Time Running Out for Carriage Horses

Monday, February 17, 2014

A horse is lead down a city street to a waiting carriage near the West Side Stables in New York City. A horse is lead down a city street to a waiting carriage near the West Side Stables in New York City. (Amy Pearl/WNYC)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is moving forward with his plan to ban carriage horses from giving rides in Central Park.

“We are going to quickly and aggressively move to make horse carriages no longer a part of the landscape in New York City, they’re not humane they’re not appropriate to the year 2014, it’s over,” said de Blasio just before taking office.


A New York City carriage horse housed at the West Side Stables. (Amy Pearl/WNYC)

But about 160 drivers, some of them members of Teamsters Local No. 553, have vowed to buck the mayor’s plan.

“De Blasio is a new mayor, and he thinks that he’s just going to walk in and end it and say it’s over? He doesn’t know New Yorkers very well,” said carriage horse driver Steve Malone.


A horse is led down the ramp at the West Side Stables in New York City. (Amy Pearl/WNYC)

Animal activists have been trying for decades to shut the industry down. 

“These are sentient beings, animals meant to be out in the countryside, running, grazing,” said Allie Feldman, executive director of anti-carriage group NYCLASS, New Yorkers for Clean Livable and Safe Streets. Feldman wants the carriages replaced with electric antique cars, something the mayor has suggested as well.


A horse peeks out of its stall at the West Side Stables. (Amy Pearl/WNYC)

The co-founder of NYCLASS is also a real estate mogul. Steve Nislick was at one time the CEO of the Edison Properties, the company that also owns Manhattan Mini Storage. Carriage drivers and stable owners allege Nislick is only interested in turning the stables into high rise condos, which NYCLASS denies. Nislick declined an interview with WNYC.


A carriage horse clops through traffic down 55th Street in Manhattan, back toward the West Side Stables. (Amy Pearl/WNYC)

NYCLASS has promised to find new situations for all New York City carriage horses if a citywide ban puts them out of work. But rescue groups are skeptical.


A carriage horse lays down in the stall at West Side Stables. (Amy Pearl/WNYC)

“We are short on dollars and long on horses,” said Neila McCracken, head of Saddlebred Rescue  and North Wind Stables


A carriage horse makes its way down the ramp at the West Side Stables. (Amy Pearl/WNYC)

Without a job in New York City, "A whole buy of horses [will be] shipped straight to slaughter because there's no place for them to go," added McCracken.


Stephen Malone, spokesman for the Horse and Carriage Association, gets his rig ready to roll. (Amy Pearl/WNYC)

De Blasio refused an interview on horse carriages, but his Administration emailed a statement:

“Mayor de Blasio remains committed to banning horse carriages and replacing them with motorized vehicles. In coordination with the Department of Health, the Administration is looking at the most effective way to ban horse carriages, whether legislatively or other routes, and will move forward in the coming weeks.”


Carriage Driver Jean Mitchnej with his horse, Scoobi at Clinton Park Stables, New York City (Janet Babin, WNYC)

The drivers vow to take legal action if an agreement with the city cannot be reached.


Cinderella's Parking Lot, Clinton Park Stables, NYC (Janet Babin/WNYC)

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story described Steve Nislick as the owner of Manhattan Mini Storage and Edison Properties. He was a former CEO.



Amy Pearl


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Comments [55]

Amanda Durant from Greenwich Village

I agree that there is nothing wrong with driving draft horses, so long as they get turned out to pasture regularly and don't have their noses to tailpipes every day, breathing in exhaust fumes from motor vehicles and, sometimes, getting dangerously spooked. NYC carriage horses are in harnesses far too long in a working day too. Stop romanticizing it. End it. It's cruel treatment. It just is.

Apr. 25 2014 07:31 PM
Naomi from NYC

I am a visuel arist and take great joy in seeing the beauty of the horses and carriages that are always uplifting. It would be a great loss to lose the opportunity to be reminded of a time before the automobile. I would feel a great loss if we could no longer experience the beauty of these magnificent creatures here, in NYC!

Apr. 14 2014 10:28 AM
Michael from NYC

Dont get rid of the horses, get rid of DeBlasio!!!

Apr. 14 2014 09:59 AM
Ellen from Washington, D.C.

