Monday, November 10, 2008

Coney Island, Part 2: Santos fights New York City hall to save his garden for his good cats

I am so exasperated! I have been trying to load these pictures for hours, and now that they are finally loaded (not through my usual Safari Browser, but through Firefox, which is much slower than Safari) I feel too exasperated to write in here. And yet, I need to post this story. So...

As you can see, Santos let me into his Coney Island garden. Buttons, who just happened to be as cute as a button, lept up into the cage of the white tiger. I was frightened for her, but she handled bravely. The white tiger was so impressed with her courage that he stood perfectly still, in admiration and did not harm her at all.

As for Luther, Santos told me that he used to be Lucy, but then one day it was discovered that he has a male organ, and so he became Luther. I am finding that this is a common mistake, which makes me feel better about how our original estimation of the Whole Kitten, Kaboodle.

Santos was born in Puerto Rico, moved to New York 53 years ago and sometime after that, he made this garden in Coney Island. He calls it, "Santos White Garden." Somtime later, he found eight homeless kittens, and so he let them move into the garden. He has had cats there, ever since.

Buttons and Luther. Buttons has two little button eyes, a button nose, and a button butt. That is why she is buttons. Santos did not tell me this, I just deduced it. We Krackers have always been good deducers.

But Santos did tell me how he almost lost the garden to the city of New York. There were folks in the government of that city that did not think that there were enough buildings in New York. They sent some scouts out to find places where they could build more buildings.

Such a scout found Santos' White Gardens.

Soon, Santos received word: his garden had been condemned! All of his little statues, his hanging apes, his various toys, would all have to come down. As for his chickens and ducks, it would be best if he just ate them, as they stood in the way of progress.

His cats, who had always had free roam of the garden, would have to learn how to live indoors only, or maybe be given to someone who lived on a farm.

Look at Tiger! Tiger is the daddy cat to Luther and Buttons. He is old but virile. He never did lay before the surgeon's knife. Look how tough he is! You can see that he is an outdoor cat. And yet, he is a city cat. Not a farm cat.

What would Tiger do, if Santos had to leave his garden, so that some rich person could put up big building in its place, and grow even richer.

But Santos fought for his Tiger! No one was going to take Tiger's home away, just to build a building. And Tiger has a wife, Fuzzy. She needed a home, too. Plus, Santos opens his gates to classrooms of New York school children, who come over to see what a garden is like, and to pet the kitties.

Santos protested in front of city hall. He made signs. He made phone calls.

Santos even got the ear of former Governor Spitzer, before his recreational activities cost him his job. Spitzer was at first in favor of removing gardens for building, but when after Santos educated him, he came around.

A governor really does not have final say in what a city does to the gardens within it, but still he was a good allie to have.

In the end. Santos won. His garden is still there. Schoolchildren still come around. His four cats have a home, with chickens and ducks.

As for Buttons and Luther, I should note that they were only half the litter. Santos gave their two siblings away.

What about Fuzzy, their mother?

Here she comes! This is fuzzy!

Fuzzy comes to Santos.

Santos also plays a blues guitar, down on the boardwalk, in the summer time.

I am too tired to write anymore about it. Just look at the picture, and add your own caption.

Looks to me like they all get along pretty good.

Buttons and Luther.

Luther and Tiger. There's more, but I must go to bed now, so this will have to do.


Daisy said...

Santos sounds like quite a character! I am glad he won and got to keep his garden in the city.

Standtall said...

These cats are beautiful

Standtall said...

I saw two cats in the resort that I am in Cape Town. Check my blog for their pictures

Zippy, Sadie and Speedy said...

This just proves that you CAN fight city hall...what kind of nut thinks it's better to have buildings than gardens. Santo's cats look well cared for.

heidi said...

Lots of great pictures! The cats are really cute. I'm glad the story has a happy ending.

Grahamn Kracker said...

Daisy - Me too. What would I have done, had he not?

Standtall: Veddy beautiful and so are the Cape Town cats.

zss: Right here in Alaska, there are such people.

heidi - Yes, it would have been so sad, had the ending been sad.

Everycat said...

What an inspirational tale. Santos did so well to keep his garden, so many must benefit from it. The cats are beautiful, but we have a very soft spot for Buttons.

Whicky Wuudler

Team Tabby said...

We are glad that Santos fought to keep the lovely garden for the children, the cats and for himself too. Good story you got there.

Mindy, Moe & Bono

Eric and Flynn said...

What a wonderful man Santos is. We have just found your blog and are trying to catch up on it now, and will just leave occasional comments until we are up to date. It's a great blog!