Horse(less?) Carriages

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mayor de Blasio wants to ban the use of horse-drawn carriages in Central Park by the end of the year. Mayor de Blasio wants to ban the use of horse-drawn carriages in Central Park by the end of the year. (Natalie Fertig/WNYC)

Josh Robin, NY1 political reporter, reports on the battle to preserve horse-drawn carriages in the city (with actor Liam Neeson taking a leading role) against Mayor de Blasio's promise to end the business now under attack for mistreating the animals.


Josh Robin

Comments [66]

Barbara from Queens

This particular campaign pledge of de Blasio's reflects his backing by real estate entities interested in the locations currently occupied by the stables. Growing up owning horses before coming to NYC as an adult, I observe horses in good condition and a manifestly good relationship between driver/owner and horse. Of course there are exceptions and there should be a system of oversight, with consequences, both in the park area and at the stables if there isn't already. If feasible, stables within the park should also be explored. ANTIQUE CARS? That is the corniest idea imaginable. PS(1)Horses eat grasses/grains and their manure, unlike its human counterpart, does not srink; 2)any of the opponents of the horse carriages who eat meat need to look into THAT industry first and do some soul-searching and prioritizing.

Apr. 18 2014 12:25 AM
Bill from UWS

The horses are fine, well treated, and no less out of place on city streets that bipeds. They're raised for drayage. I'd prefer to see them housed and restricted to the park, and return riding to the park. Cars are the problem. Reduce/calm the traffic, and ban it from the park--we'll all be better off. The city folks who want to drive domestic animals from NYC have lost the sense of our place in nature. Everything gets anthropomorphized. These horses do not exist in the wild.

Apr. 17 2014 10:48 PM

...on the other hand; wild animals for entertainment is reprehensible.

The circus for example.

Apr. 17 2014 04:03 PM
Shaneeza Aziz from Brooklyn

I don't think horses or animals should be subjected to human beings stupid concept of fun and romance.

Apr. 17 2014 03:24 PM
Peggy from Jersey City

Wish I could've made this comment while the show was airing.

I witnessed an incident of deliberate abuse when some friends and I were returning from a class late, maybe 11pm or so in the Times Square area. A horse and carriage were pulled over & just as we were walking by, the driver went up to the completely quiet horse, and holding the bridle, he savagely punched the horse between the eyes and the nose several times. We guessed he was somehow angry about the customers he had just left off and was taking it out on the animal. I started to intervene and my friend pulled me back and said, don't do it-- it will just make him angrier and the horse will suffer more. Since the driver had stopped at that point, I took his advice, but I regret doing so. I can still hear the sound of the impact of the driver's fist on the face of that horse.

If this is what a driver would do on a fairly crowded street where passersby could observe, God knows what happens to these horses in a less public area. Many, maybe most of these drivers are not horse lovers, or even necessarily decent animal caretakers. I say get these horses out from under the control of people who don't care about their welfare and safety, and just want to make money off their backs. Not only are the streets of New York an unnatural and dangerous area for these animals, which itself constitutes mistreatment, but the frustrations inherent in the situation encourage deliberate abuse as well.

And re your guests comment that he looked over at the horse while he was riding in the carriage and thought that the horse didn't seem very upset, but the pedicab guys did, isnt that because he has absolutely no idea how to read a horse, but anyone can look at a human's face and read fear if it's there?

Apr. 17 2014 01:10 PM

I absolutely LOVE the ABSURDIST argument that all these poor domesticated animals need to live free fulfilled lives…somewhere…


The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says there are more than 4,000 breeds of domestic animals and birds in the world. One third of these are in danger of disappearing.

Domestic animals are becoming extinct at the rate of two breeds per week. One thousand domestic species have vanished in the past 100 years.



Industrial "agriculture" has favored a VERY narrow group of breeds for their VERY uniform and DANGEROUS food production. Consequently, all these other breed are going extinct.

You've got to eat/work these domestic animals to save them!!!

Apr. 17 2014 11:48 AM
Mickey from Manhattan

I just listened to the beginning and Manoush did mention that she is married to Josh Robin. Still ethically dubious. Disclosure is better than non-disclosure, but nepotism is never acceptable. There must be a reporter out there somewhere other than Josh who knows the issue.

Apr. 17 2014 11:40 AM
Matt mason

Let my people go!! Show some respect for the animal that gave this country so much!
Horses should be free and not play things for the wealthy and misinformed

Apr. 17 2014 11:21 AM
fuva from harlemworld

The skewing of this debate is reflected in Manoush and Josh's only fleeting mention of the hazards of the job itself on the horses.