Mayor De Blasio wants to make a name for himself - it won't be a good name. He wants to take away the lives of these horses and the drivers. NYC is known for the horses and carriage rides - this is something that most cities don't have. Yea, De Blasio get rid of the horses and drivers - drivers go on unemployment and the horses no longer have their purpose in life. These horses are well cared for - better than a lot of people in NYC. Drivers will understand when they lose their jobs, but horses won't understand - horses will become depressed feeling unwanted and not needed, they will lose their daily contact (socializing) with humans, children will no longer have contact with horses and eventually children won't even know what a horse is; today's children think that their food comes from the grocery store, they don't even know food comes from farms. Sad day for De Blasio. I hope when election time rolls around people remember what you had planned to do and did.

Feb. 19 2014 11:13 AM

I am an equine veterinarian, I certainly can evaluate whether a horse is stressed or abused, or sick or lame. I also own and drive carriage horses for pleasure inNJ.
I visited the NYC carriage horse stables and even got to ride in one of the carriages to central park- what a thrill! MY driver, Ron,said horse do a6 hr shift, they have feed and water available, & do not work if snow/ice and if temp is greater than 88 degrees or less than 18. His horse, Rebecca, gave a delightful ride through central park. She was in excellent condition, healthy, hooves well cared for and shod properly. All the horses lined up waiting for customers were blanketed, and very often fed carrots by passers-by. NONE seemed stressed.
At the stables, I met with Steve Malone and was given a tour. I was very impressed how 70+ horses could be housed in a building in New York. There are 3 floors of stalls -each stall 12X12-plenty of room for horse to lay down in. Most horses get out of the stall 6-8hours/day. ALl looked content& healthy. Health papers were on each stall. Every horse is required to have health inspection and vaccinated every 6 months. They also get 6 weeks vacation turnout per year. I saw their feed and hay, of excellent quality. Good Ventilation , the stalls were clean and well bedded-manure is picked up 4-5x/day. There is a system of manure disposal down a shoot to a truck hat goes to mushroom growers. The horses were either laying down in their stalls or poking heads out to be petted or given a treat. There is a veterinarian available 24/7. There is absolutely no sign of stress, illness, or abuse in these animals. I asked Steve where he gets his horses from. He mentioned that many of these horses had been driving carriages in NY city for 15 years. Some he gets from the Amish in PA. Having seen the horses in Amish country and the hard work they do, I think driving a carriage in central park and even the city streets is FAR better than the plight of work horses in Amish farm country. I asked how does he break a new one to traffic? They take them out daily through traffic on a lead line for several days. Once acclimated, they then take them out hitched to carriage with 3 experienced drivers-2 on the ground and 1 in carriage. The horses learn their job quickly and become absolutely traffic safe. Of 70 + horses that drive every day the streets of New York, only 1 major accident has occurred in 20 years. That's a pretty good safety record. So the mayor's argument that there is a safety issue doesn't hold strength, nor animal abuse.
It is my professional opinion, that the NY City carriage horses are not abused in any way, are healthy and well cared for and trained for traffic. It would be sad to lose this NY icon for political reasons or greedy real estate developers. Mayor DiBlasio, perhaps you should take a ride in a carriage and enjoy the fresh air, and see for yourself the condition of these horses.

Feb. 18 2014 12:10 PM
Nick Bacon from UWS, Manhattan

Full disclosure to start: I have no financial or other interest in the carriage, real estate, storage or parking garage industries. I am a "horse person" having ridden and worked with horses for over 30 years, both in the UK and here. I am registered as a Democrat and considered to be a liberal.

Like any horse lover I was concerned to hear accusations of abuse. Unlike some of the rent-a-mob protesters who close their eyes to the facts, I went to see for myself. I walked the hack line, spoke with the teamsters and - most importantly - visited the stables.

I am more than satisfied that these horses are not abused or ill treated. Their welfare is overseen by several city and other authorities and no owner or driver has EVER been convicted for ill treating an animal.
AS others have said, follow the money trail. NYCLASS is heavily funded by developers who, whatever they may say to the cameras, are desperate to get their hands on the stable blocks and also by those who would seek to supply (at considerable expense) electric charabancs to the carriage owners whose lives and livelihoods they have destroyed. Where are these teamsters supposed to raise the finance, when the proposed legislation debars them for selling their horses on the open market.

