Volume 78, Number 52 | June 3 - 9, 2009

West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933


Pretty Boy, the Mayor of E. 7th, is mourned; He was one cool cat

By Albert Amateau

It has been said that a person whose daily routine is predictable is a person of great character. The story goes that neighbors of the 18th-century philosopher Emanuel Kant in Königs-berg, East Prussia, would set their watches by his comings and goings. Down in the East Village, residents and people whose business brought them to Seventh St. between Avenue A and First Ave. had their own lodestar, a white cat named Pretty Boy who walked the south side of the street for more than 20 years.

Pretty Boy died on Tues., May 19, leaving a small hollowness for those who had felt his inescapable presence.

It’s impossible to say who owned Pretty Boy. The white cat walked into Mikey’s Pet Supply store at 130 E. Seventh St. in 1988 and made it his home base on the block, where the cat became known as The Mayor of Seventh St.

Michael Diaz, operator of Mikey’s Pet Supply for the past several years, said Pretty Boy slept at the store but hung out mostly at Salon Seven, the hair salon at 110 E. Seventh St. run by Mark Dolengawski.

“Pretty Boy loved Mark, that’s where he spent the most time,” said Diaz. “Sometimes he walked over to 7A, the restaurant at the end of the block in the evening and would sit in the sidewalk cafe watching people eat. Some of the customers at 7A loved him but some did not,” Diaz said.

At Salon Seven, there were a couple of photos of the white cat on a shelf last week and a vase of more than a dozen creamy white tulips. A 6-year-old girl who lives next door had been bringing fresh white tulips to the salon since Pretty Boy died the week before.

“She liked Pretty Boy so much she went out on Halloween like Pretty Boy all in white,” Dolengawski said.

He recalled that Pretty Boy was a great favorite of supers on the block who worked out of a basement office and watched the cat walk by.

“One of them said, ‘I wish I had a cool walk like that.’ It really was a cool walk, especially as he got older, it was a Zen-like stroll. It was so serene. I like to think of him as my sensei — my Zen master. I hope to be as cool and serene as that when I get old,” said Dolengawski, who is 55.

Amy Gross, owner of two cats and until last week a resident of the block, learned of Pretty Boy’s passing several days after the death when Diaz told her about it.

“He told me that Herbie, the other cat in the store, had stopped eating for a few days,” Gross said. She recalled that a few years ago a member of a crew filming on Avenue A asked her about “that white cat that walks around like he owned the place.” She told him the cat was the mayor of the block.

When Pretty Boy first came to the block, Dolengawski recalled, they took him to the vet for a checkup.

“The vet said he was between 1 and 1 years old. That would make 22 or 23 years old when he died,” Dolengawski said.

“We’re getting his ashes from the vet sometime this week,” Dolengawski said. “We might scatter them on the block where everyone knew him. I think he was a karmic blessing, he came in here and made everyone feel good.”

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