• Oct 19, 2011
In the right weather and with the right person, riding in a horse-drawn carriage around Central Park can be romantic... if a little corny. Of course, it can also be a bit odorous and, for those on foot who have to deal with the horse by-product, messy. It's not just joggers and bikers who object to the city horses; animal welfare groups have long worried about the poor working conditions. Not only do the animals spend their days shuffling along on hard pavement through slow-moving traffic while inhaling exhaust fumes, most of the horses return at night to narrow stalls beneath tenement buildings with never a chance to step into a pasture and graze. A recent petition drive gathered nearly 45,000 signatures in favor of retiring the carriage horses.

Welcome to the 20th century. Central Park may be about to reenact the transition from horse-drawn to horseless carriage as the four-footed form of horsepower is replaced by electric motors. The organization NY CLASS (New Yorkers for Clean, Livable, and Safe Streets) has commissioned designs for electric carriages, modeled after some early cars, as horse replacements. The plan is to make the cars available to the same people who currently own and drive the horse-drawn carriages so no one will lose a job – except possibly the horses, who may finally get a chance to step onto some of that grass they've been circling for years while never getting a hoof off the blacktop.

Right now, the horse-replacements exist only as foot-long models (a bit small for a romantic evening), but if the New York City Council moves forward on legislation to phase out the carriage horses, the electric cars could be replaced with full-size versions in the next few years.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 23 Comments
      Chris Kava
      • 3 Years Ago
      What is this?? A carriage for ants?!
      mrbrian2334
      • 3 Years Ago
      My girlfriend and I go down to the cirty once or twice a year and it's sort of become a tradition that we go on the horse and buggy. While I'm all for fair treatment of animals and all that, we only ever do it because of the sweetness/novelty of it being a horse and buggy ride. Being driven around Central Park in an electric car isn't quite the same.
        Krishan Mistry
        • 3 Years Ago
        @mrbrian2334
        Dont worry, Im sure they can get the car to neigh and produce foul smells if you so desire. I guess the horses need a little love too.
          mrbrian2334
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Krishan Mistry
          Whose worried? I don't really care if they get rid of them or not. I was just pointing out that the horse and buggy owner/operators would potentially lose business. It essentially changes from a sweet/romantic/novel thing to do in the park to riding in the back of a taxi.
      postpast
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Not only do the animals spend their days shuffling along on hard pavement through slow-moving traffic while inhaling exhaust fumes, most of the horses return at night to narrow stalls beneath tenement buildings with never a chance to step into a pasture and graze" sounds like city life for alot of people too
      Wolf
      • 3 Years Ago
      The sad part is that those horses retirement may end up being a glue factory. Hopefully someone will adopt them.
      sExY aZz
      • 3 Years Ago
      leave my city's horse carriages alone you stupid peta idiots. Horses provide a romantic idea of old ny. the electric version cant provide do it.
      cashsixeight
      • 3 Years Ago
      Stupid. The horses have poop catchers already. WTF.
      Skylar Ross Toups
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Only as foot-long models (a bit small for a romantic evening)" Giggity.
      Danielle
      • 3 Years Ago
      Those poor horses will never see a pasture... they'll be whisked off to auction and picked up cheap by kill buyers. Then they'll be crowded onto trucks bound for mexico or canada and the last thing they'll know is the terror of the kill pen, the smell of blood and death as they're squeezed through the shoot into a box designed for holding short necked cows, not horses... and they'll suffer horribly as the idiot firing the bolt gun has to shoot them repeatedly. Some might even get the extra joy of not dying from the bolt and being strung up by one back leg and having their throat slit while still alive. Yeah... thanks PETA
      Matthew
      • 3 Years Ago
      Really?....We can't even have a horse and buggy anymore. Of course animal cruelty is wrong, but i just can't help but think someone had nothing better to do, than to make this a big deal.
      EB110Americana
      • 3 Years Ago
      Horse drawn carriage rides might be romantic and all, but I think we're forgetting the real issue here: 'ring time?
      blas
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yeah nothing more romantic than getting your fat ass pulled around by an animal that's been standing around in a smelly street for hours while getting pollution blown in it's face.
      dukeisduke
      • 3 Years Ago
      Inhaling what exhaust fumes? From diesel trucks? Gasoline-powered cars are so clean nowadays that they emit very few emissions. Now, the having to walk or trot on asphalt? Yeah, that's a problem.
        Krishan Mistry
        • 3 Years Ago
        @dukeisduke
        They still emit lots of CO2, and the trace amounts of harmful gases may add up over time. But yes, trucks will be a bigger issue than any fully functioning car.
          PatrickH
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Krishan Mistry
          CO2 is CO2...in other words, harmless (in the amounts they breath in). WRT the article, leave the horses alone! Taking a horse drawn carriage around CP is awesome! Not a chance I'd want to pay to have someone drive me around in some dinky electric faux classic car.
    • Load More Comments