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NYC's 19th-Century Horse Carriages Spawn Weird, Truck-Size Electric Car

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the origin-story dept.

Transportation 204

cartechboy (2660665) writes "Led by Tesla, electric cars are all the rage now. And the idea of a nine-passenger all-electric vehicle sounds good--until you learn that it maxes out at 30 mph, weighs almost four tons, and costs in the six figures. What is this monstrosity? It's the Frankenstein creation of a group of animal-rights advocates, who are proposing it as the replacement for New York City's fabled horse carriages--and who paid $450,000 to have a prototype built. Who's against it? Would you believe Liam Neeson and one of NYC's daily papers? The huge electric car--modeled after an early 1900s open touring car, complete with brass lanterns--is on display this week at the New York Auto Show, and it's certainly attracting its share of attention."

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Animal rights? (3, Informative)

PPH (736903) | about 5 months ago | (#46808487)

Its either pull a carriage or off to the dog food factory. Ask the horse for its preference.

Re:Animal rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46808645)

dog food factory? not anymore
There are no longer any slaughterhouses in the US that do horse meat. I recall a few years ago this being a big deal because feed prices were at an all time high, people who had horses who fell on hard times really had no recourse except to set them loose.

Re:Animal rights? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 5 months ago | (#46808651)

They just want less animals to be born.

Re:Animal rights? (2)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 5 months ago | (#46808721)

They just want less animals to be born.

Or fewer.

Re:Animal rights? (2)

Vegan Cyclist (1650427) | about 5 months ago | (#46808727)

Wrong.

End the industry, and it reduces demand for horses. It's not like if there's no demand for horses, they're going to keep breeding them just to send to dog food factories. (And there are a lot being eaten by humans actually. Not sure a lot are being fed to dogs in the US.)

As it stands, they're used to pull carriages, THEN they're sent to slaughter. They don't get sent somewhere magical once they're no longer useful pulling carriages.

Re:Animal rights? (2)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 5 months ago | (#46808845)

Wrong.

End the industry, and it reduces demand for horses. It's not like if there's no demand for horses, they're going to keep breeding them just to send to dog food factories. (And there are a lot being eaten by humans actually. Not sure a lot are being fed to dogs in the US.)

As it stands, they're used to pull carriages, THEN they're sent to slaughter. They don't get sent somewhere magical once they're no longer useful pulling carriages.

Depends on the company. I know of a few companies that take horses whose owners can no longer afford to own them, and train those to pull carriages (so they already have a second lease on life). At the end of their service, they're put out to pasture at a petting/riding farm.

This definitely isn't how all carriage businesses work, but a growing number do. Sure, the animals don't get to choose their vocation, and they don't get to magically revert thousands of years of domestication to roam free in the eurasian steppes once again, but it's a life, and not a bad one at that.

Re:Animal rights? (1)

KiloByte (825081) | about 5 months ago | (#46808957)

And there are a lot being eaten by humans actually

Not in the US, where they abuse procedural rules to make horse meat effectively illegal.

Re:Animal rights? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46809463)

Funnily, they send the horses to the slaughter in mexico which has zero standards on how the horse are to be treated. My mom sends money to some big cat reserves which means every animal charity on the planet has her address. It's funny to pick her mail up and see one letter telling you to call your representative and tell them to vote no horse slaughter in the good old US of A and then another letter complaining about the poor treatment american horses are receiving in mexican horse slaughterhouses.

Re:Animal rights? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46809321)

Horse meat is amazing. I had it in Mongolia. Tender, tasty, and lean. Better than dog meat, even (which I've had in Korean, even though the concierge at my hotel in Seoul swore up and down I wouldn't be able to find it).

Re:Animal rights? (0)

antdude (79039) | about 5 months ago | (#46809129)

It's = It is. You're welcome. :P

Re:Animal rights? (5, Funny)

MildlyTangy (3408549) | about 5 months ago | (#46809279)

Its either pull a carriage or off to the dog food factory. Ask the horse for its preference.

The horse was consulted and has been asked which option it would prefer.

The horse did not respond.

The general conclusion was that it seemed likely that the horse did not understand English.

