Riverside Park Herd Will Be Thinned as They Gobble the Hill of Weeds; Who Will Win the Game of Goats?


Who will win this reality show??

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.


Larry Cihanek.

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.

ABSURDITY, NEWS, OUTDOORS | 19 comments | permalink
    1. dannyboy says:

      The “Reality-Show Style” iis REALLY the New Upper West Side.

      I’ve even received a request from the Conservancy to vote.

    2. tim says:

      these stories are fun to read WR, much appreciated!

    3. YumYum says:

      To me this is a vivid demonstration of how hard you need to work at chomp-chomp-chomping if you are getting all of your nutrition on a vegetarian diet.

      • dannyboy says:

        As a 50-year vegetarian, I can recommend chomp-chomp-chomping. As my 102 year old vegetarian uncle declared: “Always masticate your food.”

    4. Juan says:

      Which goat will be determined to be the GOAT?

      Here’s an idea we can all rally around – how about Trump gives up his job in Washington and moves back to NY to take a role he is much better suited for – judging the goat herd reduction challenge! “Chalupa – you’re fired!”

    5. jezbe says:

      Of the goats who will be winnowed down – will they be sent to slaughter afterward?
      Not a pleasant thought.
      Also the idea of them eating the poison ivy bothers me. I’m assuming we KNOW that poison ivy toxins will not cause their throats to swell or interact with the lining of their stomachs?

      • Norma says:

        Relax…the goats not needed will return to the farm. Goats are not affected by poison ivy!

        This whole project is wonderful! No pesticides needed;the goats will even be ferlizing the soil.

        Plus…they are so cute and fun to watch!

        • dannyboy says:

          Much like my cat Suki, the goats now bask in the attention and don’t bother working anymore.

    6. Frank Irizarry says:

      Can someone verify that they eat poison ivy? If yes, please send some to us on Fire Island

    7. Janet Wasserman says:

      This is almost as good as Central Park’s Mandarin Duck, No, it’s better! Love it. Keep those nannies and billies on the front pages. I can’t get enough of them.

    8. Louise Clay says:

      It’s such fun to see them communicate– yes they do –with the dogs who bark at them!

    9. Thomas Godfrey says:

      Do they get any time off? You’d think while they’re in the city they would like to catch a Broadway show or concert.

    10. Kim Polson says:

      Goodbye Pizza Rat!

    11. Maria says:

      Thanks for posting the great photos! I tried to get to the goat kick-off but was too late. I think they are doing a great job.

    12. Norma says:

      I am not surprised that they are getting the job done so quickly

      Go goats!

    13. Olafur says:

      So where in the park are they?

      • dannyboy says:

        Riverside Park at Riverside Drive and 120th Street.

        More info in the WSR article that’s linked in this story.