Unemployment may be lower than ever — but that hasn’t stopped a round of layoffs from hitting a group of goats working on the Upper West Side.
The 24 farm animals had been called on last month to tackle an infestation of weeds and poison ivy choking sections of Riverside Park, by eating the offending vegetation.
But the goats have been gorging themselves so quickly that there are not enough weeds to go around. The Riverside Park Conservancy held a reduction in force that lowered the number of goats on patrol to just 18.
“We stood at the top of the hill and the goat farmers did their little goat call and they came running and it was whoever we could catch,” Donna Capossela of the Riverside Park Conservancy said, describing how they chose who would get the ax.
Brothers Max and Ben were fired on Friday, along with Cheech, Chong, Reese and Charlie. Fortunately, the goats have a good unemployment plan — they will live happily at their home in Rhinebeck.
They had been part of the two dozen-strong team of goats that were released in the park on May 21 as an economical way to clear overgrowth in the hilly area.
Officials said that it took about a week to realize that the goats — who have become minor local celebrities — were eating too fast.
Annlilita Cihanek of Green Goats, which owns the animals, said it was typical to reassess and change the number of goats on a project.
She said their goats are employed in 41 parks this summer and have been used to clear many public spaces, including Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.
“They’re dreaming of Manhattan,” she said of her sacked employees. “They go home and hang out until they’re ready to go back out to work.”
Asked if she felt bad about sending the hoovers home, Capossela replied: “I do. Not for them but only because I miss them.”
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