First they appeared on the streets of Zurich, then it was Chicago. Now it’s the turn of New York to be the summer pasture for hundreds of cows. The biggest herd will be put out to graze around Manhattan.
Not real cows, but life-size fibreglass bovines whose hides have been painted and decorated by local artists. As in Zurich - where the idea originated in 1998 - each cow is sponsored and eventually auctioned for a variety of good causes.
In New York the beneficiaries will be selected charities for children, the arts and education. The Parks Department Foundation will also receive part of the proceeds.
Last year in Chicago it was estimated that some 10 million extra tourists were attracted by the city’s temporary bovine residents - 10 times more than expected. This generated some $500 million of income, and a further $3.5 million were raised for charity at the subsequent auction.
"In Zurich and Chicago, the Cow Parade became one of the most successful artistic and civic projects ever seen," says Jerome Elbaum, president of the company organising the New York - or Moo York - event, Cow Parade Holdings. "People quite simply fell in love with the cows."
Originally, the New York cows were to have been Swiss, but the idea was dropped because they were considered by American officials to be a fire risk, so the sculptures are all US-made.
by Richard Dawson