Streetfilms: The Search for the Zozo

As New York history buffs can tell you, until the early part of the 20th century, the city was prime habitat for Zozos — large, furry, innocent
purple creatures that freely roamed the streets, mingling with people and enjoying the public realm.
But after the advent of the automobile their numbers slowly dwindled. By the 1930s, sightings became rare and they were thought to have gone

Now, thanks to a burgeoning livable streets movement and a marked improvement in the city’s public spaces,
Zozo sightings are again being reported. World-renowned crypto-zoologist
Donald Druthers convinced Streetfilms to document the facts — and yes, we now believe that Zozos could be making a comeback! See the evidence for

Presenting our long-awaited mockumentary "The Search for the Zozo," featuring many of New York’s livable streets luminaries. You’ll hear urban historian Kenneth T. Jackson of Columbia University describe the Zozo’s storied past. You’ll get the lowdown on Zozo sightings and Zozo-inspired stories from Colin
"No Impact Man" Beavan, restaurateur Florent Morellet, livable streets advocate Mary Beth Kelly, author Tom Vanderbilt, and a slew of others working to make streets safer and more livable.

And if you see a Zozo? Let us know in comments, or dial 555-ZOZO. You can also check out our website WhereistheZozo? for the latest in sightings and news.

  • Mike


  • Albert

    I loved it.

  • Ken

    The Zozo was last seen on Central Park’s loop road in 1899, the first year cars were allowed there. But I’ve heard a few intrepid ones come out during the one-week Marathon closure, only to flee back into the Rambles again for another year.

  • It’s no coincidence that “by the 1930s, [Zozo] sightings became rare,” since it was in 1930 that the City of New York, in order to move more cars more quickly, decided to make Brooklyn’s 8th Avenue one-way.

  • One possible explanation for their precipitous decline post-WW2 was the loss of their natural breeding grounds: the streetcar barn.

  • Mike

    The Rambles? Really? I had no idea that Zozo was gay. Although I guess maybe the purple fuzz should have given it away.

  • Erwin

    Good editing!

  • gecko

    Would be nice to see street signs/art marking the latest Zozo sightings and meanderings of these wonderful creatures.

    Absolutely charming film quite suitable for submission to the Academy!

  • gecko

    . . . although, as word gets out George Haikalis may require some sort of protection from the resultant hordes of adoring fans.

  • Gecko,

    I agree. George deserves Best Supporting Actor! Although it seems that from all the personal emails and comments people love our actor as the Auto Lobbyist. Look for her own personal vignette in the very near future.

    Who would people nominate and for what awards in the Zozo? Everyone was so good!

  • At first I thought the whole thing was an elaborate joke, but when I saw Kenneth Jackson, Andy Wiley-Schwartz and George Haikalis, I knew it had to be real.

  • The SUV lobbyist was brilliantly played. Yep, ZOZOs should to to WY,,,,uh, I don’t think with those fast roads they’d last long. Of course, I don’t think they’d go there – no children to play with on the streets…

  • gecko

    I think people should look more closely how George runs across the street in sheer terror. That will change a lot of minds.

  • Clarence

    George’s is a highly nuanced performance.

  • gecko

    Such fun stuff! You’ve really found your calling. Cheers!

    And of course, the SUV lobbyist comes off as a real pro (actress/comedian) as does the whole production.


Livable Streets Initiative Spring Event: You’re Invited!

Friends, readers, commenters: Please join us tomorrow evening for a celebration of three years of Streetsblog and Streetfilms, the launch of our new Livable Streets Education program and the ongoing search for the mysterious Zozo. There will be cocktails and entertainment. Livable Streets Initiative Spring EventWednesday, April 29, 2009 6:30-8:30pmPowerhouse Arena37 Main Street, Brooklyn, NY […]

Streetfilms: Meet Veronica Moss, A.U.T.O. Lobbyist

Ever wonder what folks working for sustainable transportation at the federal level are up against on K Street? For this Streetfilms exclusive, we were granted unfettered access to Veronica Moss, lobbyist for the Automobile Users Trade Organization (AUTO). Veronica gave us a few precious moments inside her SUV to talk about roads, traffic, cyclists, and […]