A sprint across the street put me squarely in the middle of an unfolding chase worthy of a white Bronco--but this was a brown cow. Or bull, actually. A rogue bovine, presumably an escapee from a slaughterhouse truck, was loping around one of the soccer fields before a growing crowd.
An armada of police and emergency vehicles was converging on the scene. We were cleared from the field, then told, repeatedly, to move across the street. The local news crews wouldn't budge--it's not every day you see a bull on the loose in Flatbush. "You wanna get hit with a tranquilizer dart?" bawled a cop. (No, actually, I thought, stepping back a bit.) "ACROSS THE STREET, people! Am I speakin' CHINESE?"
Three guys armed with dart guns and a rifle circled the wary beast, and finally a report issued. "Shit, missed it," said a local news cameraman as he struggled to set up his tripod. A soft "whoa!" escaped the crowd.
The bull was finally penned in behind some benches, where his energy barely ebbed. "Yo, cut that fence and free my homie!" yelled a guy in a do-rag. Now the bull's tongue lolled; he sank to his knees, then rallied and tried to crash over the fence. "That's right, don't give up!" said a woman. "You see the strength!"
From further back in the crowd, an activist voice roared frantically: "We have a rescue vehicle from an animal sanctuary 10 minutes away!" "Yeah, don't kill it!" others chimed in.
A lasso was produced, and Number 7741, as his yellow tag proclaimed him, was led stumbling into an NYPD horse trailer. I suspect he was en route to a Kosher slaughterhouse, given the proprietary concern with which a pair of Orthodox guys were conferring with the police brass on scene. An early report from a local blog suggests that poor 7741 will indeed make it to a farm animal sanctuary, a happy fate that has awaited several of our high-profile escapees.
I hope so. While no vegetarian, I confess I winced upon coming home and seeing the "humanely raised" Whole Foods hamburger meat defrosting on my counter.
I saw the strength.
This is NOT the first rodeo, as it were, on the Parade Grounds; read here about the now-forgotten night when the "Cat's Meow" club on Coney Island Avenue burned down, a stable caught fire, and 135 horses stampeded across this very ground!