An ode to the feline residents of local shops, The Shop Cats of New York features 40 cats with personality-filled portraits and in-depth bios of many of the pampered creatures.
Author Tamar Arslanian visited shops, mostly in Manhattan and Brooklyn, to meet cats, hear tales of how they arrived at their jobs and understand their contributions to shop and community life. Eleven of the profiled sites are in Brooklyn — where the definition was expanded beyond local businesses to include the many cats of the Pratt campus.
Store owners detail a number of “jobs” undertaken by their furry employees. Ivy (as in I.V.) at Neergard Pharmacy in Park Slope is said to govern with “glam flare and a steady paw” while Jasper at Flickinger Glass in Red Hook clambers onto customers laps as a “bold negotiating technique.”
Arslanian, known for her I Have Cat blog, notes in the introduction her own qualms about cats in New York shops — one reason there aren’t any bodega or grocery cats included. Her opinion about local shop cats changed once she started talking to owners at cat-dominated establishments and saw how well-loved and cared for they were — not just by owners but by their neighborhood fan base as well.
The chosen cats were treated to expressive portraits by photographer Andrew Marttila, obviously experienced in the challenges of shooting quixotic subjects. As Martilla say in his Instagram profile, “I photograph cats for a living. No, seriously.”
A Brooklyn cat dominates the coveted cover shot, Sava of Dream Fishing Tackle in Greenpoint. Sava did not submit to an interview for the book, evidently preferring to maintain an aura of mystery.
You can gaze at the furry stars here.
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