Lovely fountains for city horses and other animals

New York is a city of enchanting water fountains. Some of the most beautiful were intended for horses, thousands of which packed the streets daily for three centuries, doing the labor needed to build the city.

Hamiltonfountain

All these horses needed places to rehydrate, like the Hamilton Fountain at Riverside Drive and 76th Street. Funds to build the fountain were bequeathed to the city by Alexander Hamilton’s great-grandson, a rich property owner, who died in 1890.

Hamiltonfountainfish“Crafted from Tennessee marble, the lavishly carved fountain, composed of separate masonry units, is surmounted by an eagle with wings spread, beneath which are decorative motifs, a coat of arms, a dolphins’ head spray feature, a shell-shaped spill basin, and a larger foliate catch basin,” writes the New York City Parks and Recreation Department.

“Created for ‘man and beast,’ the fountain was evidently intended primarily as a drinking fountain for horses, and was erected during an era when the streets of Manhattan were frequented by thousands of horses on a daily basis.”

Horses working uptown in Washington Heights could get a long drink from the Hooper Fountain, at 155th Street and Edgecombe Avenue.

When businessman John Hooper died in 1889, his will indicted that two fountains should be built “whereat man and beast can drink,” the Parks Department website states.

Hooperfountain

A trough constructed in Bedford-Stuyvesant disappeared long ago. Yet this 1894 beauty survives; it “consists of a large round horse trough, carved pedestal drinking fountain, and a central Ionic column topped by an ornamental globe-shaped lantern.”

HooperfountaindogAt the back is a drinking fountain meant for humans (no spout; it might be the kind that had a communal metal cup attached to it that everyone had to share!)

Even better, on the bottom on both sides are dog fountains, a nice touch that could accommodate today’s canine-obsessed city.

Here are a few other old horse troughs around Manhattan, one in Central Park and another hiding in the East 50s.

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9 Responses to “Lovely fountains for city horses and other animals”

  1. Beth Says:

    There’s a trough on 59th Street and 6th Avenue. The carriage horses still use it to drink.

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    Yes, I’ve seen it. The ASPCA put it there. It’s not especially attractive but functional.

  3. Benjamin Waldman Says:

    You also missed the one in Van Cortland Park (which you can see in my earlier article on horse troughs — http://untappedcities.com/newyork/2012/07/10/remnants-of-when-horses-roamed-the-city/)

  4. Linkage: Park Laurel Penthouse Sells for $33.5M; Fatburger Coming – insiderater.com Says:

    [...] sells for $33.5 million [NYT] · Volunteers clean up storm-ravaged Bronx River [NY1] · Horse trough fountains around New York City [ENY] · City gives $250,000 in grants to Business Improvement Districts [NYDN] · Asbestos [...]

  5. wildnewyork Says:

    I didn’t miss it. This isn’t a complete list of horse troughs in the city; these are two beautiful examples that have always appealed to me.

  6. petey Says:

    there is/was at least one boutique on madison ave that provided a water bowl outside “pour chien”.

  7. Jan Burke Says:

    Love this post. Thank you!

  8. wildnewyork Says:

    Thanks!

  9. A Village monument to a 19th century blacksmith | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] of vestiges from the years when horses powered New York still remain: stables, horse drinking fountains, and the handsome nine-story loft built in 1897 as a monument to work horses and one Greenwich […]

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