By Patrick Hedlund
DNAinfo News Editor
EAST VILLAGE — Bessie is back on Avenue C.
Owners of Aussie-themed bar the Sunburnt Cow are heralding the arrival of a new plastic mascot to replace the bright-orange bovine that went missing late last year from its perch near the corner of East 9th Street.
Bessie, the light-up heifer that hung for five years outside the popular watering hole, was "cow-napped" by an unknown thief last October, leading staff to post fliers around the neighborhood seeking the sculpture's whereabouts and offering a $500 reward for her return.
But Bessie never surfaced, so the pub purchased a brand-new cow and will host a party on March 7 to celebrate her homecoming.
"It was so hard to find a new bloody cow," said bar owner Heathe St. Clair, noting that it took him six months of searching online to locate the 2-foot-tall bovine.
After finally finding one in Kansas City, he then had to negotiate with the cow's owner to bring it to New York.
"We had to beg him for two months," St. Clair said of convincing his supplier to send the heifer, which is earless. "We spent a ridiculous amount of money to do it."
In honor of Bessie's return to pasture, the Sunburnt Cow is hosting a party Monday and encouraging patrons to "tattoo" her by writing their name on the figurine.
This will be the third iteration of Bessie after another cow mysteriously vanished from the bar when it opened in 2003 — and St. Clair said he isn't taking any chances this time around.
"It's detachable," he added, "and we'll bring it in at the end of the night."