Cruising around Central Park in a horse drawn carriage is a tourist favorite in New York, but the industry has long been under fire for violating of safety regulations and ignoring the well being of the horses. Advocacy groups NY-Class and the ASPCA have joined together and come up with a green alternative for the turn of the century horse carriages — vintage electric cars! The classic cruisers are proposed to bring new, safe, and clean transportation to thousands of park visitors.
NY-Class, a non-profit standing for New Yorkers for Clean, Livable, and Safe Streets, presented their two-foot model car (see it here) to city officials last week. The cars, which seat up to six people and a driver, are reminiscent of the iconic rides of the old New York elite like the Rockefellers, Guggenheims, and Vanderbilts. The designs include hanging side lanterns, built-in picnic baskets, and a convertible top that retracts in sections for warmer days.
The fleet of 68 electric cars will be for-hire, low-emission models running on five lithium-ion battery packs. They will be able to run for about 10 hours at speeds from 5 miles per hour to a maximum of 35 mph.
Jason Wenig from The Creative Workshop, a specialty automotive customization company, is the design brains behind the project. Well aware of the deep rooted connection to the iconic horse carriages, he is intent on winning hearts with his one of a kind vintage replicas. “My goal is to inspire both New Yorkers and visitors alike with the elegance and nostalgia of yesteryear by delivering incredible cars so that this inevitable change occurs enthusiastically.” He hopes these “show cars” will be so impressive that carriage drivers will be thrilled to switch over and pick out their own antique gem.
The bill to replace the carriages, named Intro 86, has been met with constant stiff resistance from both the carriage industry and city officials, causing years of delay. The cars are not only a safer and cleaner alternative for the horse and carriages, but most importantly, they keep the nostalgic, classic New York experience the city is known for.
You can sign the NY-Class petition to end carriage horse abuse here.