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Union Square Park

The Daily Plant : Friday, December 13, 2002


"Do have a cow, man." That was the message last Sunday when the Historic House Trust brought 40 cows to the auction block in Union Square Park. These weren't ordinary cows, mind you. No, these heifers were special, like Helios' herd in the Odyssey or the cows that make chocolate milk. These were 40 of the 500 cow statues last seen grazing in all five boroughs as part of New York City's CowParade 2000. On Sunday, December 8, 2002, New Yorkers got one last chance to take home their own unique cow in a public auction that benefited the Historic House Trust (HHT). HHT Chair Deborah Krulewitch, HHT Executive Director Therese Braddick Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe gathered together at the north end of the park to welcome visitors to the auction.

Speaking before the live auction, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Benepe—who wore a cowboy hat—was never short of cow jokes. "This is your last chance to get your hands on an original CowParade cow, so the steaks are high," Commissioner Benepe said.

Historic House Trust Chair Krulewitch—donning a cowgirl hat—offered her appreciation to the many people who bid (and who had yet to bid) on the cows. "The work of the Historic House Trust enhances busy urban neighborhoods and teaches schoolchildren about New York City history," said Krulewitch. "In this holiday season, there's no better way to celebrate New York's historic heritage than by supporting the Historic House Trust."

HHT is a not-for-profit organization created in 1989 to preserve and promote the historic houses located in New York City parks. Working in partnership with Parks & Recreation, the goal of the Trust has been to provide new levels of attention, support and specialized care to benefit these museums.

Thirty-six of the cows were sold in a silent auction that was open to the public throughout the day. Six "choice" cows found new homes through a live auction conducted by Richard Brierley of Christie's. Playing the jovial auctioneer, Brierley teased bidders and helped bring the price of the cows up. The last of the top six sirloins he auctioned live—called "Moo Are Here," and featuring a MapQuest-designed map of Manhattan—fetched $3,500, the most of any cow sold. Other cows included "Picowsso," a cubist inspired cow designed by director Ron Howard, and "Cattle Car," which was painted to resemble an E-Train.

Visitors to the auction also enjoyed special holiday boutiques, live country music, roasted chestnuts , and free activities for children, including historic games.

"This auction will run till the cows go home to help protect the city's treasured historic houses and ensure their future," promised Commissioner Benepe. Indeed, when the dust had settled at the end of the day, every cow had been sold and over $50,000 had been raised for the Historic House Trust. "From the turnout today, I think we can all say that this project has been a complete and udder success," said Commissioner Benepe.

Written by Eric Adolfsen


"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus."

Mark Twain


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