Earlier this week a bodega cat named Star became an actual star after a Yelp reviewer called out S.K. Deli Market, in the East Village: “To my dismay there was a cat, perched upon some cases of Budweiser in the middle of the store!!” Um, yeah. They’re called bodega cats, and there’s a whole site dedicated to loving portraits of them. You can even buy pins of them.
Sure, bodega cats can come as a surprise to New York newbs. Sunny Eckerle, who created Brooklyn Bodega Cats in 2014, confesses on her site that when she first moved to the borough, she wondered: “Did all stores have one? Did they live there all the time? Was it legal?” But she didn’t go ratting anyone out on Yelp. Instead she started drawing portraits of these fab felines: “It became my mission not only to find and meet them, but to chat to the bodega owners about them, too. What’s his name? How old is he? Where did you get him?”
When we caught wind that Star had been cat-shamed, we asked Eckerle to dedicate one of her illustrations to this noble guardian of the kombucha. She agreed to cross the river and snap some paw-perazzi photos of Star, and the result is the portrait you see above. Feel free to print it out, head over to S.K. Deli Market, and get Star to sign it. Just, please, if she’s sleeping on a tower of Bud, don’t wake her.