By Allison Joyce
A few weeks ago, while I was at the Empire Hotel having a drink with friends, a latecomer arrived and laughingly said that on his way, he had passed by a goat hanging out at Lincoln Center. We were incredulous until he showed us a photo he had snapped on his phone and sure enough, there it was, a goat actually hanging out in the Lincoln Center fountain! Within days I read a story on Gawker titled “Amazing Pizza Goat Risks Overexposure,” which stated that the “pizza goat”, aka Cocoa, had dined at Serafina. I thought that this would make an incredible visual “only in New York” sort of story, so I tracked down the goat’s owner, Cyrus Fakroddin, and met them at their home last weekend in Summitt, New Jersey with the Reuters TV crew.
We followed Cyrus and Cocoa around the home they share as Cocoa wandered about, lounged in front of a warm fire, hung out with Cyrus’s pet chickens, and even jumped up onto the kitchen counter to snack on some fresh fruit. Before we headed into the city for the day, we ran an errand at the post office, and when confronted with their “no goats allowed” policy Cyrus simply told them that she was a service goat and that was that– we were in! Walking around downtown Summitt, it was clear that Cyrus and Cocoa were local celebrities; they were greeted many times by their local fans.
After the post office we headed out to Manhattan. We went to Central Park, where Cyrus serenaded Cocoa to sleep by playing his harmonica. We then hopped on the subway to go to Little Italy for lunch at an outdoor cafe, finally ending the night in Times Square, where Cocoa followed Cyrus into Forever 21 to browse. They were quickly escorted out by a laughing security guard. After their shopping excursion, Cyrus put Cocoa down for another nap under the glowing lights of the square.
Walking around the city with Cocoa, I felt as if I was with Angelina Jolie because Cyrus couldn’t go half a block without being stopped by at least 5 people wanting to pet Cocoa or take a photo with her. He told me that he doesn’t do this for publicity or any other reason. He just loves Cocoa and truly enjoys making people smile.
It is said that New Yorkers are rather jaded; most of the time we ignore what is going around us, putting our heads down, going into tunnel vision mode when we’re walking around the city, but on that Saturday with Cocoa, as we walked around with her, people came alive! They came out of their shells, laughed, took pictures, and chatted with each other. I mean, who isn’t going to smile when they see a goat in a pink bejeweled collar walking around Times Square on a Saturday night?