THE reinvigorated discussion about the famed horse-carriage rides in Central Park took shape in recent weeks following incidents, some captured on video, of horses collapsing and running into oncoming traffic.
Among those who want to phase out the horse-drawn rides is Council Member Robert Holden, who introduced a bill that would effectively end the horse-carriage industry in Central Park. If the bill becomes law, horse carriages would be phased out and replaced by electric-powered carriages by June 2024, with the drivers of the horse-drawn buggies given priority for licenses for horseless carriages they would either sell or lease. The city would cap the number of those licenses it would issue.
But TWU Local 100, which represents the Central Park carriage drivers, is concerned that the possible change could lead to a dramatic decline in riders and in turn, drivers’ wages. “Nobody wants to ride an electric golf cart,” said Christina Hansen, a communications liaison for the local “Essentially you’d be putting the carriage drivers out of work or giving them a business that they could no longer support themselves or their families.”
Holden, though, argues that the carriage drivers would actually be better off with a shift away from horse carriages. He points to examples from around the world, such as Guadalajara, Mexico, where a swap to electric carriages has proven beneficial to both riders and drivers.
‘Nothing makes any sense’
If Holden’s bill is passed into law, the drivers would be required to be paid union wages set by the city comptroller. “There’s a much better chance of carriage drivers owning the (electric carriage) than there ever be of them owning a $200,000 horse,” said Holden, who represents portions of Queens on the Council. “They’d end up better than they are now.”
But Hansen contends that tourists come to Central Park to ride in a horse carriage, not an electric one, and points to other options, such as pedicabs and motorized scooters. “They’re going to force us to get rid of our horses and they’re going to tell us you have to drive these city-owned vehicles and there is nothing in there that makes any sense,” she said. “It’s fundamentally an anti-horse bill.”
A recent poll indicated that 71 percent of city voters were in favor of a ban on horse carriages, which date to the 1860s.
Featured Image: Carriage Horse along 59th Street, South Central Park, NYC. Photographer: Danielle Parhizkaran.
Official Blog of The Fund for Horses
6 thoughts on “NYC carriage horses: will they stay or will they go?”
PS. Mr. Holden we are all behind you and are grateful for your efforts! May justice to the horses prevail!!
Firstly, Thank You Council Member Mr. Robert Holden for presenting your bill. It’s wonderful and all will be well. It will work for all parties involved. Christina Hansen, the tourists don’t care what they ride in or on. They just want to see Central Park. NEWS FLASH It’s not romantic or fun. It’s animal ABUSE all the way. By the way Christina, in a recent poll of local voters, 71% were IN FAVOR of a ban on carriage horses. You need to educate yourself if you’re going to shoot your mouth off.
Based on the quotes of Christina Hansen above, clearly she’s more than comfortable for some horses to continue to collapse, be mercilessly whipped when unable to get up, to simply die when being forced to pull carriages day after day and living in airless dungeon type stables.
She appears to be a most despicable creature from what we have seen. Of course all we have to go by is the media. In saying that, Hansen freely admits she is proud of what they do. That smells like trouble to us for the carriage horses they work. —TH.
Hansen and many others in TWU are pure evil. They seem to exhibit sociopathic traits like being able to lie effortlessly when evidence to the contrary is right out for everyone to see. By the way , were the results of EPM test ever made public? Why not?
Isn’t she horrid? She’s definitely NOT very well versed in the Equine World. Wonder how she landed this job . Must have strong connection to the Union, Ya Think?