Apr. 17 2014 11:10 AM
Henry from Manhattan

ann in nyc from manhattan said:
“They are farm animals”

So keep them on a farms.

Apr. 17 2014 10:56 AM

Argument is about Real Estate - not animal cruelty. %'s support the carriage drivers. Who's fighting for the
ped-cabers who are really getting abused by pollution, long hours and hard work?
Want real animal cruelty that your tax dollars support try fighting this or adopting some of these horses:
Real Estate interests are pushing this fight to develop that valuable land no one ever wanted before and only a few true animal lovers used to care about. Now big money = big talk! How many protesters can afford the new housing that will go up?
Where are the politicians that want so much to save jobs? Who's this guy investing in the Horseless Carriages and where does his money come from?
How much did Mayor DiBlasio get from Real Estate interests in election donations and what happened to the jobs/Affordable Housing he promised for Barclay Center?

Apr. 17 2014 10:53 AM


WE are ALL more likely to be killed on the streets of NYC than these horses!!

Apr. 17 2014 10:52 AM
ann in nyc from manhattan

If the horses are healthy and well-cared for, there is no reason why they shouldn't pull carriages in Central Park. They are farm animals, perfectly fitted to such work.

Apr. 17 2014 10:51 AM
Krista from Ridgefield, CT

So many horses are being put down these days. Horse care is expensive. I think there is a greater risk to the horses if they do not have a "job". It sounds like these horses are being cared for ompared to many that are not.
I see hjs is saying the same thing...

Apr. 17 2014 10:44 AM
Sonya from NYC

There was a caller who mentioned that none of the Vets were complaining about the mistreatment of horses and so it shows that there is no mistreatment of horses. That's B.S. We all know the horrific abuses of cattle and other animals on factory farms and in slaughter houses. None of the Veterinary associations has spoken against these abuses either. But that does not mean that animals are not abused.

Apr. 17 2014 10:41 AM
Susan from NJ

The caller "David" made allegations about the horses and carriages in Central Park. Did he make a Police Report on what he saw? If not, his story is simple that -a story. A Police Report would give credibility to protestors.

To date, there has been only ONE citation for animal cruelty (a case of "thrush" aka "athletes foot" in people). All other stories and allegation have not been confirmed nor documented.

Look closely at the photos of all the horses who the protestors say "drop dead (or collapse) on the streets of NYC, all the time" . I can count THREE different animals. With cell phone cameras all around NYC, there certainly should be hundreds of different horses depicted, if their allegations are true.

Yesterday, I was on a protestor site. I asked "where and when" a particular photo was taken. It showed a horse laying on the ground. Someone answered "I can help you with that. It was in Romania." Within minutes, the entire dialog was REMOVED from the site! I smell something rotten- and it isn't horse manure!

Apr. 17 2014 10:38 AM
Mickey from Manhattan

Missed the beginning of this. Did Manoush mention that Josh is her husband? Isn't there any other reporter who could've commented on this? Seems ethically dubious on a number of levels. For example, on All Things Considered, Melissa Block NEVER does the segment with her husband, sportswriter Stefan Fatsis.

Apr. 17 2014 10:36 AM
Cara from Chelsea

the real estate angle is a canard, if they want to develop and make more money they will do it, regardless of the existing tenants, horses or not. also anyone mention all the food carts that are in the same stable buiding there? Rather gross, after I saw that will never buy somehting form those hotdog stands.

Apr. 17 2014 10:33 AM
art525 from Park Slope

I am really on the fence about this. I like the tradition of the carriages. It's quaintly nostalgic. But I do wonder if it's in the best interest of the horses. They certainly don't look very happy when you pass them at their stand on 59th street. I do question the carriage supporters accusations that NYCLASS is really out to aquire valuable real estate. It seems a little overblown. And I also find the dismissal of the proposal for the antique cars to be off base and simplistic. People are saying that the park doesn't need more cars and that tourists aren't going to be drawn to riding around in cars in the park. Have you seen the cars? They are mock reproductions of antique cars from the turn of the last century they are not Nissan Altimas. They could be quite novel and quite appealing. It does strike me that Mr Robin is not coming across as neutral in this debate. Perhaps it is because of his spending time with the carriage drivers but he seems to be leaning toward them. I'm disappointed in this debate and wish it were a little more balanced.