That Reminds Me (2, Interesting)

sycodon (149926) | about 5 months ago | (#46808511)

Pick up some Veal, lamb and Ribeyes on the way home tonight.

Re:That Reminds Me (1)

CheshireDragon (1183095) | about 5 months ago | (#46808811)

oooo good idea! I think I'll be picking up an 11oz Sirloin since I have to go to the store and fill my 5gal water jug anyway.

Re:That Reminds Me (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46809147)

PETA: Pork, Eggs, Tenderloin, Alligator.
I can't believe there isn't a beef cut that doesn't start with an A.

Re:That Reminds Me (1)

GameMaster (148118) | about 5 months ago | (#46809365)

There's always "Au jus"

Re:That Reminds Me (1)

lbmouse (473316) | about 5 months ago | (#46809165)

Don't forget the foie gras.

Animal cruelty? (5, Informative)

gman003 (1693318) | about 5 months ago | (#46808529)

OK, the car actually seems like a decent idea, and might work well. But their motivation seems a bit ridiculous.

I've ridden horses. Anyone claiming that riding horses is automatically animal cruelty is quite simply a moron. Fortunately, these people do not seem to be pushing that particular agenda - their claim is that NYC is inhospitable to horses.

I haven't been to NYC, other than driving through, so I can't personally claim either way. However, if NYC is inhospitable enough to qualify as cruelty to horses, then NYC ought to be abandoned as unsafe for human habitation as well. After all, homo sapiens is a species of animal, so shouldn't animal cruelty apply to us as well?

Re:Animal cruelty? (2)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 5 months ago | (#46808595)

The difference is we have a choice when the weather gets too hot and humid or too cold as to whether we want to be out or not. The horses don't. They are at the whim of their owners.

While there is a group of NYC officers whose job it is to check on the horses when the weather gets hot, and have the power to order the owners to take the horses to the stables, that is still different than humans being able to walk into an air conditioned building whenever they fell like it.

Re:Animal cruelty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46808657)

The difference is we have a choice when the weather gets too hot and humid or too cold as to whether we want to be out or not. The horses don't. They are at the whim of their owners.

Boo fucking hoo.

If the animal rights activists succeed in this, most of those horses employed pulling carriages will be sent off to the glue factory. I know PETA and a lot of these other groups are idiotic, but this strikes me as stupid even for them. Aside from the lost romance (for those who like such things), it's an unfortunate reality in our world that with no market for carriage horses, there will simply be less carriage horses in the future. The existing ones will be put down, and new ones won't be bred if no one has any interest in buying them. Net result: horses that would have lived will simply not exist, and a lot of existing ones will be killed. Nice job.

Re:Animal cruelty? (1)

Greeninja (1936704) | about 5 months ago | (#46808789)

Most activists hate PETA for the same reason you do, but don't think that there aren't plenty of farm sanctuaries out there that would skip a beat to take care of one of these animals. The horses not existing is hardly an issue as we created them, and they are a result of being bred into human captivity, there's also the option of rewilding them, letting them roam where they once did.

Re:Animal cruelty? (2)

Firethorn (177587) | about 5 months ago | (#46809257)

there's also the option of rewilding them, letting them roam where they once did.

You want them shipped to Europe? I'm sure the French/Italians would love that. They'd eat them.

Fact is, most of these horses are so bred to work with humanity, and be cared for by humanity, that without humanity's help on average their lives would be exceptionally short and nasty.

Re:Animal cruelty? (0)

msobkow (48369) | about 5 months ago | (#46808711)

As if animals in the wild have any choice in the matter.

PETA and their ilk are idiots. Pretty, Egotistical Tits and Ass.

Re:Animal cruelty? (2)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 5 months ago | (#46808805)

How are wild animals forced to walk around constantly in the heat of the day? When it gets too hot they take a nap under a tree.

Re:Animal cruelty? (2)

sycodon (149926) | about 5 months ago | (#46809069)

The ones with big teeth and long claws can do that. Pretty much all the others forage 24/7

Re:Animal cruelty? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46809157)

You vastly overestimate the amount of real choice most humans have.

Re:Animal cruelty? (1)

Hypotensive (2836435) | about 5 months ago | (#46809179)

It actually ever gets warm enough in NYC to be bothersome to a horse? I'd have thought the pollution issue would be much more salient.

