With daytime getting longer and longer each day, spring is soon approaching. But winter doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere anytime soon – especially in places like this one, featured in this photo by Flickr user Bernard Siao taken in Harbin, a city in northeastern China.
The frozen Songhua River freezes hard in the winter and people commonly cross it on foot, but as you can see in this photo, there’s another option to dart across the frozen river on a horse-drawn carriage. Harbin is a city of interesting and unique history. Originally founded by Russia and inhabited by Jewish immigrants, it also hosts the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, which goes on throughout January.
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[Photo Credit: Flickr User Bernard-SD]
Animal rights groups have long been trying to put an end to the carriage rides offered in New York City. Essentially, they argue that the horses are mistreated and exposed to unsafe conditions. Supporters of the carriages maintain that the drivers care about the animals and treat them humanely. The issue has been discussed in the New York City Council and now ideas are being suggested for how to replace the carriages. One concept: Eco-friend Model T replicas.
The cars would be electric or hybrid and tour the city much like the carriages do now. Unlike the carriages, however, the cars won’t defecate on the street. But the cars will also lack the historical connection that the carriages have to the city (yes, I understand that Model T’s once existed in Manhattan, but no one waxes nostalgically about their Model T ride around Central Park).
Thankfully, the matter is being discussed by our esteemed local politicians and activists, who continue to raise the level of discourse. Take Carolyn Daly, spokeswoman for the Horse and Carriage Association, who said that “no one wants to replace clip-clop, clip-clop with chitty chitty bang bang.” Quite the wordsmith.
Councilman Tony Avella is trying to push a ban on the carriages through the City Council, but this fight has been going on for a few years now and promises to get even more contentious before any laws are passed or alternatives launched.