Monday, July 18, 2011

The Disappearing Newark Holsteins

We have a mystery on our hands. Cows are appearing and disappearing in Newark.

Yes, you read that correctly. Cows. In Newark.

Here's the story: on occasion, I travel into or through Newark by train, and as most people do, I often stare absentmindedly out the window at the world going by. On a trek in about a year ago, I noticed a cow statue on the rooftop of a building in the Ironbound area, which would be the right side of the train as you're coming in from the west. It was probably about as big as a live adult cow, just tall enough to be seen over the roof ledge. Smiling to myself, I tucked the vision away for future reference, expecting to see it every time I traveled through the area by train.

Only thing is, you can't count on the cow. Sometimes she's there. Sometimes she's on another part of the roof. And sometimes there are two cows. There's nothing visible to explain the presence of the cows, or lack thereof. Perhaps they're moved from time to time, and they're just not visible from the train, but it still begs the question: why? Or maybe the better question is, 'why not?'

I'd be inclined to go to the building and root out the story of the cows, but in some ways, it's more fun not knowing.

Check it out yourself the next time you take the train in or out of Newark Penn Station. The building is brick, about three or four stories tall, and rather old, with the name "Crane and Co." in concrete near the top. It's visible a few blocks after the train gets past the McCarter Highway viaduct at the edge of the city. The address is 90 South Street, and if you get the satellite view from Google Maps, you can clearly see the two cows on the roof, one being in the upper left corner.

Any ideas why the cows are there? And why cows, and not sheep or pigs or giraffes?

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