Re:Animal cruelty? (2)

gman003 (1693318) | about 5 months ago | (#46809283)

And those owners a) are out there suffering as well, and b) are taking proper care of their horses, if they have even an iota of intelligence.

Horses are *expensive*. Even if you're a heartless bastard, you take care of them because they're expensive to replace. Most of the horse owners I've met take better care of their horses than they do themselves.

If it's cold, you put blankets on them or take them inside. If it's too hot, you give them more water and don't ride them as hard (and I really doubt it will get too hot for horses in New York - we have wild horses down here in VA, and they deal with the heat just fine).

Re:Animal cruelty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46809327)

> The difference is we have a choice when the weather gets too hot and humid or too cold as to whether we want to be out or not.

The "choice" for a construction worker is show up and work if you want to keep your job, rain or shine.

Re:Animal cruelty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46808661)

After all, homo sapiens is a species of animal, so shouldn't animal cruelty apply to us as well?
 
You ever met a New Yorker? I'll side with the horse on this one.

Re:Animal cruelty? (1)

rlp (11898) | about 5 months ago | (#46808713)

Also the NYPD still has a mounted horse patrol unit.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O... [wikipedia.org]

electric golf carts (3, Interesting)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 5 months ago | (#46808755)

OK, the car actually seems like a decent idea, and might work well.

A decent idea? They just spent half a million dollars to re-invent the electric golf cart!

There are a dozen of of these things driving around every airport in America.

Re:electric golf carts (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about 5 months ago | (#46809159)

They gave the electric golf cart an old-fashioned, high-class feel, which is honestly the only reason people still use horses in NYC. Which means it's a viable replacement for it.

And that's $500k in R&D, not in per-unit cost, which doesn't seem too bad.

Re:electric golf carts (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 5 months ago | (#46809371)

I also like how they make out '4 tons' like it's a big deal - that's 9k pounds, yes, but a plain old passenger van starts out at 7k pounds, for one that only seats 8. 8.6k for one that seats 15.

After that, well, realize that batteries and bling add weight, and this has a lot of both.

Re:electric golf carts (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46809183)

You go to some fancy airports.

FYI: Electric vehicle doe snot equal golf cart. No more then Porsche = go cart.

This is no Porsche [Re:electric golf carts] (2)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 5 months ago | (#46809423)

You go to some fancy airports. FYI: Electric vehicle doe snot equal golf cart. No more then Porsche = go cart.

This thing is no Porsche. Did you read the article? "a so-called 'geo-fence' would restrict it to 5 mph inside Central Park-- 'thus continuing the tradition of horse-drawn carriages causing traffic congestion in and around midtown,' as New York Intelligencer noted acerbically."

5 MPH? Calling it a golf cart is rather slandering golf carts. Of course, it can sprint at up to 30 MPH (outside Central Park, only)-- but so can golf carts [eastcoastcarts.com] . They're just not allowed to, because they don't have the safety features of a car. But neither does this.

It's a golf cart. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

is all madness (0, Offtopic)

rewindustry (3401253) | about 5 months ago | (#46808831)

we now live in a world where the car kills more children than anything else, and i don't know about you, but according to the real live property laws in the land where i live, the ONLY allotted space for pedestrians is a strip one and a half meters wide ALONGSIDE the edge of the highway.

there is literally no other legal way to get from one place to another, entirely everywhere else is property.

mad, quite mad - the whole plastic footed metal space bug lot of you.

Re:is all madness (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46809285)

"we now live in a world where the car kills more children than anything else, "
that ios a good thing. I feel you should know that's mostly due to people not using seat belts and car seats. Also, there has been a 40% reduction of deaths from auto accidents for children. Oddly enough, poisoning and suffocation are skyrocketing.

Morbid fascination:
http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisq... [cdc.gov]
http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/... [cdc.gov]

.

Re:Animal cruelty? (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 5 months ago | (#46808949)

Interestingly, I was reading a National Geographic from 1914 a while back, and lo and behold: a two page spread on the new top-of-the-line Electric Vehicle Company [wikipedia.org] 's fleet of all-electric vehicles being deployed in NYC.

The saga of the Electric Vehicle Company is fodder for a movie. It involved so many shell companies, buyouts, people who ignored the realities to pursue the dream, intrigue, national bailouts, etc. that I'm surprised it almost vanished into history. There's even an interesting bit about Canada/US ownership squabbles. Eventually it was turned over to a consortium of interested parties, and fizzled out when people discovered gasoline-powered automobiles were gaining traction.

$450,000? (2)

Andrio (2580551) | about 5 months ago | (#46808531)

Someone's walking around with an extra $400,000 in their pocket.

Re:$450,000? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46808557)

Hey, a 3D printer that can print out an electric carriage costs money, Bub!

Re:$450,000? (1)

CaptainLard (1902452) | about 5 months ago | (#46808809)

Well duh. The time of the people who had the skills to build this is worth something. In other news every programmer or network admin is walking around with an extra $theentirecostofthejobminusoverhead in their pocket.

And the horses? (1)

gnu-sucks (561404) | about 5 months ago | (#46808533)

So what happens to the decommissioned horses, should this beast be put into production?

Re:And the horses? (4, Funny)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | about 5 months ago | (#46808579)

They'll take them to a nice farm... um out in the country... um where they can spend all their time in a field chasing rabbits.

Re:And the horses? (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 5 months ago | (#46808675)

So what happens to the rabbits then?

Re:And the horses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46808709)

They get trampled by horses?

that happens to the grass and trees that the rabbits aren't eating?

They grow healthier. :) wait tabbits are fluffy and cute so they couldn't possibly be considered a pest ;).

I kid I kid.

Re:And the horses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46808719)

The rabbits form local armed militias and fight back against the tyranny of the horses, thus chasing them back to New York.. oh right.

Re:And the horses? (1)

Greeninja (1936704) | about 5 months ago | (#46808697)

There are plenty of sanctuaries that take in animals, one of them is called Animal place http://animalplace.org/ [animalplace.org] .

Re:And the horses? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 5 months ago | (#46808699)

The stables are developed by Trump for another failed monument to his ego. The horses are cooked for opening dinner.

Re:And the horses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46809133)

I don't know what the average "working" life span is for these horses is but my guess is that you tell the breeder that he's losing a customer and that they're gradually phased out.
 
Either way, your argument sounds like the reasoning of a small minded Luddite when told that the loom would replace hand weavers.

Cheaper just to modify a Tesla? (2, Interesting)

swb (14022) | about 5 months ago | (#46808539)

Wouldn't it be vastly cheaper just to modify a Tesla? While probably not as simple as stretching a car, would it be $300,000+ more expensive to just put the old-tymey touring car body on a stretched Tesla frame?

Re:Cheaper just to modify a Tesla? (2)

Teancum (67324) | about 5 months ago | (#46808939)

You are thinking too intelligently here and are used to the idea of using competent and proven technology to accomplish your solutions.

Looking at the specs on this beast, it is lousy even for a custom electric automobile retooling job. There are plenty of custom automobile builders around the country, so I would have to presume that the real deal here is that somebody's nephew or niece was out of work and needed a job, thinking they could also reinvent the wheel at the same time.

Re:Cheaper just to modify a Tesla? (1)

CaptainLard (1902452) | about 5 months ago | (#46808963)

would it be $300,000+ more expensive to just put the old-tymey touring car body on a stretched Tesla frame?

Looking at all the custom design work and fitting for a one-off vehicle I'd say yes. Starting with an $80k donor tesla, figure out how to safely disassemble the unibody, do that, add all the old-timey stuff to it with a rated load over a ton (we're talking americans here...), and then get it to work could easily be in the 1000's of man hours. When they are not your own, hours cost money too.

Re:Cheaper just to modify a Tesla? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46808999)

Keep in mind that its just a prototype. The article clearly says that it would probably cost only $150,000 to manufacture if there was a production run. Also, its much larger than a Tesla, and the design of the Tesla doesn't lend itself to much modification either.

I like it! (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | about 5 months ago | (#46808567)

I'm not against the horse-drawn carriages, but I kind of like this car. It's charming. Can we have both?

