The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

tourist routes

with 4 comments

A query, in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The “Big Little Mayor,” as opposed to that former elected official whom I often referred to as the “Little Big Mayor,” has announced intentions to put the Horse and Carriage businesses found along Central Park on 59th street out of business.

For generations of tourists, these carriage rides have long been a feature of a trip to New York City, and remain a romanticized experience dreamt of by many. Most New Yorkers, myself included, haven’t partaken in a ride – with expense often cited as the reason why. Many will include that they do not wish to ride one because “it’s cruel to the horses.”

Do these animals suffer for the fey attentions of the idle rich and the amusement of vagabond tourists, or are they working animals pursuing an occupation?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The animal rights people, many of whom act like wild eyed sociopaths and privileged ideologues when you actually meet them in person, claim that this business exhibits a particularly wicked form of cruelty in subjecting the horses to the pressures of the urban setting. They do make a salient and thought provoking point about the welfare and quality of husbandry of these beasts, points which are worthy of both discussion and debate. Of course, trying to have a conversation with an activist of any persuasion is akin to fostering a meaningful dialogue about the efficacy of multiculturalism with a klansman – their mind is made up.

Also, if New York City is too harsh an environment for horses, then what about humans?

Personally, I’d be kind of interested in what the condition of these horses looked like from a farmer’s POV.

Preferably an Amish farmer.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Liam Neeson and the NY Daily News support continuance of the Horse and Carriage trade in busy midtown traffic, Big Little Mayor and others wish to see the atavist conveyances replaced by a Disneyesque automobile propulsed by electrical batteries. Personally, I see efficacy on both sides, and would like to add my own rather Malthusian bit of reasoning about the subject -

The only reason that horses continue to exist is because human beings see value in them and have ordained it so. The horses were smart enough to play ball with the Human Race, early on, just like the dogs did – so we didn’t kill all of them back in the Ice Age like the Giant Sloth and those giant Flightless Birds. Take away the occupation or value of a critter, and human beings will extinct the shit out of it right quick. My favorite animal right is the right to live, but that’s a whole other conversation, and the one thing I’d like to see less than a horse get hit by a truck is a horse going to the glue factory.

And so, as to my query - what’s your opinion on this one, Lords and Ladies? Tempest in a teapot, or something that needs fixing?

There are three public Newtown Creek walking tours coming up, one in Queens and one in Brooklyn and two that walk the currently undefended border of the two boroughs.

Poison Cauldron, with Atlas Obscura, on April 26th.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

DUPBO, with Newtown Creek Alliance and MAS Janeswalk, on May 3rd.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

Modern Corridor, with Brooklyn Brainery, on May 18th.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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Written by Mitch Waxman

April 21, 2014 at 11:00 am

4 Responses

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  1. Mitch, my niece who is a horse lover, visited one of the horse barns in the city and found it to be clean, well run and humane. The key issue for me is the carriages traveling on the city streets and not just those within Central Park. The right solution as far as I’m concerned is to ban the carriages on the city streets and put a large stable within the park. This would protect the horses and keep traffic flowing. The best of both worlds, if you will.

    George Laszlo

    April 21, 2014 at 11:11 am

  2. Yup, that stable in the park sounds like the route to go. It itself would and could be a tourist attraction as well. The Central Park Conservancy should “bend” on this.

    georgetheatheist . . . Hi-yo Silver

    April 21, 2014 at 12:10 pm

  3. “My favorite animal right is the right to live, but that’s a whole other conversation”

    How is “the right to live” a separate conversation from whether the horses should be working in the city for purely human entertainment? The right for horses to live what kind of lives? Where will they live? How shall they live? If you believes that horses have a right to live, then it follows that you should consider in what manner. I think if you reflected on that, you may realize your ethics are more aligned with the animal advocates who you disparage so much.

    The Paw Report

    April 21, 2014 at 1:51 pm

  4. Pulling a carriage is great exercise for a horse. It’s the equine equivalent of lifting weights in a gym. What’s their alternative? Lollygagging around in a pasture?

    georgetheatheist . . . Hi-yo Silver

    April 21, 2014 at 8:28 pm


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