If you doubt my apparent cynicism, ask yourself why the Mayor is only targetting carriage horses? What about all the other working animals in the city? NYPD horses spend a lot more time in traffic than the carriage horses, and the Parks Department horses regularly negotiate gradients steeper and longer than the ramps in the stables. Something like 30 horses died at Aquaduct Racecourse last year, but where is NYCLASS on that? Other animals work for us in the city; law enforcement agencies use dogs, and the animals in the zoos provide entertainment. There are riding horses available in The Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn. The mayor and NYCLASS have said nothing about these, so why are these other working animals not under threat as well? The only answer that I can think of is that none of these others are occupying real estate coveted by some of the Mayor's campaign donors.

The Mayor's office has been bought by a greedy cabal and I see his attempt to pay them back by destroying a successful, iconic and popular (62% of those new Yorkers polled recently are in favor of keeping the horse carriages) industry as blatant corruption that I had hoped died in this city long ago. I have to say that the way the mayor obtained a buddy's release from jail only confirms my view that De Blassio is proving to be the Boss Tweed of the 21st Century. A man so unused to animals that he dropped a groundhog on its head does not know enough to tell people with years of experience that they are ill treating horses.

Feb. 18 2014 08:31 AM

Let me say first, that I have 44 years of experience with horses from saddle seat, western, hunt seat, trail riding, polo, foxhunting, etc. I also live in the middle of "Amish Country", land of the horse and buggy. #1. These NYC carriage horses are obviously happy, healthy, and NOT abused.
#2. Their stables are on a par with, or nicer than, a lot of professional stables, which are very nice themselves.
#3. While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, it would help to at least know what you are talking about. If you truly care about the horses, take the time to really learn about them and what THEY truly like and need.
#4. Reading Black Beauty does not fall under learning about horses.
#5. There are clear guidelines on what constitutes abuse based on industry regulations and animal knowledge by people who went to school for that. #6. If you truly want to help abused animals, use your time and energy on slaughterhouses that send conscious, alive animals down the processing line, horse auctions like Camelot and New Holland Sales Stables that send truckloads of horses (including the babies) to slaughterhouses in Canada, dog fighting rings that steal household pets for "bait" to practice on.
#7. If that's too much work and effort for you, then please find another "cause du jour" to keep your name in the paper. These people and animals just want to do their jobs.

Feb. 18 2014 12:29 AM
Vficki Brain from AR

Please read Jon Katz's excellent posts about this at and join the cause to KEEP the carriage horses in NYC where they belong. Only one horse has been lost in over 20 years. These horses are loved and well cared for --please share about this on FB, Pinterest --wherever you can think of.

Feb. 17 2014 09:50 PM
wingeddancer from Astoria

I have three young kids who tell me that we have a "bad" mayor. They want the horses to stay in Central Park! Hey...The kids know. It would be a huge mistake to remove the horses. NYC does not need more cars. I sure don't want to see Central Park at Christmas in a car!

Feb. 17 2014 08:25 PM
Phyllis Derock from bradenton fl

Deblasio is just another 'bought and paid for' politician. He is willing to be the front man for a small crew of greedy thieves who continue to plunder the people of this country. People who send their children to war and college and factories...praying that the future will be more fair than the past. Now he wants to turn our tradition into high rises. crook, liar, cheat!!!

Feb. 17 2014 08:18 PM
Cynde from Michigan

When I think of a relaxing, leisurely tour of Central Park and the surrounding area I think of a horse-drawn carriage ride. The carriages are a wonderful and historic way to see NYC. Maybe there has been a horse that died in the street but there is no guarantee that if he had been running free he would still be alive. It all depends on what actually caused the death. I lost a horse last year who injured her leg while she was running free in a 20 acre field. She had to be euthanized due to the injury. Keep the horses and the carriages. Why would I want to travel around in an electric car to see NYC? I already spend most of my life driving in a car - the carriages are a nice change.

Feb. 17 2014 07:55 PM
Kim from Tennessee

Most people have no idea the cost of keeping a horse healthy and happy. It takes more money than most people could afford. Just as importantly it takes time, at least a quarter of a day. Does anyone believe that horses that have been rescued get enough attention and interaction? Feeding a horse and giving it room to run is not enough. That is like feeding a dog and leaving it in the yard with no company. NY carriages horses have a better life and more regular meals then many families. I really don't understand how anyone could be so cruel as to try to take a horse from its care giver, the horse and the driver would both have a broken heart. And the horses would never be able to understand what they had done to make their people leave them.

