August 21st, 2006


MooTour 2006, Part II: A Report, With Pictures

Back on Sunday, August 6, along with a group of friends, gnomi and I attempted to see all 117 CowParade statues in Boston. Nomi and I gave up after only about 60 cows, and we decided we'd do our best to see the second half of the cows yesterday. Hence, MooTour II: The Wrath of Kine.

The weather yesterday was a bit more humid and cloudy than it had been for MooTour I, and rain threatened to put a damper on our tour. Fortunately, the weather patterns smiled upon us; the rain stopped before our tour began and didn't return until after the tour was complete and we were safely ensconced in our apartment.

An entirely different group of friends joined us for this second leg of MooTour: tsuki_no_bara, arib, and gem225. Having fewer people meant that even though the cows were more spread out, things seemed to go more quickly.

We started at Park Street and began our tour with cows in the Financial District, South Station, and the Boston Convention Center. (Those cows were quite a walk away, but worth it.) We still had to see some Financial District Cows on our way back from the Convention Center, and that's when we ran into a major surprise; this cow here, in front of the Bank of America building:

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Let me explain why this cow was such a surprise. According to CowParade, this cow does not actually exist. It didn't have a proper name placard (and it didn't look as if the name placard had been stolen, as has happened with some cows), and, more importantly, it wasn't listed on the map. Might there actually be 118 cows, instead of 117? Is this cow a hidden "easter egg" DVD feature, as suggested by arib? All I can say is, I find it a little unfair to hide a cow away from MooTourists who desperately want to photograph each and every cow in the Parade.

The next set of cows we photographed were those on the Waterfront, and when we reached the Aquarium area, one of our party visited the high tech bathroom sitting nearby. As Nomi and I are editors, we were chagrined to discover a typo on the public toilet's directions (see if you can spot it; feel free to clcik on the photo for a larger version):

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From there we went to Christopher Columbus Park to photograph the cows there, and then we went to the Faneuil Hall Marketplace. By a happy coincidence, we ended up meeting one of the artists who painted three of the cows, Howie Green. Green painted Poker Cow, Flower Cow, and Rufus the Boston Moosic Cow. Nomi and I recalled Rufus from MooTour I, as he's covered with representations of Boston band album covers, and our group had spent a lot of time admiring the cow. Green is an affable, easygoing man who looks far too young to be a grandfather. He quite happily answered all my questions about the logistics of CowParade; apparently, the artists themselves had to shlep their cows to their studios to work on, and then back to the central pick-up location later on. Green's galley can be found at, and here's a picture he let us take of him posing with Poker Cow:

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(As an interesting aside, when he found out that I write science fiction for Analog, he told me that he had done a cover for Analog back in 1968. A little before my time, as I've only been publishing stories in Analog since 1995.)

We photographed all the cows in the Marketplace and in City Hall Plaza, including Vincent's Cow, designed by Sidewalk Sam:

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I share this cow with you here because it's based on my favorite painting of all time, Vincent Van Gogh's The Starry Night. If anyone out there is thinking of bidding on a cow for me as a present during the auction, that's the cow I want. (But if you buy it for me, I'll also need you to buy me a place to put it...)

From City Hall Plaza, we took the T to Old North Church because our feet ached a lot. I suppose this is as good a moment as any to complain about the lack of detail on the map. In many places on the map, we're told that there are cow statues in a general area but not exactly where. The Old North Church cows were actually situated in a park south of the Church, and not in front of the Church itself. Which meant that we walked a lot more than we might have had to, had we known where the cows actually were. But on the flip side, searching for cows did give us a chance to explore a lot of Boston neighborhoods that I haven't been in for a long time. I haven't been in the North End since my college years, for example, and I was delighted to see that it is still brimming with Italian culture.

We got the Orange line at Haymarket and took the T to Downtown Crossing, took photos of cows there, and then took the Red line to Kendall Square for the last four cows. It was now 5 PM, meaning we had spent six hours searching for cows. We walked about 4 or 5 miles and took 284 photographs. As it stands now, we have photographed all but three of the cows. Moo-narchs and Milkweed was not where the map claimed, and we'll have to get it later this week; and Moo Indigo and State Cowse were located inside a locked building and behind a locked fence, respectively, and we'll have to photograph them during work hours. (Which could lead me to another rant about how public art is supposed to be, I dunno, public, but I digress...)

As I noted before, MooTour I put Nomi and me in the mood for steak; this time, on a whim, Nomi and I decided not to go home right away but to get hamburgers instead, despite our exhaustion. So we ended MooTour II with the Ranchero Burger at Rubin's:

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Doesn't that look delicious?

Copyright © Michael Burstein; photographs copyright © Nomi Burstein