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Meet the incredible painted cows in this year’s CowParade!

From NYC-themed cattle to more abstract designs, these are our favorites this year

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver

Have you herd? The CowParade is back!

New York City is playing host to 78 painted fiberglass cows—now through September 30—each of which is uniquely and vibrantly designed by artists such as Cey Adams, Lady Pink and The Love Child, and big names and groups like Neil Patrick Harris, Zac Posen, FIT, Macy's and Moulin Rouge! The Musical!

They can be found in eight "pastures" across the boroughs—Industry City (Brooklyn), Hudson Yards (Manhattan), the New York Hall of Science (Queens), Bronx Community College (Bronx), National Lighthouse Museum (Staten Island), Rockaways Beach (The Rockaways), and Macy’s at 34th Street and Bloomingdale’s at 59th Street. 

CowParade 2021 map
Photograph: courtesy God's Love We Deliver/CowParade

Why cows? According to the event's official website, "the [animal] is universally beloved [and] represents different things to different people. She's sacred, she's historical, she connects us to our past—but the common feeling is one of affection. [...] She makes everyone smile."

Each one weighs approximately 125 pounds before application by the artist and then they're mounted to cement bases the weigh about 400 pounds.

CowParade, which sells the cows at auction to benefit God's Love We Deliver (an organization that cooks and delivers meals for people with serious illnesses), is back after 20 years. The last time it was here, there were about 500 cows on the streets and the auction brought in $1.35 million for six charities, including God’s Love. Oprah Winfrey spent more than $100,000 on three cows, according to The New York Times.

(The highest selling cow is "Wage Moo," a beautiful mosaic of thousands of pieces of Waterford Crystal by designer John Rocha, sold for $146,000 during CowParade Dublin in 2003.)

Unfortunately, that year also saw some thefts, cow tipping and graffiti. 

Since then, CowParade has been held around the world with cows designed by the likes of Kate Spade, John Rocha, Radiohead, Vivienne Westwood and Elio Fiorucci and others for a total of 6,500 cows.

This year's cows are supposed to be "the best we have ever produced," Jerome Elbaum, the founder of CowParade, told the Times. Unlike previous iterations of CowParade, this exhibit was put off a year thanks to the pandemic and scaled down to allow for better art. God's Love We Deliver chose the artists this time, rather than holding an open call.

And, learning lessons from the last time CowParade came to NYC, the statues will be placed in high-trafficked areas so the chance of theft and vandalism is minimized.

It may be difficult to go out in NYC to meet all the cows, so we've rounded up some really a-moo-zing bovine buddies here:

1. "In Transit" by Beatrice Wolert

CowParade In Transit
Photograph: Gustavo Campos

2. "Stay Safe New York" by BG183

Cowparade Stay Safe New York
Photograph: Gustavo Campos

3. "Flora, the Sustainable Cow Planter" by Brian J. McCarthy and Seaport Global

CowParade Flora
Photograph: Gustavo Campos

4. "Harlem Rising" by Dapper Dan of Harlem and Hudson Yards

CowParade Harlem Rising
Photograph: Gustavo Campos

5. "Happy Birthday to Moo" by David Stark and Industry City

CowParade Happy Birthday to Moo
Photograph: Gustavo Campos

6. "I Love Moo York" by Elizabeth Meggs

CowParade I love Moo York
Photograph: Gustavo Campos

7. "Citi of Dreams" by Fernando Romero and the Amazin' Mets Foundation

CowParade Citi of Dreams
Photograph: CowParade Citi of Dreams

8. "Mi Amor" by Hektad

CowParade Mi Amor
Photograph: CowParade Mi Amor

9. "Edison Cow" by Jen Lewin and Industry City

CowParade Edison Cow
Photograph: Jen Lewin Studio

10. "Spread the Butter" by Michael Kaves McLeer and Industry City

Cowparade Spread Butter
Photograph: Gustavo Campos

11. "Lady Moomalade" by Moulin Rouge! The Musical and Hudson Yards

Cowparade Lady Moomalade
Photograph: Gustavo Campos

12. "Dairy-Go-Round" by Neil Patrick Harris and CLEAR

Cowparade Dairy Go Round
Photograph: Gustavo Campos

13. "Frieda Kowlo" by Victor Marka Quinonez

Cowparade Frida Kowlo
Photograph: Cowparade Frida Kowlo

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