Feb. 17 2014 07:31 PM

Temporary storage is a huge revenue business. Beware, New Yorkers. Temporary storage rather than condos is what NYCLASS is after, for the time being. That's why they deny it's condos!

What a train wreck de Blasio is!

Feb. 17 2014 07:21 PM
Laura Freund from Northwest Connecticut

It would be a very sad day for all New Yorkers to loose the horses in the city. How many of them will never get to see an animal as majestic as the horse if these animals are taken out of the city! They will be seen only in books or on tv, never again up close and personal. Taking city people further away from the world of animals. I am deeply saddened by this assault on the carriage drivers and their wonderful horses. Sad. Sad. Sad.

Feb. 17 2014 07:11 PM
Johnathan from New York

Allie Feldman embodies the shear arrogance and ignorance of every Animal Rights Cult around. They romanticize and mythologize what they know nothing about all for the love of money. That's what this is about. These Animal Rights groups make the most corrupt Televangelist look saintly. Anyone genuine journalist need go to the regulating bodies and animal science community to find that the mission of NYCLASS, the ASPCA, and PeTA and their donors like Steve Nilslick of NJ is corrupt.

Feb. 17 2014 05:22 PM
North Slope Farmer from Park Slope

I divide my time between NYC and upstate NY, where I own two horses. I oppose banning the use of carriage horses in our city. They are part of our charm and history. Equines, by nature, like to work and like routine. I've seen these horses - up close and not just in photos - and they seem calm and well cared for. I do worry about their futures if they are no longer allowed in the city. At this time it's very difficult to find homes for horses and many do indeed meet bad ends. Even if these particular animals go to adoptive homes or sanctuaries, they will take the place of other, more desperately in-need horses.
Could a compromise not be found in stabling the horses in Central Park, so they would not be venturing out into traffic? Overall, it does seem that the industry is well regulated, but there could certainly be another review to alleviate any concerns.
For a look at the plight of working horses in many other parts of the world, check out the Brooke Foundation at Their mission is to alleviate the suffering of working equines through veterinary care, educating owners and helping to provide better conditions. One can get a real sense of the truly miserable lives these creatures lead, as opposed to our NYC horses. Brooke is a terrific organization which I came across while traveling in the Middle East. I would suggest that the animals Brooke helps are vastly more in need of our help.

Feb. 17 2014 04:41 PM

I wish the horses and carriages could be limited to Central Park, but driving them in heavy traffic is unacceptable.

Feb. 17 2014 04:03 PM
Liar Liar

Allie Feldman is nothing but a paid liar (though I believe she would lie even if she wasn't paid). She is nothing but a puppet for Nislick and DeBlasio. There are no electric cars and never will be. Feldman thinks that there are open fields that horses just run free in, but the questions she will not answer is who pays for their vet bills? Shoes? Dentist? Grain? Hay and anything else the horse may need.

She says there are rescues and sanctuaries lined up to take these horses but she does not realize is that in order for these rescues to continue helping horses in need they need to find homes for the horses they have helped. The proposed bill states that if these horses go to a rescue or sanctuary that they will never be sold or worked and will live out their lives at that facility. So Allie, are you going to use your corrupt money to care for these horses? Who will?

These radicals are nothing but liars, you want to know the real story....follow the money? The money will lead to corruption, real estate and greed.

If these imaginary places that Allie claim exist and have room then why are they not rescuing actual horses in need, horses that are neglected and actually abused?

Allie, you are a fraud and the public is starting to notice that you don't care about the horses, you only care about yourself and pushing your vegan agenda to better yourself and destroy others, the horses included.

Feb. 17 2014 03:36 PM
Kim from Horse Country

Great piece, but it makes it seem like these horses are old broken down nags who, if not in Central Park, need to be retired - that's just not true. Many of the horses are young, and all are healthy, fit and sound. There is no reason they should be forced out of New York to become over-fed pasture puffs. I hear the law they are trying to pass will require the horses go to sanctuaries. The horses are private property for heaven's sake, the mayor needs to learn a lesson about keeping his hands off what isn't his to take.