Re:I like it! (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 5 months ago | (#46808909)

Agreed, the car looks pretty cool, and I can see a market for something like that... ALONG SIDE of the horse carriages. There is no legit reason to get rid of them, If we thought bloomberg was bad with his soda ban, what did we expect electing someone like deblasio?? but then again, the people of NYC get what they deserve by the people they vote for

Horse is better for meat then transportation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46808583)

The can get one of these cars to power an electric grill!

Wha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46808599)

Led by Tesla, electric cars are all the rage now.
 
The EV market was far from "Led by Tesla."
 
It sounds like the fanboys who all say that Apple led the tablet market.

Re:Wha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46808691)

Seems like you're getting into an argument over the definition of the word 'led'

Led as in invented/pioneered, no but Led as in currently the frontrunner in the marketplace, sure that's at least arguable.

Re:Wha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46808897)

Nissan sells more EVs than Tesla. Look into it.

Stupid? (4, Interesting)

chispito (1870390) | about 5 months ago | (#46808607)

Disclosure: I've never been to NYC, and I don't know how these horses are treated. If they're generally treated poorly, then disregard my comments.

That said, it makes me wonder if the animal rights activists have ever met working horses. Working animals are bred for their jobs and they tend to enjoy them. My brother owned a draft horse and there was nothing he liked better than pulling. If pulling teams are animal cruelty, then so is playing fetch with your retriever.

Re:Stupid? (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about 5 months ago | (#46808717)

PETA thinks that vanity pets are cruel slavery. PETA hates animals, but hates humans more.

Re:Stupid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46809063)

They've gotten a reputation for "rescuing" pets from animal shelters, only to snuff them out as soon as possible, to liberate them from human cruelty.

Awesome.

Re:Stupid? (1)

Greeninja (1936704) | about 5 months ago | (#46808745)

Your dog has the ability to stop playing fetch and go do something else if it wants to, no one is going to play fetch with their dog until it passes out on the pavement from exhaustion, and hopefully you aren't playing fetch in the middle of the road where getting hit by a car is a real issue, something that also happens to a lot of horses. I've met plenty of carriage horses, several ones that have also died because of being overworked. They might be bred to do that job, but saying they enjoy it is like saying that someone bred into slavery enjoys doing the hard labor they are forced to do.

Re:Stupid? (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 5 months ago | (#46808937)

the horses who pull in NYC are some of the best treated horses on the planet except for maybe the budweiser clydesdales. Go talk to the people who run them, you wont find anyone who cares more about their animals than NYC horse carriage owners.

Re:Stupid? (1)

Greeninja (1936704) | about 5 months ago | (#46809095)

This is a blanket statement though. I'm sure there are people who care about their animals a lot, obviously it goes both ways because nothing is every truly black or white. However, I've seen that statement so many times from breeders who have hundreds of dogs in terrible conditions to family run farms that abuse their livestock when no one is watching them (undercover operations reveal the truth). We get the whole romantic notion and nostalgia from riding in a carriage, we just don't see it as being the best interest for those animals, especially the external dangers they face from cars or becoming panicked in the city.

Re:Stupid? (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46809357)

I can not imagine dealing with what a carriage driver does and not caring for horses. It would be a stupid, tiring, frustrating, and poor job to take.
They would be better off driving a cab.

What if those dog breeders had to take their dogs out into the public most days where the where scrutinized?
Plus, an abused horse make a poor animal to pull a carriage.

" especially the external dangers they face from cars or becoming panicked in the city."
How many of these trained horses panic? How many hit by automobiles?
FYI: 4 in 30 years.

Re:Stupid? (2)

Teancum (67324) | about 5 months ago | (#46809167)

You very likely don't know the first thing about these draft horses in general and the carriage horses in particular, and I seriously doubt you've seen any of them outside of simply passing by one of them on a street as you were busy getting your latte or spritz after work.

No competent owner of a horse, nor any of the drivers, are going to be intentionally mistreating a horse in the manner you describe simply from a pure economic standpoint. They are expensive to breed and take at least two years or so minimum before they are even capable of being able to pull one of these carriages, and both owners and drivers develop strong personal bonds with them. The death of a horse is a significant tragedy for both the owner and driver (who may very likely be one and the same). While in the past it may have been true that finding another draft horse was easy, it isn't so easy to do in 21st Century America so you need to have a special relationship with a farm or two where you can get the horses as well. There is definitely a limited supply of those kind of horses.

I'll also note that any driver who hits a horse is also a complete idiot. An automobile or even a truck is far more maneuverable and faster than a horse drawn carriage, where the carriage also sticks out like a sort thumb in traffic and usually can be spotted blocks away. It is a very rare situation where a horse and a car get in a collision... where not only will the driver get the ticket and the responsibility to pay for the horse (as I said,something worth a whole lot of money) or find their automobile insurance rates will skyrocket. Very likely they will also get a DUI citation because you really would need to be drunk in order to hit one of these horses.

The only part of your comment that bears anything to reality is the comparison of draft horses to slaves. If that is the case, you need to thank draft horses for ending slavery, because a well care for horse with the right bridal and harness was able to do the work of five men and eat the resources of three.... thus replacing a whole bunch of people from needing to be slaves who instead could be an ignorant college student in a 1st world country thinking they've learned everything there is to know. There is a pretty good reason why slavery wasn't common in Europe in the late middle ages, in spite of being very common in the Roman Empire, and the common draft horse was one of the reasons for that happening. You very likely wouldn't have even written your comment if it wasn't for your ancestors having access to draft horses and using them to support themselves and provide opportunities for their descendents.

Re:Stupid? (2)

bws111 (1216812) | about 5 months ago | (#46809343)

In addition to your economic reasons one must also consider what the horses are doing - giving romantic rides to tourists. There is nothing romantic about a sick, dying, or mistreated horse, so it is certainly in their best interest to not have those conditions.

Re:Stupid? (0)

Vegan Cyclist (1650427) | about 5 months ago | (#46808773)

They never leave the city (except to be sent to slaughter.) Their stalls are appalling. They're in traffic all day, breathing fumes, walking on hard pavement, and constantly at risk of being hit (or breaking loose and hurting someone else.) Often, they don't 'like' pulling, they just 'like' it more than the alternative (which is an appalling stable in this case.) It's often not hard to coerce animals bred over centuries for complacency to do what we want....and easier for us to make ourselves feel better and say 'they like it'.

Re:Stupid? (1)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 5 months ago | (#46809267)

i take my cues on social issues from someone named 'vegan cyclist'. i demand the soy be liberated, for tofu is murder!

Re:Stupid? (1)

Vegan Cyclist (1650427) | about 5 months ago | (#46809389)

And 'rogoshen1' is any more deserving? I know you're probably joking, but consider: maybe i've spent more time than the average person looking into how animals are treated, and might actually have something to contribute to the discussion, either factually or philosophically. If all you want is people who say the same thing as you, what are you doing here?

Re:Stupid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46809477)

No, 'rogoshen1' says nothing about the person. 'Vegan cyclist' says a lot about you.

Re:Stupid? (3, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46809437)

"They never leave the city (except to be sent to slaughter.) "
not always true.

"Their stalls are appalling."
That's a blatant lie.

" Often, they don't 'like' pulling, "
You have never worked around horse, have you?

"which is an appalling stable in this case."
again,l that's a blatant lie.

hmm, someone with the name VeganCyclist whose opinion is devoid of facts. I'm shocked.

Re:Stupid? (2)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 5 months ago | (#46808813)

If pulling teams are animal cruelty, then so is playing fetch with your retriever.

This particular group of animal-rights types is not PETA (though they may be affiliated with, or have membership overlap with, PETA).

That said, PETA does, in fact, believe that you should not be allowed to have a retriever (or any other pet). Much less make the poor dog "play fetch".

For the record, I have a lab. Nothing he likes better than run and fetch the stick (except run and fetch the steak).

Who cares what PETA says (1)

tacokill (531275) | about 5 months ago | (#46809161)

Who cares what PETA and their ilk spout.

PETA has shown itself over and over to be far beyond any rational thinking so I, like most other people, disregard everything they say. Frankly, I am surprised they garner as much attention as they do.

Re:Stupid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46808851)

I've been to NYC, and the horses are treated fine. Anyone who has been around working horses has had the exact same experience as you and your brother. These PETA people are complete idiots and know nothing about animals.