Apr. 17 2014 10:33 AM
Mia from Manhattan

I adore horses and I feel sorry for anyone being put out of business, but these animals belong at a riding school or a farm, not hauling 3 and 4 people on the traffic-choked streets of Manhattan in freezing winters and sweltering summers.

From commuting across 42nd street I can see the crowds that police horses draw and how much people love to pet them and talk to the cops, clearly many people love horses, but then find a way to open a riding school in Central Park and let the turistas go there and let their kids go for a pony ride on a track of something other than asphalt, and then feed the nice animal a carrot or two when it's over (photo op!), but please, get the poor horses off the streets of Manhattan - they don't belong there.

Apr. 17 2014 10:33 AM

Why did that idiot step into the path of a slow moving horse?
By walking slightly slower or faster, he could have been elsewhere.
Wasn't the horse watching where it was going?

Apr. 17 2014 10:31 AM
monique from nyc

Carriage driver that just called said that horses graze and stand all day but the carriage horses are standing/walking on hot pavement and they are not grazing, they rate fed out of feed bags. Plus the horses have to deal with noise and pollution something that horses grazing in a field do not have to deal with.

Apr. 17 2014 10:29 AM
Deborah from Yorkville

Carriage owner said no large mammal Equine vets support the ban? 5 seconds of google show that is not true, like much of what they say:

Apr. 17 2014 10:29 AM
oscar from ny

Please ppl of the world don't believe these neo pharasses these are the worst hypocrites homeless devils who roam the earth digging a hole to lay eggs..this city is becoming a home for these demons their hunger for real state makes them spew lies about everything, their paranoia of being homeless is driving everyone out of our lives NY is becomes ming like they want to use the horses for an excuse to excavate their trechorous racism..please lord I hasten your return because I'm tired of these mummies and their selpurcre ..these vintage devils will not prevail..if I work let the freaking horses work too and let a group supervise their common welfare that's all..Jesus Christ!!

Apr. 17 2014 10:28 AM
Nancy from NYC

Who's going to want to spend $50 to ride around in a fake antique car?

Apr. 17 2014 10:26 AM
Stan from brooklyn

Animals are not ours to enslave for our entertainment plain and simple.

Apr. 17 2014 10:26 AM
james from manhattan

Regardless of what you think about the horses, this is NOT the time to put not just the 200 drivers but the hundreds of people that work to feed, house and care for the animals on the unemployment line. How does the Mayor say he wants to create jobs, and then layoff hundreds at the same time. Shelve the issue and reexplore when the economy recovers. The old Tyler electric cars, by the way, are just goofy.

Apr. 17 2014 10:25 AM
Dodie from Manhattan

This is the 21st Century! We don't need to see frightened horses on the clogged streets of Manhattan! It's enough to freighten people let alone a horse. IF anywhere, then only INSIDE the park, away from cars and not near the streets.

Apr. 17 2014 10:24 AM

Being a horse in inherently dangerous, no matter where the horse is.
Being on the streets of NYC is inherently dangerous.
But being both does not much increase the dangers.
It's probably less dangerous than being a wild horse in a natural environment with wolves.

Apr. 17 2014 10:24 AM
Hannah from West New York, NJ

If the guy that is funding this whole debate is really interested in helping horses, why doesn't he go after the horse racing industry which affects a LOT more horses than the carriage horse industry and is indisputably detrimental to horses? This is a joke, he is definitely after the land that the stables are on.

Apr. 17 2014 10:24 AM
burtnor from Manhattan

Re comments here:
Cliff: But horses ARE harmed.
Benjamin: Police horses are extremely well treated compared to carriage horses.
Al: I am a horse lover who HATES the site of horses freezing in winter and overheated in summer pulling loads that are too heavy for many of them.

To all romantics: Surely you don't need the sight of a mistreated horse and carriage to feel romantic. And this is not 1914, thank goodness. Nostalgia for a fantasy is not romantic.

NYC removed the stables on the west side that rented horses to ride in Central Park because of the danger to horses and pedestrians on the HORSE PATHS. There is no way to keep horses safe on streets.

Apr. 17 2014 10:23 AM
Henry from Manhattan

I wouldn't mind the carriage business shut down. I support the ban, though I'm not all the strong about it because I feel that it's something society has to come to terms with and a ban cannot go through without a decent amount of community support.

It's not about treatment of the horses. It's 2014, we just don't need horses in NYC. It's not fair to horses. Aside from making a buck that can be made in other ways, horse carriages aren't necessary.

