RIDGEWOOD — The rescue of a litter of kittens on Monday marked the end for a 50-year-old local watering hole.
The Windjammer, at Bleecker Street and Grandview Avenue, will close Tuesday, but not before regulars had a chance to gather again and come to the rescue of some felines in need.
Local resident Jennifer Roth, 38, first found four of the kittens near the bar last week while walking her dog, she said.
"He put his snout down, and I looked down there, and there was the mom feeding the litter of kittens,” Roth said. “The cat got startled and she ran out."
Roth quickly went home and got a bowl of food and some water and placed them next to the kittens.
She returned to check on them and found the mother was still missing, but three of the kittens were there.
“I kept waiting for the mother to come back, and after 10 hours, I couldn't leave them there in the cold," Roth said.
The stay-at-home mom has been nursing the kittens back to health, bottle-feeding them every two hours.
Their eyes are still closed and they cannot walk, but they are able to squeak and crawl around, Roth said.
On Monday afternoon, regulars gathered in the bar, with the kittens and beer in hand, to mark the pub's last days and to help find homes for the newborns.
"It's a family bar,” said bartender Carol Ostrinsky, 56. “Everybody knows each other."
The kittens' eyes were still closed and they cannot walk, but they were able to squeak and crawl around, Roth said.
Scrap metal worker John Stieci, 47, held one of the kittens against his black-leather vest before deciding to adopt it. He said it would be a gift to his girlfriend’s mother.
"It's amazing how many people gave them homes," Nielsen said. "It's great."
Earlier in the day, garbage man on his rounds near the bar Monday afternoon made an unexpected pick-up after another of the kittens were rescued by some firefighter from the basement window grate of the bar.
The worker, identified only as "Sebastian" by his coworkers at Mr. T Carting, a private trash removal company, took the orange-haired kitten back to his office.
"Its eyes were closed. It was on its back,” said Firefighter Steven Delarosa of Ladder Company 140, who helped pry the gate open. "It's pretty wild, because it was crying really loud."
Sebastian volunteered to take the kitten back to his office, and bar manager Donna Nielsen, 54, offered him a basket to help carry the cat.
“It was adorable to see this man carting away a dumpster with a kitten in a basket," Nielsen said.
Mr. T employee Kerry Nahrwold, the self-proclaimed "cat lady of the office," took the cat to North Shore Animal League, where officials said it would be just fine.