Short-ish version of the “long story”: I used to live in a building complex in Astoria, Queens. There were feral cats; three of them were rescued by us as kittens and we kept them. More kittens found other homes; the adults were TNR’d (trapped, neutered, and returned). So of course I became the cat lady of the complex (or one of them at least) and whenever there was a cat issue I’d hear about it.
I’d moved away almost a year before but was still in touch with one of the people who feeds the colony. She called to say that someone who lived in the complex was trying to “get rid” of a cat. Meaning, the cat was being put out on the fire escape at night and was terrified. There’s more to it than that, but basically Miss Hiss was in a home that didn’t want her and really didn’t know how to take care of a cat. We’re not quite sure what she’d been through in her first year-and-a-half of life, but it hadn’t left her well-adjusted, to say the least. She was afraid of female voices, hands, and feet. She liked Doug if I wasn’t around; once she became scared she’d swipe and growl and hiss and we couldn’t get near her. When she was feeling sweet, she’d rub up against his legs and let him pet her. I was lucky if I could walk by without having my feet attacked.
Jersey City has a fair amount of small, single-family rowhouses, in just about every neighborhood. With the budget we had, we knew we wouldn’t be looking at anything that didn’t need some work… but the first bunch of houses we looked at really needed help.
The house that had no kitchen had been in foreclosure the previous year and said it was bank-owned–we think whoever owned it took everything out that they could before they had to leave. It was the cheapest of the bunch but of course needed the most work. The house in the Heights has since been sold and torn down; a large two-family house with parking is going up in its place. There had been a good sized (if overgrown) backyard which has now been devoured by the house. The house in Lafayette was actually a two-family home (the ground floor was a studio apartment), but the renovations were so bad it was hard to swallow how much profit the owner was trying to make off of it–they wanted more than twice what they’d paid for it the year before. The place with the wood paneling had once been the same layout as the other Bergen Hill house, but the rooms had been divided into tiny, dark, closet-like spaces. The people that were renting there didn’t want to move and were obviously upset that it was for sale.
The tiny text reads, “It’s hard to come up with cat names after a while…”
The 1781 shoreline is from a map by John Hills, from the Library of Congress Digital Collections; see it here.
This was partially posted a while back but not finished–it’ll post a page each weekday until it’s done.
Gowanus originally appeared on The Daily Crosshatch back in 2007.
Gramercy Park is an eight-page comic I drew in 2006–it was living elsewhere on the site up until now.
Bat Conservation International: White-Nose Syndrome
Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ: White Nose Syndrome Research
Reference for the fourth panel was found in John Reuben Chapin’s “Artist-Life In The Highlands Of New Jersey” which ran in the April 1860 edition of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine. A copy of the article can be seen at mindat.org: http://www.mindat.org/article.php/206/An+Artist’s+View+of+the+New+Jersey+Iron+Mines+in+1860
I’ve drawn little brown bats here, because mainly little brown bats have been observed in Hibernia, but the federally endangered Indiana bat also uses the mines, as well as eastern pipistrelles and big brown bats. Rick Dutko’s article from fall 1994 in BATS Magazine gives history and information on conservation efforts at the Hibernia Mines: http://www.batcon.org/index.php/resources/media-education/bats-magazine/bat_article/654
WIRED recently ran a story about White-Nose Syndrome and the devastation it has brought to bats in the U.S.: http://www.wired.com/2014/08/bats-white-nose-syndrome-uv-light/
Some bird drawings here.
Here’s another beer label… this one with cats.
Haven’t been doing much drawing lately… here’s a beer label for a homebrewed I.P.A. The bridge is named HX and crosses the Hackensack River between Secaucus and East Rutherford, NJ.
Another one from Bridgeport… This place was built in 1915-16 as a Remington Arms Company factory for manufacturing World War I munitions. General Electric took it over in 1920 and used it up until 2007, when it closed for good.