Want a horse ride? Visit the country side where it's far more amenable for horses. Horses aren't at all a part of NYC the way that gondolas are for Venice. Sure, in the 1800s, NYC needed horse carriages, but not anymore. Horses are integral for the Pennsylvania Amish, not NYC.

I'm not holding my breathe whether de Blasio will actually follow through with the ban. I'm doubtful.

Uh, tough human jobs versus tough animal jobs? Sorry, the humans do have some say in whether they continue such jobs, horses, not so much. The comparison is flawed.

Apr. 17 2014 10:23 AM

I've always heard the price of a carriage ride is a RIP-OFF. How much do the carriage drivers charge? I've heard $45.00 + rip for a 5-10 minute ride. And do any locals take carriage rides?

Apr. 17 2014 10:22 AM

agree with Fishmael from NYC

Apr. 17 2014 10:22 AM

revive plans for stables in Central Park abandoned in the & 70"s

Apr. 17 2014 10:22 AM
mgduke from nyc

Caller is right that destruction of the Claremont stables was a great loss.

Restoring horseback riding to the park would be wonderful.

Apr. 17 2014 10:22 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

Pedestrians are at risk in the streets of NYC!

Apr. 17 2014 10:21 AM
sp from nyc

Dog owners have to pick up after their dogs, but these carriage horses leave a truly awful stench along Central Park South. Why isn't this disparity addressed in law?

Apr. 17 2014 10:19 AM
Linda from Harlem

Ban the horse carriages in Manhattan.

And Car free Central Park. The historic car idea was to help the exitsing workers, if they do not like it, then forget the idea.

Apr. 17 2014 10:18 AM
Will from Brooklyn

I haven't heard anyone mention that the horses stink up the road in the southern part of Central Park. The stench from the horses makes it unpleasant for the other 99.9 percent of the people who use the park (runners, walkers, bike riders, etc) and aren't in a horse carriage. I have no problems with the pedicabs in the park and would argue that it is a viable alternative to the horses.

Apr. 17 2014 10:17 AM
tony from nrooklyn

I take issue with the horse carriage driver who just spoke on the air.....the carriages do not spend 95 percent of their time in the park....they spend a huge amount of time clogging the corner of 59th street west of 5th ave avenue trying to get business and they cause a huge amount of traffic at that corner picking up clients and making their way to the park. it is a tremendous inconvenience for commercial drivers (and others) they should be strictly restricted to the park. This minority has a right to conduct business but not at the expense of the overall fluidity of vehicles that need the streets.

Apr. 17 2014 10:17 AM
Robert from Manhattan UWS

I support a ban on Horse Carriages in the City Streets (not Central Park) and support a ban on Cars from Central Park (not the city streets)

Apr. 17 2014 10:17 AM
Kathy from Sunnyside

All I want to know is why a horse was working at 10:30 at night on a cold and damp March night soliciting riders. It was bedtime for all creatures great and small, no? I felt so sorry for that horse.

Ridiculous to say that these horses are like gondola rides in Venice. How many residents New Yorkers have ever taken a ride, not many I'd guess

Apr. 17 2014 10:17 AM

Why not move the horse carriages to Prospect Park? There are already stables and a bridle path there.

Apr. 17 2014 10:16 AM
Burtnor from Manhattan

This guest is ill informed. There are other alternatives: horseless carriages (powered with a golf cart motor)as reported in the NYT, others.

Why don't you have anyone one arguing for horses? Horses have no business on busy NYC streets and parks where they are hit by cars, breath fumes all day, and are NOT treated well by drivers and owners. They only last a few years before having to be put down or dying of injuries.

There are people who made buggy whips and typewriter ribbons who needed to find other jobs. Drivers can drive the horseless alternatives. Why are they complaining? Ban the horse carriages. They are cruel and bizarre in 2014.

Apr. 17 2014 10:15 AM
Dpatriss from Manhattan

Cars to replace horses? How unromantic. Horse and carriage in park - very romantic . And some children seeing and petting the horses may be only time they get to see horses,
When the protestors were out last year, I asked some of them that if the horses are mistreated, instead of banning them, why not enforce rules to prevent that? Also the drivers told me the protestors were paid to protest, true?

Apr. 17 2014 10:14 AM
mgduke from nyc

Banishing these beautiful, healthy carriage horses from Central Park would harm all New Yorkers.

The presence among us of these powerful, gentle, amiable animals helps to heal the spiritual wounds of city life, the disconnection from our place in nature that dehumanizes us in our shriveled, artificial environment.

