Stuff happenin' in Prospect Park this spring: The "minds behind Smorgasborg and Brooklyn Flea," those uber-drivers of all things hipster and gentrified, are bringing a crafts market ("curated," of course) to Grand Army Plaza, according to the Prospect Park Alliance: "Beginning Sunday, May 8, and continuing every Sunday through October, Grand Army Plaza will host a variety of local artisans, makers and designers." Hey, don't overlook the delightful little free-range Saturday artisans' market that has spontaneously generated near the Greenmarket, which I profiled here (the faces and offerings have changed but there are always a few nice booths worth looking at).
And then...there are going to be goats.
Yes, goats. Again, the Alliance:
"Throughout the Park, storms like Hurricane Sandy have felled or damaged over 500 trees, enabling invasive plants to thrive and further harm the natural ecosystem. In the Park's Northeast Perimeter, where over 50 trees were damaged or destroyed, goats will be working alongside Prospect Park Alliance staff to restore the woodlands. The goats will eat these invasive weeds so that the Alliance can plant new native trees and plants next spring to beautify the landscape and bolster natural habitat for birds, and ensure the Park is more resilient against future storms."
According to this account in today's New York Times, the eight goats (from goat-deployment experts Green Goats have been hired by the Alliance for the season for $15,000 to feast away on pesky vegetation like poison ivy, which they relish, in the Vale of Cashmere. (Will that make them Cashmere goats? Just a little goat-herding humor there.) That per-goat salary is more than my honor student is likely to make on a summer job; maybe I should teach her to munch invasive plants.
No one seems to have addressed the potential peril to urban goats, even in an "enclosure"; I fear for their misuse for meat or even intimate companionship in this notoriously secluded locale. (They have done their weed-whacking thing in Liberty State Park, but this appears to be their Brooklyn debut.) The park, however, does have a robust history of ruminants, including the Long Meadow's herd of sheep (said to have had an excess of Brooklyn attitude). I wish our Brooklyn goats much luck, hope to meet them at a wool-centric "Bleat and Greet" event on May 22, and look forward to bringing you more news of their progress against botanical entropy.
All kidding aside, these Green Goat folks, from the Rhinebeck/Red Hook area, are tough and tender-hearted innovators, whose herd was tragically lost in a barn fire last year; I'm happy to know Brooklyn will be a part of their resurgence: