Letters: Week of Dec. 24, 2015

Central Park stable plan is ‘unworkable’
To The Editor:

Re: “West Side Stables are Holdouts of Old New York” (news, Dec. 10. 2015):
Mayor de Blasio’s plan to reduce the carriage trade, which suggests building a stable in Central Park for 70 horses, is unworkable.

Parkland, according to NYS law, is an inalienable right of the public. No one can simply grab a parcel away for a private industry. Otherwise, Central Park would be whittled away to nothing by developers.

The mayor made a campaign promise to shut down this inhumane and unsafe business, but failed to successfully lobby the City Council to get them to agree. His administration never answered questions about job retraining or released the Environmental Assessment Study. Even former Mayor Bloomberg knew how to lobby the City Council to win an extension of term limits.

It is unlikely that the carriage trade will willingly cut their work force by two-thirds. Even if the plan were for all the horses, they would never agree to move the hack line, which is on 59th St., inside Central Park. This is their source of business, but it has been the site of many accidents.

The mayor and Council need to understand the unpredictable, nervous nature of a horse, which is not conducive to pulling a carriage in a city like New York. They will spook and bolt at the slightest provocation, and have done it on Ninth Avenue and within congested Central Park. It was never just about getting them off the street.

The city needs to look for another alternative. Retrofitting the carriages by motorizing them is the best alternative and truly a win-win — a fraction of the cost of the electric car, which turned into a white elephant. Horses will go to sanctuaries. No jobs will be lost. The same business model can stand​ with the drivers remaining independent. Stables can be used to store carriages or rented out.

Teamsters’ George Miranda claims he is interested in compromise — what about it, George?

Elizabeth Forel

President, Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages


Time to end horrid ‘tradition’

To The Editor:

Re: “West Side Stables are Holdouts of Old New York” (news, Dec. 10. 2015):

Instead of waxing nostalgic for a bygone era, Chelsea Now must recognize that these carriage horse stables are appalling and inadequate. The published photos show filthy, cramped quarters, horse manure on the floors, pigeons in the feed pails, and one means of egress (a fire would be disastrous). The New York carriage horses — many of them large draft breeds — require much larger stables than would ever be available to them in New York City.

Think about it: 78 horses crammed into Clinton Park Stables. That’s approximately the same number (80) living on 140 grassy acres at an upstate New York sanctuary that I visited last month. There is a reason why people don’t keep horses inside the confines of New York City. These horses, when not stuck between the shafts of the carriage for nine hours a day, go back to Hell’s Kitchen — through gridlocked traffic — to be locked up in these industrial buildings.

As Fodors.com advises in its list of 15 Things NOT To Do in New York City: “Don’t take a carriage ride.” As Frommers.com says, “Horses belong on city streets as much as chamber pots belong in our homes.” It’s time to let this horrid “tradition” go the way of chamber pots and gas lamps. Stop exploiting horses in the name of entertainment.

Jen Willder


Feedback from Facebook

Re: “Shedding Light on NYCHA’s Future” (news, Dec. 10, 2015):

This explains why our developments don’t have heat, locking doors, and other basic essentials — because the Chair [Shola Olatoye, the authority’s chair and CEO] is out promoting the Mayor’s NexGen Plan while doing absolutely nothing for this generation. Acting as the mayor’s executioner, the neediest developments are being allowed to crumble, and the only repairs being done are in the handful of NextGen developments — like Ingersoll, getting all-new, state-of-the-art boiler systems, while nearby Farragut has to struggle with on-again, off-again water, and several other developments in nearby Brooklyn Communities that are struggling with inadequate (or no) heat.

Now we hear another NextGen development, Wyckoff [Gardens], is getting expedited and special treatment! Coincidence, they say. I think not!

Tyree Stanback