The Cow Parade ran in New York City from August 18 through September 30, 2021. There were no real cows – but rather artistic cow statutes. The parade was brought to the City by God’s Love We Deliver, and it placed cow statues in all five New York City boroughs. You can read about the event here. When I heard about the event, I very vaguely remembered it having occurred in the city in 2000. My friend was on a mission to see as many of the cows as she could, and I joined her for one leg of the cow journey on September 26, 2021. I came away with numerous cow parade photos and some bad blisters on two of my toes. Below, you will find my photos and some anecdotes.
The Course of My Journey
You will find a copy of the official New York City Cow Parade “Pasture Map” here. My friend had already been to most of the Cow Parade locations, so we went to see Pastures 2 and 3 on the map, representing Bloomingdale’s on 59th Street in Manhattan and Macy’s Herald Square, also in Manhattan.
I met my friend around City Hall in lower Manhattan. To get to City Hall, I crossed the Brooklyn Bridge by foot. We then walked to both locations and then back. My friend took the ferry from lower Manhattan. I walked back whence I came – across the Brooklyn Bridge.
I had an app called Trackbook running on my phone for the whole walk. According to Trackbook, I walked 51.62 miles in 9.4 hours. Wow! Walk? I must have been running.
What is strange is that Trackbook does show the correct route. I wonder what happened with the mileage.
Because it is unlikely that I walked 51 miles, I used map software to perform general estimate by stringing together the distance between landmarks – which I compared to the Open Street Maps map to check for accuracy. It appears that my actual distance was 14-15 miles over nine hours and change.
Not my best, but I will take it. I felt great the whole way. Moreover, I made the walk on a single bowl of oatmeal and tea for breakfast, with a cold Tea’s Tea at around the 60-percent mark. There may have been some delayed issues – however.
But firs, let us look at some cow phots.
The Big Brown Cow at Bloomingdale’s
I must confess that I was never entirely sure what Bloomingdale’s was or what it sells. When I studied the map, I discovered that there is apparently more than one. Go figure. In any event, the cows were at the Lexington Avenue-59th Street Bloomingdale’s. On top of one of the awnings was a Big Brown Cow:
I was told that this was a play on some trendy something-or-other about Little Brown Bags. I think I have seen those shopping bags before. But I could not tell you what is in them. Popular culture is not my deal – that will be a trend in this article.
Despite my lack of contextual knowledge, I can tell this is a clever display. Note that the big brown cow is wearing a little brown bag from its very fancy collar, choker, necklace, or some fashion thing that I do not know. I see what they just did there. They did not sneak that past the radar (or I should say they did not because my friend noted the brown bag). The big brown cow also wears sunglasses. Very stylish.
The Fancy Silver Baccarat Cow at Bloomingdale’s
My friend and I went inside Bloomingdale’s. Going in, my best guess was that Bloomingdale’s was some kind of clothing store or brand, something to that effect. To be honest, I am still not entirely sure what it is – but it seemed to have other brands in there – so let us go with fancy department store.
I wrote an article once about women’s fashion, by the way.
But I digress.
We were greeted almost immediately after entering by a very fancy silver cow.
I did not notice that the fancy silver cow also represented a brand until I looked at my photos. The brand appears to be Baccarat, which I am told is a French company that produces fine crystal. They also have a very fine silver cow representative. I dare say of the three cows I met on September 26, 2021, the Baccarat cow in Bloomingdale’s was the fanciest.
The Cow Parade Comes Home at Macy’s
My friend and I spent about 15 minutes walking around Bloomingdale’s to ascertain whether there were more cows in the vicinity. There were none. We felt at home though. I dare say I never felt like I fit in better in any place in my life than at that Bloomingdale’s. Well maybe I would have really felt at home, but no one paid us any mind. Did the staff at those fancy department stores determine that we were not going to buy anything?
That stings just a little
I wrote a second article about women’s fashion, by the way.
But I digress.
We headed for the Macy’s in Herald Square. That was great timing – I published a bit of Herald Square history just over a week earlier.
Unlike Bloomingdale’s, I am familiar with Macy’s. I went to a Brooklyn Macy’s many times when I was younger. That Macy’s was far less clean and fancy than the Herald Square edition. But for whatever it is worth, Macy’s is way too busy. Too much going on there.
One of the things that was going on just enough was a Macy’s cow.
Is that cow floating?
Cow Parade. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Cow balloon statute. I see what they did there. Credit where it is due. The Macy’s Cow Parade cow was very clever.
We walked around Macy’s a bit but found no further cows. It is as if these fancy Manhattan Department Stores are loath to sacrifice too much floor space to cow statues. It is as if. But that could not be.
Foregoing Hudson Yards
My friend had been to Hudson Yards (Pasture One) the day before and had not seen all the cows there. In the end, she decided she could not stomach Hudson Yards two days in a row – which the authorities that be assure me is an economically disadvantaged area.
We did stop by Penn Station so my friend could purchase a drink. Now, unlike Hudson Yards, Penn Station may not be an “economically disadvantaged area” (read: fraudulent designation to allow foreigners, mostly from China, to purchase permanent residency in the United States), but it sure looks fourth world. Whoever designed the interior of that dreadful facility did so to crush the human spirit. That is the only explanation.
The Aftermath and Conclusion
After the Penn Station stop, I walked with my friend to one of the ferry terminals and then proceeded back home across the Brooklyn Bridge. The final Bridge crossing was full of tourists taking pictures of their posteriors against the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline. Fortunately, New York City nuked the bike lane on the Bridge, doubling the width of the pedestrian path. It is no longer intolerable to cross the Bridge through throngs of self-involved tourists while dodging speeding two-wheeled vehicles. Only very unpleasant.
When there was a bike lane, I would compare crossing the Bridge on a late weekend afternoon in nice weather to Times Square (that is a mild exaggeration – nothing is as bad as Times Square). Without the bike lane, it advanced to Penn Station level (but with air and a better view).
It was probably more pleasant in 1895.
I felt good when I arrived home, but noticed that I had blisters on one toe on each foot. I walked through it for a week, but by Friday evening (October 1) they took over the bottom of my toes. I put off recovering from the journey for a week.
But fear not – I am just about ready to return to Bloomingdale’s and figure out what is going on there.
(Aside: Did they miss an opportunity to go for Mooingdale’s? Does Bloomingdale’s have too much pride to go for puns? We may never know.)