Friday, April 16, 2010

Urban legends: NYC Cattle Tunnel

Were there once tunnels under NYC's 12th Street that cattle would walk from the railways to the butcher shop? Apparently everyone thinks so, but only heard about it 2nd or 3rd hand. Edible Geography reports:
Despite the lack of conclusive proof, the article points towards a couple of interesting ideas: the power of the imaginary cow tunnel and the architectural possibility of an ideal cow tunnel. First of all, the fact that the abandoned cattle tunnel is a pervasive myth surely says something significant about the urban relationship with food production and the return of the agricultural unconscious.
Secondly, ... [is] a cow tunnel ... even a functional piece of architecture, considered from the point of view of cattle behaviour and livestock handling[?] According to his friend, Don Duncan the dairyman,
Problem is, cows aren’t so much skittish as they are clumsy, not to mention stump stupid. They might go into a dark tunnel, but the beasts are known to stumble and fall down on dry concrete if they blink too hard....
Here is Temple Grandin's cattle chute:

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