The Red Goats of Kingston

Photo from the Red Goats of Kingston Facebook page.

Dozens of spray-painted red goats have mysteriously appeared on white wooden planters in Kingston's Uptown district -- and, just as mysteriously, someone has been painting numbers on them. The Daily Freeman reports:

Detective Lt. Egidio Tinti, who heads the Detective Division of the Kingston Police Department, said police are questioning people around Uptown about both the goats, which apparently were spray-painted late Monday or early Tuesday, and the numbers, which were added a day later.

People who were vocal in their opposition to the recent renovations of Uptown’s Pike Plan canopies are among those being questioned, Tinti said. Twenty-two planter boxes were installed as part of the Pike Plan project.

Are they art? Vandalism? A cheeky act of protest? Whatever their mission, in the two days they've existed, they've heated up Kingston's simmering anxieties to a boil. Local elected officials are furious:

[Alderman Tom] Hoffay said the graffiti is no different than the gang tags found on the side of some buildings in Kingston.

“Bloods, Crips, goats — it’s all the same,” he said. “If people had graffiti put on their cars, it would be no different. ... There are no adults in the room here.”

According to the Kingston Times, city economic development director Steve Finkle blames the artists of O+, an art and healthcare festival that recently took place in the Uptown district:

“It’s not graffiti tags, it’s a stencil,” said Finkle. “It’s done in a more organized way and it’s in a red color that reminds me of the O+ festival.”

Both Pike Plan opponents and O+ organizers are disavowing any responsibility for the goats.

Meanwhile, the goats have 236 followers (and counting) on a Facebook page devoted to them. (Whether the mystery goat-painter is behind the Facebook page as well, we have no idea.) The Red Goats of Facebook have posted several photos of the ribbon-cutting for the Pike Plan canopy renovations, which went on as scheduled today.

The Freeman's Ivan Lajara, ever the wordsmith, has already dubbed the controversy "The Goatpocalypse of Kingston." And he's assembled a snappy, diverse bunch of comments on the goats, culled from around Kingston's social media scene.