Feb. 17 2014 03:23 PM
Kathy from Kentucky

To all of you that think driving a horse is abuse. Have you ever done it? What is abusive about it? I am a driver and my horses and ponies are extremely well cared for and, like most animals, enjoy having some sort of work to do. They are DOMESTICATED animals and need us to care for them. Left "in the wild" most would not live very long. There are so many other worthy animal causes out there that it is ludicrous that so much time and energy is being spent trying to destroy the carriage drivers lives and put these animals out of work. The city basically wants to confiscate personal property and destroy any these small businesses. These horses are overseen by so many regulatory agencies it would make your head spin. These horses are happy, healthy and being cared for to the nth degree. And before you humaneiacs ask "how do you know they're happy?" I can tell by looking at them. Bright eyes, curious expressions, eagerness to move forward. That is a happy, healthy horse.

Feb. 17 2014 02:59 PM
pat from Rhode Island

The Mayor has repeatedly said it is over, and that the horses will be replaced by motorized electric vehicles. Why has no one inquired as to who will get that contract, and what it will cost since it appears that THAT part of the deal has also been signed, sealed, and delivered without any hearings, public input?

Did the New York voters realize that they were electing a dictator who operates at his own whim and with THEIR money to satisfy it?

Feb. 17 2014 02:35 PM
Andrea from on the farm

We would not be where we are today as a civilization if it were nor for our partnership with horses. From before the tme of the ancient Egyptians, mankind has shared a special partnership with horses. Horses contributes torhe development of trade and travel routes, carried man into war, built cities, carried man in sport and so much more. No other animal has has such an important stamp on the history and development of mankind and of civilization.

Now we are at a crossroads in time. Because of modernization there are few people that can lay claim to sharing that special bond between man and horse. Horses are no longer a necessity for transport, for farming, etc...however there are people that are still horsemen. They enjoy spending time working alongside and caring for their equine partners, but those that are removed from horses due to modernization seem to equate working horses with slavery.

These "removed" people don't know and can't understand the partnership. They do kor know how happy horses are to work alongside humans as they have done for over 5000 years. Because they lack this knowledge and understanding, they see the work as cruelty. They use emotional terms such as shackles to carriages, caged in cells/stalls, horses collapse (apparently they don't slip or fall, it is always a collapse). If a horse catches a snooze then the horse is "depressed" and if a horse cocks a hind leg - normal behavior he is apparently lame. These "removed" people see. Horse picking up loose grain on a sidewalk and think it is insanitary but I promise you that no farmer I know disinfects their pastures and fields. The "removed" people think the horses should be "running free" on pastures somewhere so they do no have to be in summer heat or winter cold. Pastures in NY fer just as hot and just as cold as the city.

Horse that have been need for 1000 generations as working horses actually like working. They enjoy being with people, they enjoy having a routine. Take that away from them and they often get depressed and their health can decline.

The horses in NYC are the most regulated in the country. Their healthcare, their working conditions and their vacation time is the most stringent in the world and these horses work daily in the very public eye. To claim they are "abused" when they are mandated better care than the majority of the horses on the US is ludicrous. The carriage horses need to stay.

Feb. 17 2014 02:34 PM

The horses are beautiful, healthy, and doing a job they love. To the average person who has only seen horses in movies or on television, the sight of a horse working doesn't fit the ideal in their minds, so they think they're tired or unhappy. They are not. They are in their routine, and happy. A mature, sensible horse like the carriage horses are does not need or want to gallop at liberty all day. They're happy doing their jobs, a very interesting job for horses, who are naturally curious. Their workday gives them a great variety in sights and sounds, and horses love that. Keep these horses where they are!

Feb. 17 2014 02:30 PM

Nice to read good, supportive comments to keep the NYC Horse Drawn Carriages in NYC where they belong, NYC's greatest living icon. Central Park was designed to be seen from a horse drawn carriage.
Too bad the mayor was bought by s. nisTick and his cadre of parasitic carpet baggers intent on stealing the coveted Manhattan carriage stable property - to be developed as up market condos AND contrive to steal the carriage horses away from their rightful owners. Shame on the new mayor. The carriage horses are fine where they are right now - either in their stables with 24/7 security and water sprinkler systems, free choice hay, fresh water and clean stalls, or out getting lots of loving attention from the people of NYC and visitors alike, and ideal exercise and fresh air strolling around Central Park. Yes, unfortunately nistick and forel and allie whatserface have no compassion for people or real horses in need otherwise they'd be down at the new holland auction buying up unwanted and neglected horses and provide those horses with the best of care to ensure them a long and content life - similar to what NYC carriage horses have. but, no, they are intent on swindling more money via nyclass - for what??? a dirty, toxic electric jalopy that no one in their right mind would pay to sit in or want to drive around Central Park?