Re:Stupid? (2)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 5 months ago | (#46808869)

I would like to see some data comparing the number of hours worked weekly by these NYC carriage horses and your brother's horse. When it was particularly hot or cold one day, I would bet that your brother gave the horse the day off.

Re:Stupid? (3, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | about 5 months ago | (#46808993)

My brother owned a draft horse and there was nothing he liked better than pulling. If pulling teams are animal cruelty, then so is playing fetch with your retriever.

Just another anecdote, a friend of mine has sled dogs (~30 dogs, two sleds; he's fairly serious about it) and those dogs clearly love to pull. All you have to do is jingle a harness, or start loading equipment into the trailer used to haul dogs + gear and they go nuts with excitement, crowding over and trying to be first into the traces/trailer. You lay the traces out on the ground and they immediately run to their positions, with some squabbling over who gets to be where, and wait anxiously to be hooked up. The toughest part of getting going in the morning is making them wait until you're ready to go, and then they'll happily run all day long (as long as they get suitable breaks, with food and water). Those who are hurt or otherwise getting a day off are clearly dejected by not getting a chance to get into the traces.

I've known many horses who were almost as excited about their jobs... though I've also known a few who were quite lazy and didn't like to work.

Re:Stupid? (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 5 months ago | (#46809105)

I live in NYC, and I'm a bit indifferent. I don't know about the horses in depth, but I'd tend to say that if the horses are treated badly, then make laws/regulations on how the horses should be treated. If it's a problem to have them on the street, then don't allow them on the street. I don't see think that having horses pull carriages is cruel in itself, but I also don't see the need to jump through hoops to keep the carriages around if they're presenting real problems. They're slightly charming, but smell like horse shit.

Use the Big Dog instead (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46808659)

Bunch of idiots. If they are going that route, why not use dog robot developed by Boston Dynamic? See www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2rq7rKgjJQ

Re:Use the Big Dog instead (3, Insightful)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 5 months ago | (#46808837)

I would absolutely pay to ride in an old fashioned carriage pulled by a robotic horse. That's some "Diamond Age" shit.

Re:Use the Big Dog instead (1)

blueg3 (192743) | about 5 months ago | (#46809107)

This idea is not getting modded up enough.

You could charge a fortune, and people would happily pay it, to have old-timey carriages pulled by robotic animals in New York City. That just screams "shut up and take my money".

electric, steam, internal combustion alternatives (1)

peter303 (12292) | about 5 months ago | (#46808685)

All vying with one another until IC pulled ahead in the 1910s. I've seen the famous "steamer" at the Stanley Hotel in Colorado.

Re:electric, steam, internal combustion alternativ (2)

ganjadude (952775) | about 5 months ago | (#46808977)

Jay leno has a large collection of working steam cars, He says they are some of his favorite https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

Patuxent National Wildlife Refuge has a bigger one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46808689)

I've ridden an electric tour vehicle through the woods at Patuxent National Wildlife Refuge near the Baltimore-Washington Parkway in Maryland. It's a two-piece thing about the size of an 18-wheeler truck+semitrailer. It goes about 5mph, fairly quietly, and carries around 30 people. It was a surplus vehicle left over from some government project.

Captcha: forests

Why not both? (1)

GlennC (96879) | about 5 months ago | (#46808739)

I could see this vehicle as being an alternative to the horse drawn carriages, particularly in the winter. This could also be started gradually as the existing stable of horses is retired.

If these vehicles become more popular than the horses, it's a good thing. Even if it doesn't fully replace the horse drawn carriages, it would be interesting to see which option tourists prefer.

Market please (1)

jamesl (106902) | about 5 months ago | (#46808753)

Let the "activists" put up the money, buy a fleet of these things and sell rides through the park. We'll see if the tourists pay for the electrics or the real horses.

I'll take the horses.

Don't the smell bad? (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 5 months ago | (#46808807)

I never even considered for a moment riding in those horse drawn carts. The idea of sitting close to their behinds was not very appealing and I assumed the animals would smell bad. I have ridden in horse drawn carts in India, but not as fancy tourist thing. They were the taxicabs, (called jatka) of rural India back then. They stank. Many a times I would opt to walk behind, ( a good distance behind), than to ride in those rickety carts, two wheels single axle, never load balanced correctly, with the cabbie calling for passengers to move forward and backward, while the neck of that poor animal provided the fulcrum. Horrible. These animal rights people would be well advised to save those animals first.

