8.5 million humans live in New York City—but that's only a fraction of the local population. Millions of other creatures, from flocking pigeons to polar bears, live out their lives in the five boroughs, and their stories are often even more astonishing than our homo sapien tales. Some of those stories, from weird urban legends to real eyewitness reports, make up the pages of Kenneth Goldsmith's massive new book Capital, and a new "digital walking tour" pinpoints exactly where it all went down. Think of it as a guide to NYC's greatest untamed stories; a fauna flaneur look back at the 20th century.

The Lighthouse, Volunteer Accompanying a Blind Woman to the Central Park Zoo. (Courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York)

Horse Show 1899 Madison Square Garden. (Courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York)

With 29 different entries that catalog everything from sharks on Park Avenue to lions-for-hire to stables of goats and cattle inside of Radio City Music Hall, there's a lot to discover. Check it out below.

A few bits from the book:

  • "A clowder of some sixty to seventy semi- wild cats, mostly tiger-topped and white- bellied, prowls the yards and fences back of the chip-faced brownstones on the north side of Fifty-first Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. The block legend is that the cluster never leaves the yards, that it has lived there sixty years or so. All the cats have six claws on each paw. Weird, primitive thing to run into so near Times Square."—The World in a City: Traveling the Globe through the Neighborhoods of the New New York. by Joseph Berger, 2007
  • "At 608 West 48th Street you can rent a lion for $250 a day."—New York: A Serendipiter’s Journey by Gay Talese, 1961
  • "A nine-foot shark was removed that someone left one night on Park Avenue and 150th Street in the Bronx."—The World in a City: Traveling the Globe through the Neighborhoods of the New New York. by Joseph Berger, 2007
  • "And then there is a whole race of pigeon and squirrel feeders, whose generosity stuffs to bursting the gluttons in parks and public places. These scatterers of grain may not all be lonely people, of course, but they give the impression that the pigeons and the squirrels fill a large part of their lives. I never see an elderly lady toting a bag of earnestly collected crumbs and crusts to her part-time pets that I do not reflect on the injustice of the situation. These gentle ladies, feeding the never-satiated birds, make me feel that it would be far better if the situation were reversed. A nice roast pigeon would make a nourishing meal for one of these kind women and I’d be willing to do something about it."—Manhattan and Me by Oriana Atkinson, 1954

    Check out the entire 'Animal NY' online walking tour here.