Feb. 17 2014 02:28 PM
Kathryn from Massachusetts

The unjustified animal rights language in these comments is an emotional appeal to call attention to a problem that doesn't exist:
terror, exploitation, cruelty, cages, slavery, misery
There is no evidence to support that any of these words are a part of the experience of New York carriage horses. Only if you believe that any use of animals - and that would have to include as pets/companions - is wrong can you say these mutually beneficial human/horse partnerships are wrong. Don't let these PETAesque nuts continue towards their goal of no animals alongside us. Call and write NY City Council and the mayor and let them know you want the horses to stay.

Feb. 17 2014 02:18 PM

If there are so many sanctuaries all lined up to give these horses home, which already have loving homes to begin with, why are they not helping the actual needy horses at the auctions or being starved in their own backyards because the owners don't want to feed them and horses that have left loose in the wild to fend for themselves when that precious child who so wanted a horse and would take of it forever looses interest and the parents just open the gates. These horses are the ones who need the so called spaces at these loving homes that are supposedly lined up

Feb. 17 2014 02:13 PM

I don't understand why. A few well off people scream "abuse" and the mayor listens to them? What kind of mayor is that? NYCLASS is a bunch of liars, who use rhetoric, lies and half-truths to get what they want. The horses are happy doing their jobs. Don't listen to PETA, they have no idea what they are talking about.

Feb. 17 2014 02:06 PM
Robin from New Albany, PA

This has nothing to do with horses being mistreated or abused but with delivering a property to a developer who is a financial supporter of the new Mayor. Horses were a part of New York City long before it became New York City. Horses love to work and love routine. It is important all know the truth . If the carriage horses are banned who is next? Your dog?

Feb. 17 2014 01:57 PM

If having horses pull carriages is cruel and archaic, why are we watching and cheering the Budweiser Clydesdales at the Super Bowl?

Feb. 17 2014 01:50 PM
Candace from St. Louis

A wonderful thing that should not go away.

Feb. 17 2014 01:50 PM

I was born in NYC and have lived here my entire life. These horses were bred to work. They enjoy it. They are well cared for and if not for this work many would be slaughtered for dog food. What about police horses should we ban them from the city? What about service animals who have to work should we ban them also? A bunch of super naive animal rights people are being exploited by real estate interests. Wake up.

Feb. 17 2014 01:38 PM
Marcia Curran from Old Chatham New York

When I see these horses and their owners and drivers, I see a wonderful partnership enhancing the city of New York. The horses are beautifully groomed, obviously healthy, well-fed and well-loved. Horses and drivers know their jobs well and take their work seriously. Statistically, it seems to be about the safest thing on wheels in the city! I salute and support the Carriage Horses of New York and their people.

Feb. 17 2014 01:35 PM

The carriage horses are bred for this type of work. They are happy, they love the attention and they are well taken care of. Leave them alone. They are serving a purpose and doing no harm. If you take them away you are taking away their lively hood and their drivers lively hood. Who are going to suppose the drivers/owners and their families? Is the city of NY going to give them jobs? No they aren't. Its all about real estate.... Leave the horses alone. Any one who says this is cruel and inhumane have no knowledge of horses. Horses like to work. They enjoy the interaction. I am a horse owner. Leave the NYC Horses alone.

Feb. 17 2014 01:30 PM
Jean from New York City

Some of these comments are depressing. People say that horse drawn carriages have been a tradition for years. Well, so was slavery. So was burning witches at the stake and disallowing women the vote. How can anyone condone the use and abuse of these wonderful sentient beings? Haven't we evolved at all? Haven't they served us enough? Isn't it time to stop the exploitation? Horse drawn carriages are nothing but an anomaly, the use and abuse of a poor, victimized nonhuman animal, who, could s/he talk (animals are not its), would much prefer a life that was suited to her nature, and you can bet it would not be to pull silly tourists back and forth on the crowded, noisy, smelly, freezing, sweltering and dangerous streets of NYC (or in Central Park) for their inane amusement. These carriages are cruel and barbaric, akin to the days of the Roman games, and their only purpose is to make some people filthy rich. My hat goes off to our compassionate mayor. Finally, someone has the courage to make a political move in a humane and just direction. Finally we have a politician who respects the inherent value of another sentient nonhuman being and recognizes that they do not exist for the sake of serving us imperious humans. It will be one joyous day when these horses are freed to roam and graze and to live out their natural lives in well-deserved peace.