Re:Don't the smell bad? (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 5 months ago | (#46809029)

just so you know, NYC is not india, the carriages in NYC are meticulously taken care of as well as the animals.

Fake cable cars (2)

Animats (122034) | about 5 months ago | (#46808827)

Not as bad as the stupid fake cable cars we have in San Francisco.

The fake ones are more dangerous than the real ones. The real ones are limited to 9.5MPH (the cable speed), but the fake ones, on truck chassis, can go at highway speeds. They have sideways facing seats, standees, and no seat belts, which is OK at 9.5MPH but not at 30.

Re:Fake cable cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46809429)

also, a fake cable car can make turns off the route of the cable track -- totally unexpected thing for a cable car to do! ding ding

Re:Fake cable cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46809467)

Well, SFMTA shells out like $2-$3 million per year on negligence cases from cable car accidents alone. Often it's crushing incidents, because the cars are hard to maneuver or stop, and people do stupid things. Do you think those fake trolley cars shell out nearly as much money on injuries? I doubt it.

You don't hear about it because the city never litigates cases for fear of bad press. They immediately pay out any case which is even remotely legitimate. The cable cars nominally operate at a $30 million dollar loss (though they recover more money on a passenger cost basis than the average for the whole transit system), but are iconic and bring in tons of cash for the city's tourism industry.

Sources: Google, including http://www.sfweekly.com/2013-04-24/news/muni-cable-cars-national-register-of-historic-places/full/

Real Estate the reason for eliminating the horses (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46808865)

Liam Neeson has been championing the horse/buggy drivers since Mayor DiBlasio made the elimination of them his first priority. The argument is animal cruelty, but others [nypost.com] have shown that the Mayor's biggest supports are real estate developers who want the acreage that the stables currently occupy.

30mph is enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46809007)

If we build an intelligent transport system, 30mph for autonomous vehicles is enough. You use it for the last-mile hop, and you use rail for longer distances.

To put it another way, we tend to walk about 3.1 mph, and it's not seen as a problem that our cars don't drive right into our living rooms. We're fine walking the last-hop at what seems like a snail's pace.

Steam (1)

hhawk (26580) | about 5 months ago | (#46809061)

If they want to go all Steam Punk they should recreate the Dobles E20 which has a 4 piston steam engine and is nearly silent..http://www.virtualsteamcarmuseum.org/makers/stewart_h_h_steam_stewart_doble_material.html

Tacky solution. (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | about 5 months ago | (#46809231)

I think the idea of still having a horses in the midst of a busy city is ridiculous.

That said, the proposed alternative is cheesy. I really struggle to understand the American fixation antique reproductions. It's ironic that in Europe, where cities are much older than NYC, a similar concept would look sleek and futuristic.

I'm also struggling to understand why this thing is so big and heavy. It's at a point where you might as well just take a double-decker tour bus. It's likely also the safer alternative.

Re:Tacky solution. (1)

bws111 (1216812) | about 5 months ago | (#46809459)

It's not 'ironic' at all. In a city that is old, it is novel to have something sleek and futuristic. In a city that is new, it is novel to have something antique. Not really that hard to figure out.

It's big and heavy because it is a prototype, built out of other existing things. Again, not that hard to figure out.

Horse alternative (1)

MildlyTangy (3408549) | about 5 months ago | (#46809351)

I looked at the Pictured in the article ( I know...!! )

It looks like a car. They have just taken away the very thing that attracted people to the ride.

People pay to be taken around the city in a horse drawn carriage because its *not* a motor vehicle. Some would argue its quaint, romantic or just plain neat to experience something a bit different than the status quo of "motor vehicle".

The horse is not suffering. Leave it alone.

Re:Horse alternative (1)

MildlyTangy (3408549) | about 5 months ago | (#46809381)

OMG im SO SORRY, I made a grammar error in the above post!!

Grammar Nazi's, please just hear me out before you attack me with pedantry.

I didnt mean to do it, please accept my sincere apology.

"Pictured" was supposed to be "picture"

OMG, so sorry!

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