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Photo by Yannic Rack
Drivers from Clinton Park Stables, located on W. 52nd St., on their way to start the day shift at Central Park.
Opponents Gallop Away From Horse Carriage Plan BY YANNIC RACK One of the most assertive promises of reform candidate Bill de Blasio’s mayoral campaign was his vow to end the city’s horse-drawn carriage industry. Now, more than two years after his original pledge, the mayor has announced a deal that takes an outright ban off the table — replacing it with a sharp reduction in the number of horses, and the construction of a new stable inside Central Park that will mark the end of an era in Hell’s Kitchen. The new legislation, whose main purpose is to remove the horses from Midtown traffic by confining carriage rides to the park, comes after months of negotiations with
representatives of the carriage industry. But since the plan came to light, it has united a range of different stakeholders — including parks advocates, pedicab drivers and animal rights activists — in opposition. Even the carriage owners who were brought to the table to find a compromise have found little to their satisfaction. Over the long holiday weekend, the mayor, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and representatives of the Teamsters union, which represents the carriage drivers, released a joint statement, announcing they had reached “an agreement in concept” on the industry’s future. By the time a bill was drafted on the night of Tues.
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Jan. 19, additional provisions included a rule that horses would have to carry microchips to monitor their movements, and receive five weeks of vacation a year. The City Council, which will have to approve the legislation, has scheduled a hearing to discuss the proposal at a meeting of its Transportation Committee on Fri., Jan. 22. But the carriage drivers criticize several aspects of the mayor’s proposal, which they say is unfair and would actually mean horses would have to work more, not less
Continued on page 2 VOLUME 08, ISSUE 03 | JANUARY 21 - 27, 2016