Feb. 17 2014 12:59 PM
suzinne from Bronx

Like how all the people commenting about keeping the carriage rides, who frankly only qualify as "tourists" of NYC, are weighing in here about the carriage horses. Yeah, let's take a romantic horse driven carriage ride through Central Park! Native New Yorkers never do this because, one, we don't have the money, and two, more importantly we KNOW better. These drivers exploit these horses to the max. They don't care if the horse is injured, and all they care about is just keep those bills coming. Enough of this abomination.

Feb. 17 2014 12:44 PM
Polly McBride

It is a ridiculous statement that an organization would lead a five year effort to ban an industry just to purchase real estate. It is a misleading argument that the carriage industry uses because they have no leg to stand on. I'm proud of our Mayor and his commitment to ending this abusive industry

Feb. 17 2014 12:44 PM
Harry from Astoria

Missing from this article are the photos of carriage horses like Charlie, Luke, Doreen, Chris and Oreo who either died on city streets, collapsed or were hit by cars in NYC traffic.

Feb. 17 2014 12:44 PM
Lulu Snow from Upper East Side

Funny that despite the fact that both the NY Times and NY Magazine have debunked this carriage industry created myth that Steve Nislick wants the real estate, WNYC continues to perpetuate this lie.
Steve has publicly stated many times that he has zero interest in the land -- you can read it here:
He's a 70 year old retiree who left Edison to focus on animal rights full time -- and he should be commended for that.

Feb. 17 2014 12:41 PM
Joan from Upper West Side

No, the carriage horses are not going to slaughter. NYCLASS, ASPCA, HSUS and numerous compassionate folks have already pledged to provide adoption homes for the horses.
The hysteria over slaughter is a desperate fear mongering tactic fabricated by the carriage industry.

Feb. 17 2014 12:25 PM
Bobby G from East Village

I agree with Donald and Roy at the bottom of this comments page.

To Anne Jones, what are your qualifications to make a determination that the horse drawn carriage trade is abusive? As far as "archaic", what is inherently wrong with that? There is a wonderful scene in the movie, Isn't She Great, with Nathan Lane and Bette Midler riding in a horse drawn carriage in Central Park. Why rob everybody of this wonderful New York City tradition?

Feb. 17 2014 11:37 AM
Jen from NYC

If it's true that horses will face slaughter because there is not enough retirement support to handle the need, why can't we consider a compromise. Can the city dedicate part of central park for stables and an outdoor area so they can graze and socialize? Also it can be required that carriage rides are given only within the park. This way the horses live and work in a better environment, people can even visit when the horses are outside their stables and the horses no longer have to 'commute' by city streets and are away from the many threats of city roadways. The drivers can still come to the entrance of the park at 59th street where the tourists gather, but the carriage rides remain within the park.

Feb. 17 2014 11:37 AM
Charlie di Giacomo from Queens, NY

i am really excited that we finally have a mayor that will put at end to this inhumane industry. In the year 2014 there is no justification for having horses pull tourists through crowded midtown traffic. It is a safety hazard for all who want to enjoy New York City.

Feb. 17 2014 11:21 AM

two separate issues here.
horses cant tell us of their terror in traffic, their misery in extremes of weather, or even their joy. they have however collapsed in traffic, and occasionally died.
the idea that there is potentially no alternative "use" for horses, that their future is the meat grinder, points to our failure as guardian to a species that has served our needs for eons.
their welfare should not be woven into city politics, school closings, snow removal, bike lanes or homeless issues.

Feb. 17 2014 10:46 AM
scs from AB

can people be this stupid?

Feb. 17 2014 09:49 AM
Roseann Sorrentino from Hudson Valley, NY

this is very sad that this mayor in NYC has nothing else better to do than to ban this remarkable and wonderful piece of history NYC has left. Horse drawn carriages came wayyyy before the motor vehicle and they were here in NYC first before motorized vehicles were even made. It will be a sad day for NYC and the mayor is only bringing this city down and he knows it. He wants what he wants and he seems to be dictating during his speeches on how he believes he should run this city. THIS CITY is still and will always be for the people by the people. It was made by the hands backs and knees of the people. He CANNOT take it away from them.

