“The air is heavenly up here,” a lady exclaimed delightedly into her phone as she paused her climb up the large granite slabs of Outlook Hill, the 70-foot-tall hill comprising the new highest point of Governors Island. Indeed, with a mild breeze tempering the sun’s otherwise aggressive rays and a spectacular view of downtown Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, I wasn’t too opposed to her declaration.
As a work-resident of Greenpoint, the soundtrack to my daytime life is a near constant wash of brutal jackhammer vibrato and diesel-spewing growls emitted from a stream of trucks. As you might have noticed, the neighborhood, from the edge of Williamsburg to the Pulaski Bridge, is getting seriously tore up by mega-developments like Greenpoint Landing and the expansion of the Brooklyn Greenway.
It’s easy to speak about the consequences of all this change in abstract terms, and harder to know exactly who will be impacted, when, and how. But that’s not really the case when it comes to feral cats like Kool-Aid, a mangy little black-and-white dude who lurks around the neighborhood’s abandoned lots and the in-between spaces. Clearly, his way of life is about to change. As new construction threatens the colony where he and about ten other cats live, their caretakers are scrambling for a way to assert something like squatter’s rights.
We’ve all seen em: the fishers who, poles in hand, sit alongside the East River, gazing forlornly into the putrid, black waters below. Everything in our bones tells us that we’re witnessing something wrong here. The East River? And food? They simply do not compute.