By Lisa Kava
After a boisterous welcoming party on Tuesday, the work began for 24 Hudson Valley goats trucked to New York City. In fact, they’re so good at their job, it’s likely that not all the goats will be needed for the full summer. The owners could not predict which goats will stay, though the Riverside Park Conservancy has turned each of them into mini-celebrities, so maybe they’ll do it reality-show style? Carmella? Chalupa? Cheech and/or Chong?
“The goats are already within the first few minutes making real progress” said Dan Garodnick, the President and CEO of Riverside Parks Conservancy, told West Side Rag at the welcoming ceremony. “This was the idea of the horticultural team of the Conservancy which saw a complicated area of the park that had very steep slopes and was overrun with invasive plants and a lot of poison ivy. They felt that the best and most effective away to deal with that challenge was to bring in goats. I thought it was a fabulous idea.”
The goats have not been alone.
Riverside Parks Conservancy staff, Columbia University Public Safety and the NYPD will all be ensuring their safety, Garodnick said. Two structures will be installed for the goats to sleep in if they choose to but according to the Parks Conservancy staff the goats may very likely choose to sleep outdoors.
Goat farmers Larry and Ann Cihanek have owned their farm www.green-goats.com in Upstate NY for 14 years. Larry told West Side Rag that they have brought their goats to 6 states but that this is the first time they have brought the goats to Manhattan. “The goats are so excited,” said Larry. “They can’t wait for their new job.” The goats will eat wild rose and anything with thorns he explained. Green Goats is a farm full of exclusively donated goats who otherwise would have ended up in the meat market, according to Larry. “Riverside Park feels to these goats as if they are on the farm,” said Ann. “They are leaps ahead of many goats, they are living the dream!” Larry and Ann will be visiting the goats in the park twice a week throughout the summer.
The goats will be roaming/working in Riverside Park until August 30th. However, of the 24 goats who arrived this week, only 4-6 lucky goats will remain at the job full time. The full herd will stick around for at least 30 days, a conservancy spokesperson said. Ann Cihanek said she did not know exactly when the “herd reduction” will take place, but she expects that not all 24 goats will be needed for the whole summer to eat the invasive plants. “It depends on how fast they eat,” she said. Which goats will remain for the duration of the summer? “We will have to see, we will have to take a vote,” answered Ann.