New York: Many US cities have quintessential sights and sounds: San Francisco’s clanging cable cars, New Orleans and its raucous Mardi Gras, and Washington’s political mudslinging.
As New York, as New York can be: The horse-drawn carriages in New York are a century-old practice and part of the quintessential sights of the city. Pic/AFP
New York has an abundance of them, too, and the new mayor has ignited a firestorm by announcing plans to nix one that is a century old — the horse-drawn carriages in Central Park — calling them inhumane.
In their place, if he gets his way, get ready to kick back in electric cars. “We are going to get rid of the horse carriages. Period,” Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio said in December, one month after being elected.
“We are going to quickly and aggressively move to make horse carriages no longer a part of the landscape in New York City. They are not humane. They are not appropriate to the year 2014. It’s over.”
This month he hammered away further, calling his idea non-negotiable.
He did, however, promise to discuss things with the people who make a living from this very Big Apple tourist attraction, which involves 220 horses, 170 drivers and 68 carriages.
NYClass is one of the groups pressing to get rid of the carriages.
“New York is one of the most congested cities in the entire world. These horses are working in midtown traffic with their noses against the tail pipes,” said the group’s Chelsie Schadt. “Horses don’t belong in traffic,” she added.
68 Number of carriages being used in New York
9 The number of hours a day the horses have to work
$450,000 Cost of the electric cars that de Blasio wants to replace the carriages with
Liam Neeson said he was in support of horse-drawn carriages in the city. “These horses are well cared for,” said Neeson, who has become the carriage drivers’ highest-profile ally; following Neeson was TV host Jimmy Fallon. The host said that the carriage is a tradition and hoped that Mayor de Blasio changed his mind.