7. Pattycake the Gorilla

Pattycake, one of NYC's famous animals
Image via Wikimedia: GothEric

“New York City’s most famous gorilla,” Pattycake, was born in the Central Park Zoo, home to many of NYC’s famous animals, in September 1972. As the first gorilla born in New York, Pattycake’s anticipated birth brought thousands of visitors to the zoo, where she spent the first decade of her life. She was regarded as a “child star” during the early 1970s, serving as one of the city’s most popular attractions. Her level of fame was even compared to that of Shirley Temple.

In 1992, following an incident in which her mother accidentally broke her arm, Pattycake was permanently moved to the Bronx Zoo. Unfortunately, she suffered from chronic heart disease and arthritis and eventually passed away in 2013, at the age of 40. Her legacy is forever memorialized in two books: Gorilla Baby: The Story of Pattycake and Gentle Gorilla: The Story of Pattycake.