For more than a century, horse-drawn carriages have been iconic fixtures in New York City. Although the Big Apple’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, is on a crusade to put a conclusion to the nostalgic rides, saying the carriages are cruel to the horses and a common source of traffic congestion.
Amid a simmering controversy, a potential replacement for the horses emerged Thursday at the New York Auto Show.
Jason Wenig, an automotive restoration expert and Brooklyn native, unveiled the Horseless eCarriage, a battery-powered creation that took six years to plan and make.
On display in the lobby of the Jacob Javits Center, the antique-looking vehicle is at when a throwback for an earlier era in automotive history and a model of current electric-car technology. It can carry eight passengers, reach a top-notch speed of 30 miles per hour and travel about 100 miles on a single charge. Battery produces – no pun intended – 84 horsepower.
Perhaps most importantly, it seeks to secure the charm in the horse-drawn carriage.
I said to them, ‘If you’re planning to do something, it’s got to be bold, big and daring,’ Wenig said of his first conversations concerning the car. If people are about to lose the emblem they understand, this has reached fill that vacuum powerfully.
Not everyone is enamored with the idea. Traditionalists from the city repeat the carriages comprise a romantic area of the city’s fabric, and they oppose the mayor’s efforts to finish the horse-drawn carriage era. So, do carriage operators, who rely on the rides for their livelihoods.
A poll conducted by Quinnipiac University showed that 64 percent of the latest Yorkers secure the carriages pulled by the actual equines. Actor Liam Neeson has been a vocal opponent in the mayor, and wrote an editorial supporting continued use of the horses in the week in The New York Times.
A full way of life along with a historic industry are under threat, he wrote. We should ask whether this is the New York we want to live in: a sanitized metropolis, where local color and grit are thrown out in favor of sleek futuristic buildings and careening self-driving cars?
eCarriage was actually a project commissioned by NYCLASS, an animal-rights organization that may be seeking more humane therapy for the horses. The group approached Wenig about six years back to ask in regards to the project, so that as a native New Yorker an animal lover, it was an organic fit.
I’m not necessarily an activist, however i am an animal lover, so I understood where these were coming from, he stated. Each of the sudden, I’m in the barn, trying to hammer out steel.
Sixty-eight carriages would be required to replace the existing stable of horses. Though it took Wenig the past six months to construct the eCarriage prototype, he believes he could construct the full fleet in just months, if the project go forward. His current operation is located in DaniaFlorida and Beach, but he says he might open another shop back his hometown, to help complete the project quickly.
In the Google Hangout last week, de Blasio has said he expects for taking action within the year.