I urge Mayor DeBlasio to keep the horses and carriages in Central Park, and to create stables, paddock, and riding facilities there.

Apr. 17 2014 10:14 AM
robert from NYC

That's pretty stupid to say, and to aggree, that a hourse can still lead a lousy life in a sanctuary when sanctuaries are preciesly there to provide a better life for abandoned and abused animals. Im sure they would be sent to caring farms. DUH!

Apr. 17 2014 10:14 AM

If the city fails to ban horses, how will the real estate moguls steal the stables?

Apr. 17 2014 10:13 AM
Clif from Manhattan

I hear that Fishmael from NYC! It seems that there should just be more oversight, enforcement and/or new laws to assure that horses are being treated right. I do think it is a nice thing to do for people to be able to take a horse/carriage ride as long as the horses don't suffer.

Apr. 17 2014 10:13 AM
Susan from Brooklyn

Anyone who has been to Central Park in August has witnessed these horses lined up in the street with the sun blaring down on them in 95 degree weather, stuck there breathing in taxi cab exhaust for hours on end. They are filthy sad and miserable.

The drivers are against it because it is a cash business and it is obviously beneficial on their tax returns.

Not to mention these streets are filled with thousands of tourists. There have been countless accidents and it is only a matter of time till we see a fatality. I only hope it does not come to that.

Ban the carriages now!

Apr. 17 2014 10:13 AM

If the city fails to ban horses, how will the real estate moguls steal the stables?

Apr. 17 2014 10:11 AM
korgy from brooklyn

it also strikes that some residents feel they have an entitlement to this city's being stuck in the status quo because their families their families have been here for generations. this city is and has always been about progress and moving into the future. things change and people become more conscious -- hopefully.

Apr. 17 2014 10:11 AM

Make an area in Central Park where horse can run free range and where tourists can view them and close Central Park off from cars so it can be a safer area for horses, walkers, runners & bikers.

Apr. 17 2014 10:10 AM
Bobby G from East Village

Have you ever seen the wonderful scene with Nathan Lane and Bette Midler riding in a horse drawn carriage in Central Park in the movie Isn't She Great?

What are Mayor de Blasio"s qualifications to determine what is or isn't inhumane for horses?

Apr. 17 2014 10:10 AM
Fishmael from NYC

Wouldn't it be great if homeless children in NYC generated the same excitement and uproar?

Apr. 17 2014 10:08 AM
William Davis from Brooklyn

Wouldn't all the arguments about carriage horses apply to police horses? Is the mayor calling for the removal of the mounted police uint?

Apr. 17 2014 10:08 AM
Al from Westchester

Don't be an obnoxious horse hater forcing weirdness down the throats of horse lovers.

Apr. 17 2014 10:08 AM
humane human

A humane society should ban the use of Humans to Hot Tar leaking roofs in NYC. No more inhumane treatment of human workers!

Apr. 17 2014 10:08 AM
Garrett Buckley

Follow the money. All this is, is an attempt to redevelop the west side currently occupied by the stables.

Apr. 17 2014 10:07 AM
korgy from brooklyn

"Central Park was designed to be viewed from carriages..."

what an inane and illogical argument put forth by some...many plantations were designed to have good views of its slaves as they were working. does that mean we should have saved slavery?

illogic has no bounds

Apr. 17 2014 10:07 AM
Benjamin Marshall from Plainfield, NJ

I wonder why it is the Central Park horses are considered to be mistreated, when some NYC police are on horseback. Sometimes I think that the horses in service to the police department are potentially in more distress than mare pulling a carriage in Central Park.

Apr. 17 2014 10:06 AM
James from Brooklyn

The cars are a ridiculous idea. If you want to ban animals in the city please ban large dogs - the majority of which never get adequate exercise and the city is overflowing with animal waste from irresponsible pet owners. Where are the horse going to go? Glue factories? Perhaps no animals should live in NYC, including humans.

Apr. 17 2014 10:06 AM
korgy from brooklyn

"Central Park was designed to be viewed from carriages..."

what an inane and illogical argument put forth by some...many plantations were designed to have good views of its slaves as they were working. does that mean we should have saved slavery?

illogic has no bounds

Apr. 17 2014 10:06 AM
Cynthia Crane from Long Island

Please tell listeners that there is a Real Estate component to this as the stables once emptied of horses will be developers' gold. Thank you. Keep the horses for my 5th generation New York grandsons who love them.

Apr. 17 2014 10:06 AM

If the horses lose their jobs what will become of them.

Apr. 17 2014 10:02 AM

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