Feb. 17 2014 09:49 AM

Look horses can Share the Road in cities...NYC horses are well looked after by their owners and drivers...agencies are in place to make sure the horses are protected...the stables pay fees to operate legally.. that industry provides jobs for the horses the drivers and brings in revenue to the city...YES JOBS for the horses...horses have been around a long time working with humans its a standard equation ...self righteous groups like nyclass have no ideas about horses and how they are taken cared for and how they need to be worked and loved..they(nyclass) are a small voice in this world if you really look at it..horses all over the world don't have it as good as NYC horses..please please NYC don't let a special interest group do away with your horse buckle under pressure to them and who knows what crazies see this as an opportunity and want to take something else away from you... I see people everyday petting the horses asking to feed them a carrot..animal right (AR) people stand off to the side screaming and yelling waving signs and never offer any human contact to the horses ..i believe they are afraid to touch a horse because they will see and feel that bond that horses and humans have enjoyed throughout time..afraid to admit that they might be wrong...

Feb. 17 2014 09:38 AM
Dave from Brooklyn

one needs only look at the photos above where these horses spend the majority of the day locked in a cage to know this is wrong and needs to come to an end. NYC is better than this.

Feb. 17 2014 09:31 AM
Anne Jones

Time for this abusive and archaic "tradition" to end. Thank you New York for electing a progressive mayor. Now let's get those horses to sanctuaries, pronto.

Feb. 17 2014 09:16 AM
julie from Rhode Island

Banning horse drawn carriages is wrong on so very many fronts. It is NOT dangerous (if danger were the issue, then what about bicyclists? Pedestrians? Many many more injuries and fatalities arise from those activities). What's the most disingenuous is there pretend compassion for the horses. Anyone looking at these animals can see they are content and not stressed. On the other hand, about 45 minutes away from NYC stands Camelot Auction, a sad facility in NJ where neglected and unwanted horses arrive with the hope that SOMEONE will take them. But there are not enough homes and not enough money. Many of them end up going to a kill-buyer, shipped to Mexico. DO ANY OF THESE SO CALLED ANIMAL RIGHTS PEOPLE EVEN CARE? No!! It's too inconvenient and too hard for them to try to assist animals that really need help. They'd rather stand on a street corner in Central Park and save stupid signs and make up lies, it's easier, and they can feel like they've "done something". The fact that your mayor buys into this crap is UNBELIEVABLE.

Feb. 17 2014 08:56 AM
scs from AB

P.S. You people should be proud you elected such a dumbass mayor, that his first concern is those horses, while you live in that toilet!

Feb. 17 2014 08:41 AM
scs from Alex Bay, NY An agriculture area!

Once again dumbass liberals are sticking their noses in where they show how stupid they really are! Those horse have better life than 1/2 the people who live in that hole called New York City! Please support making us, up state NY the 51st state. WE are sick of having our lives out vote by that shit hole they call New York City! Animal rights people are clueless!

Feb. 17 2014 08:37 AM
Barb from Queens

Our esteemed mayor thinks it is dangerous for carriage horses to be on the street, but he it is OK to endanger the lives of children and school staff on a day when we are told to stay off the streets for a weather emergency? Sounds like deBlasio and Avella are drinking the same KoolAid!

Feb. 17 2014 08:33 AM


Feb. 17 2014 08:08 AM
Roy from Queens

Donald, you're right on the money. This is just an inane solution to a problem that doesn't exist on a wide scale. If carriage horses are being abused, there should be rules to deal with that, like how animals are treated on a film/TV set (I worked on the upcoming TV series "The Knick", which employed carriage horses).

Feb. 17 2014 07:58 AM
Donald from New york city

Horse drawn carriages have been a part of NYC for years. They cause no pollution and use no gas. they have helped our tourist industry. they have given work to the carriage drivers and joy to lovers and families. If there is any mistreatment to horses, enforce the rules or make new ones. Don't throw out the baby with the bath water. We need less single car traffic in new york, not less horse and carriage traffic.

Feb. 17 2014 07:25 AM

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