Why de Blasio can’t ban horse carriages

NYC horse carriage

The writer of this opinion piece treats the NYC horse carriage ban as if it were just “crazy PETA people” or those who hate the Irish and/or middle class working people backing it. There are valid concerns that should be addressed about the horses that pull those carriages – unlike what the article says – a simple online search will pull up numerous incidences involving carriage horse safety. Compromise maybe possible regarding the NYC horse carriages … perhaps that is what we should be trying to achieve – an answer that will satisfy the safety and health of the horses and livelihood of the drivers. ~ HfH

From: The New York Post
By: Nicole Gelinas

NYC horse carriage

Getty Images – NYC horse carriage

Mayor de Blasio can fight with the groundhog. He can fight with the governor. He can fight with charter-school lady Eva Moskowitz. But on this St. Patrick’s Day, he’d be wise to drop his fight with the Irish.

De Blasio promised last year that his first act as mayor would be to kill 300 middle-class jobs, many held by Irish immigrants. “Here it goes,” he pledged. “First thing, it’s time to ban horse carriages in New York.”

Why? The horses are well-treated, as everybody (except the don’t-bother-us-with-facts folks at PETA) knows by now.

Simple. A tiny cadre of donors showered the mayor with money last year — and savagely attacked rival Christine Quinn, too. They made clear that banning horses was their top priority. (Some of these folks seem to covet the horse stables on Manhattan’s Far West Side; others are radical animal-rightsers.)

The mayor is making good on his side of the deal. Last week, his top deputy said it was just taking more time than expected.

No wonder. When was the last time New York City banned an entire lawful industry?

“It’s completely unprecedented,” says Colm McKeever, an Irish immigrant who has driven a horse carriage for 25 years.

Sure, the smoking ban affected businesses — but it didn’t outlaw any. Mike Bloomberg tried to ban sodas, but only the big ones. Rudy Giuliani once tried to ban porn shops and peep shows — and failed in court. In that case, the city figured that banning the legal sex trade would make it easier to crack down on illegal behavior like pimping on the streets by such establishments.

But how does the city ban a business that has done no harm to people or animals?

That’s doubtless what’s giving the real brains in City Hall a headache. To ban the carriages on health and safety grounds, the city would need evidence — and there is none.

Plus, de Blasio has already prejudiced a weak case. By saying that a visit to the horse stables wouldn’t change his mind, he made it clear that he’s not interested in facts. Both courts that struck down Bloomberg’s soda ban noted the mayor’s interference with the scientific process.

Ban the carriages on transportation grounds? Still need that pesky evidence.

And that’s impossible — because the mayor wants to replace the horse carriages with antique cars. Any study is going to find that cars go faster than horses. Letting 68 cars circle Central Park when it’s closed to other car traffic will endanger walkers, including children.

Plus, the city would also have to compensate carriage owners for their medallions and, possibly, drivers for lost income.

Carriage drivers, because of their higher skill level, easily make twice as much as cabbies. Replacing a lifetime’s worth of income derived from 68 medallions could easily cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.

And the city can’t argue that a license to drive an electric car is compensation enough. Antique cars failed in San Francisco.

“We’ve been interviewing our customers,” says McKeever. “Nobody wants to ride in a car. . . The tourist trade will be a laughingstock” around the world. (Despite the mayor’s words to the contrary, you can ride in a horse carriage in other global capitals, including London and Paris.)

And the carriage folks know all this.

Continue Reading


AUTHOR: Amber Barnes
  • To belittle the civil rights of the horses is egregious and inhumane-and that is exactly what this writer is doing. On a related note, her lack of knowlege of Irish history in the City of New York is clear-one is reminded that, in the 19th century, it was Irish workers who burned down a Black orphanage and lynched several black bystanders in “defending” their “right” to their jobs. Happy st. Patrick’s Day to those noble irish who have added immeasurably to the American culture-to those who stomp on the needs of the downtrodden to furthur their own ambitions-I say no St. Patrick’s celebration for you!

    March 17, 2014
  • Jami LoVullo

    Simple solution in my opinion. Take the horses off the streets and put them exclusively in the Park. Have strict rules about working in extreme heat or cold and adhere to reasonable working hours. That would go a long way to improve the horse and carriage safety record and the lives of the horses themselves.

    March 17, 2014
  • Sue

    “The Irish” in New York need to talk! They banned the LBGT community from their St. Patrick’s Day parade today, so Guiness pulled their sponsorship of the parade!

    March 17, 2014