NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – When the landscaper at Saint Patrick’s Old Cathedral in NoLIta retired four years ago, the Monsignor joked about hiring sheep to replace him. Upon consideration, he thought sheep may not be such a bad idea. The Monsignor turned his joke into reality, summoning the animals the very next day.
“Monsignor decided to bring the sheep in to bring a little tranquility to a city where we’re all under pressure,” says Tour Director Tommy Wilkinson.
Every year since, three sheep have made the journey from upstate New York to the Cathedral, where they spend six weeks mowing urban grasses with their teeth. This year, Huey, Dewey and Louie are chowing down on the grounds.
Saint Patrick’s Old Cathedral is now open for tourism for the first time, and visitors are flocking to see the ovine groundskeepers.
Wilkinson has a word of advice: “Watch your step.”
The sheep wear coats to protect their wool, which will become clothing for humans someday, Wilkinson explains.
“These guys have pretty much stole the show,” Wilkinson says.
The sheep will graze through the month of September before returning home to the Hudson Valley. To meet them, sign up for the Catacombs by Candlelight Tour at tommysnewyork.com.
Saint Patrick’s Old Cathedral
237 Mott Street
New York, NY 10012
Sheep are fascinating animals. Did you know:
- On par with cattle in IQ, sheep are able to recognize the faces of humans, as well as other sheep, and can remember them for years.
- Sheep’s herbivore diets consist of grass and other short roughage.
- Sheep are naturally inclined to follow a leader. Sociable creatures, they can become stressed when separated from other sheep.