in Boston. The term was one I’d never heard before because this long popular carnival attraction had by then disappeared from the midways of New England.

Monkey Speedway

Vintage Photo of Monkey Speedway. Photo © Tricia Vita Collection

Right through the 1950s and 60s, carnivals placed ads in the Billboard and then Amusement Business for Monkey Circuses and Speedways as well as managers to run them. “We are interested only in a show man that can and will work hard for a seasons bank roll,” said an ad for King Reid, New England’s largest carnival, in 1946. Carnival supply house H.C. Evans called its Monkey Speedway “The unbeatable carnival attraction! Equal to a free act!” A trio of trained monkeys in little metal cars raced around a wooden track while people placed bets on the laydown of numbers. The prizes were boxes of candy, my father said.

It was the crowd-stopping appeal of the Monkey Speedway that gave Dad the idea to put a monkey act in his popcorn trailer one spring when the show owner changed the location of the merry-go-round, leaving him up in front with no customers. After trying unsuccessfully to buy one of the Speedway monkeys, my father went to Benson’s Wild Animal Farm in New Hampshire, where they had monkeys for sale.

“So they sold me a little rhesus monkey for $15 and they put him in a small wooden cage. I put the cage on the front seat of my truck, and while I was driving back to the carnival, the monkey would look at me and I would look at the monkey, and I don’t know if I was more afraid of him than he was of me.”

Monkey Speedway

Vintage Photo of Monkey Speedway. Photo © Tricia Vita Collection

“After we got back to the lot, the monkey ate a few meals and got to like me. I’d built a small trapeze and fastened it to one of the rafters on the popcorn stand. I tried to train Roebuck to sit on it and swing. It was against the law to keep an animal in a food stand, but I had to take a chance because it was either that or go out of business.”

It took my father three weeks to get Roebuck to sit on the trapeze and swing. And when he did he was surrounded by a crowd of people who bought peanuts and popcorn and candy apples to eat while they watched the free show. “Some kids would do anything to to be near the monkey: They’d bring bananas. They’d throw pennies. And Roebuck would catch quite a few of them.”

When the kids would ask what’s the monkey’s name?” he’d say, “I’m Sears, he’s Roebuck,” and the kids would laugh.

Monkey Speedway, Cetlin & Wilson Shows

Monkey Speedway, Cetlin & Wilson Shows. Photo © International Independent Showmen’s Museum

Though my father bought and sold Roebuck years before I was born, I felt as though the monkey was my long-lost brother. I just knew that he missed the peanuts, popcorn and pennies as much as I did when we stayed from October through April in my grandmother’s house, away from the free-wheeling life of the road.

The Monkey Speedway is one of the long-vanished shows documented in the collection of the International Independent Showmen’s Museum in Gibsonton, Florida. And the tiny race cars, if you’re lucky enough to find one, have entered the realm of folk art.

Monkey Go Round, a German film released in the 1960s by Castle Films, is the fairytale-like story of a troupe of monkeys and their caretaker’s show biz comeback and will give you a glimpse of a Monkey Speedway.

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Related posts on ATZ…

March 16, 2014: Coney Island Bunny Makes Broadway Debut at Union Square Petco

January 27, 2014: AC Boardwalk, Disneyland Have Model Programs for Feral Cats–Why Not Coney Island?

December 31, 2012: Memoirs of a Carny Kid: The Land of Prizes

January 15, 2011: ATZ Saturday Matinee: Shorty at Coney Island

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