By Katarina Hybenova

“Mayor of Bushwick!” said Robert, a resident of Palmetto Street for 30 years now. His friendly wife Lenette corrected him laughing “Mayor of this block maybe.”

Everybody in Bushwick knows Robert and he knows everybody. It was a sunny Sunday afternoon in Bushwick, and a merry company was resting on a stoop chatting about life and a 12-day old snow white husky puppy. Robert is not only an unofficial mayor of Bushwick but also a big animal lover. Four husky puppies with blue eyes were just born in his railroad apartment and increased the number of his dogs to nine… “But the puppies are all spoken for,” said Robert proudly. 


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“In the summer we keep the dogs in the bedroom with the air-conditioner on,” explained Robert holding another husky puppy in his hand. Meryl Meisler and I gladly accepted an invitation to visit Robet’s and Lenette’s apartment, and meet the rest his animals. Meryl and I were on a Bushwick street photo walk and we couldn’t hope for more interesting twist of circumstances. Robert’s apartment was full but clean. Interesting artefacts and books were holding their places on the shelves. “When you burn an incese, the smoke comes out of his throat,” said Lenette smiling when she noticed me looking curiously at a dragon sculpture.  Grandmother husky Julia was insisting on being petted while Lenette was dedicating her attention to the only dog of a different breed than Husky, a cute little one-eyed Maltese. “$3,000 we had to pay to save this little cutie,” said Robert regarding the missing eye.

No doubt that Robert and his family love animals. In a big cage he keeps a baby falcon that he found on a street with injured wing after a bicycle accident. “I am taking care of him until his wing gets better,” said Robert. “He is friendly and that’s good,” Robert added smiling.

The unexpected zoo tour ended with a quick visit to the turtles in the bathroom…