Tarzan, R.I.P.


Tarzan, a beloved neighborhood pit bull who was a fixture around Tompkins Square Park and Avenue A, died last month. He was 11 1/2 and was put down because of cancer. The offspring of Jag, a red-nosed pit who was in town from San Francisco, and Sasha, he was conceived one night behind the pool table at Sophie’s bar. His owner, Stanley Sydorowitz, grew up in the neighborhood, son of a Ukrainian father and Russian mother. Sydorowitz’s mother was killed in 1981 by a drunk driver at Sixth St. and Avenue A. He’s also known by his East Village nickname, “Cowboy,” because he used to like wearing western gear. Right before he died, Tarzan fathered a litter of nine puppies with a female pit bull down the block who belongs to a nighttime taxi dispatcher. Sydorowitz has his eye on one of the pups that is the spitting image of Tarzan, but said it will be tricky to sneak him into his rent-stabilized apartment. “Even when I didn’t have a girlfriend — at least I had him,” he said of Tarzan.

Villager photos by Bob Arihood