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Riverside Park goat Massey named the G.O.A.T. in medal ceremony

Massey, a 10-year-old female goat, wins the 1st

Massey, a 10-year-old female goat, wins the 1st annual G.O.A.T award from the Riverside Park Conservancy, on Thursday. She is part of a herd of goats who have spent the summer ridding the park of invasive plants. Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

The real G.O.A.T of Gotham has been named.

Massey, a 10-year-old female goat, took the title at a ceremony at Riverside Park on Thursday to mark the end of the park's "Vote the G.O.A.T" campaign, which asked people to choose their favorite resident goats this summer. More than 3,000 votes were tallied, the Conservancy says.

More than 100 fans, elected officials and photographers welcomed the top five furry favorites and awarded the number one vote-getter, Massey, with a trophy (yes, that's right), a medal and a bouquet of weeds.

The eating performance of each goat — Bella or "Nanny," Buckles, Chalupa, Skittles and Massey — was officially "certified" by George Shea of Major League Eating. Shea officiated this year's Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Competition in Coney Island. 

Massey, who weighs 166 pounds and ate 1,328 pounds of vegetation during her time at the park, garnered 415 votes.

"Massey is a triple threat — stomach capacity, raw strength and tongue flexibility," said Dan Garodnick, the former city council member, and the conservancy's CEO and president. "Despite her age, she is a wild card and prone to moments of furious eating." 

All of the original 24 goats that were introduced to the park in May as part of the conservancy's "Goatham City" initiative to clear invasive plants had their own humorous biographies and "headshots" on the park's website, where votes could be cast

Massey's bio says she listens to Edith Piaf, loves to spend her time off at the hoof salon, and that "her honesty can come off as brutal at times — she holds high expectations for the other goats to be their best, and is quick to call them out if they’re acting foolish."

All of the goats did such a good job clearing away the invasive plants — poison ivy, porcelain berry, multifloral rose, bittersweet, wineberry, and lesser celandine — across 2 acres, between 119th and 123rd streets, that they were permitted to take a vacation and go home to Green Goats Farm in Rhinebeck.

"They were so successful that we gave them a break midsummer to allow some of the plants to grow back," Garodnick said. "Our long term goal is to eliminate them completely, but the way to do that is to allow some regrowth and attack them again."

The whole program started with the "running of the goats" on May 21, when two dozen goats were brought in to eliminate the invasives — a job difficult for gardeners to do on the steep slopes of the park. 

"It was a challenge that called for goats," he said.

The vote and celebration? Well, that's the conservancy making "a bit of a fuss," he chuckled. 

"One of us had a fun thought and we decided to run with it," he said. "Mostly it was just a way to raise the profile of the project and the park. … and educate the public about what we do."

The top four goats that came back from the farm will remain until the end of the summer and can be seen near the northernmost point of the park next to Riverside Drive.

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