More: pith.org | jessechannorris.comElephants on 34th!
23 March 2005, 12:50 am
So for some reason, when the circus comes to town, they are unable or unwilling or for some other reason opt not to bring the elephants in on trucks and instead walk them through the tunnel from Queens to Manhattan, causing quite a spectacle along 34th Street. After a whirlwind evening of an art opening, a happy hour, an album release party packed on top of a work day that started at 6am and ended with a 2 hour drive back to the city, several friends and I found ourselves racing down 34th Street, chasing after the elephants like so many webarazzi, hearing the cops yelling at us to get off the street without press credentials.
Friend Brian Fisk writes: It turns out that the circus still travels everywhere by train. I assume it's because that's the most efficient way to move all the equipment, people and animals, which otherwise would require lots of medium-haul trips for literally hundreds of trucks. (The train is 50+ cars long.) I wouldn't be surprised if elephants don't take kindly to trucks, either. So, this combination of factors means they usually have to walk the animals from the nearest railyard (where the train stops) to their holding pens during the circus (at the venue). Presumably people wouldn't take kindly to elephants tromping through GCT or Penn Station, so the closest outdoor unloading location must be in Queens.
Of course, it also makes for a nice publicity stunt, which is another good reason to do it.
A couple of years ago when the new I-93 bridge over the Charles was about to open, they made a big spectacle of unloading in Somerville and bringing in the elephants to the Fleet Center over the new bridge, to "test its load bearing capacity". Ha ha.
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