Showing posts with label Central Park carriage ride. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Central Park carriage ride. Show all posts

Monday, February 20, 2012

From the "Live Free and Die Department"

And there you have it! Thank you, Eric Nix, for sharing this pithy mission statement on a carriage industry website, for the world to see. The industry must be very proud of you.

We have our work cut out for us, folks!

Welcome to a blog dedicated to banning the inherently inhumane and dangerous carriage industry in New York City.

I represent the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages--NYC. Our mission? A ban on this industry in New York City and sanctuary retirement of these horses, a stipulation that is addressed in detail in a state bill (S5013). In fact, all previous legislation has included this language, which would close the loophole in current law that allows horses to be dumped at auction--places such as New Holland, Pa.,--often a last stop before the one-way trip to the slaughterhouse.

Will you join us? Meet up with us in person in New York City, or join us online at, where you can sign up for a free weekly email newsletter that is packed with information about ways you can help this cause.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Bucolic Central Park? Not exactly

Central Park is one of the most beautiful places in New York City. Its pastoral settings pay tribute to Frederick Law Olmsted, who together with Calvert Vaux, designed the park in a simpler era. He had a great deal of foresight yet surely could not imagine how crowded parts of the park would become. Ironically, the most congested part of the park is section in which horse-drawn carriages are largely confined--the so-called "lower loop." See the first photo? These guys are about to make a left turn--in front of the horse.

This 1.7-mile oval stretches from the park's southern boundary at 59th Street to the east-west transverse at 72nd Street. And make no mistake--there are dangers to pedestrians, bikers, skateboarders, and horses in this part of the park.

The junction immediately southeast of 72nd street is easily the most hazardous part of the park in terms of collisions, which often are associated with injuries to people. Runners and bicyclists are aware, if not always mindful, of the risks, and accidents occur here--on this hill--with some regularity.

Car, pedicab, and carriage traffic moves around this loop in a counterclockwise direction, and car and taxicab traffic feeds into the park at 72nd Street from Fifth Avenue.

Skateboarders swarm the area, loving its hills.

Runners, walkers, skateboarders, and bicyclists have the option of going left on 72nd Street toward the west side, or continuing north on East Drive up the hill toward the Metropolitan Museum or Great Lawn. All the while, cars and carriages are bearing down and making a left turn as people either cross 72nd St. to go north, or bear left.

Decisions are made quickly, and often a horse-drawn carriage will be cut off abruptly. That is unwise.

Nearly 5,100 runners took part in a New York Road Runners Race on May 8, and they poured out of the park at E. 72nd Street in droves, as they typically do on any given weekend. Tourists were out on rented bicycles, maps in hand. Fast racing-type bicyclists are always out.

I observed this junction for about 10 minutes and saw a runner very nearly get run over by a pedicab (which, like carriage, can't exactly stop on a dime!). In this dangerous mix, the carriages are working, and the drivers often have their back turned so that the can chat with the passengers (as I have documented on this blog). Among all the many near-misses, a serious accident is waiting to happen. The many recent horse spooking incidents, including a runaway horse who tossed his rider during the royal wedding procession, underscore the danger of putting horses into loud and chaotic situations.

Get the facts about carriage rides, carriage accidents, and what you can do to help the horses.
Did you know? There's a global coalition called Horses Without Carriages International

Horses Without Carriages International Day is June 4, 2011

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Don't make a date with cruelty

Say "no" to a carriage ride
Not a drop of water for the horses on January 27, when this picture was taken at Central Park. This is in blatant violation of the law. The Department of Health is completely unable, and apparently unwilling, to enforce the laws requiring the industry to provide an adequate amount of potable water for the carriage horses.The spigots to these troughs are turned off for half the year, and the drivers claim they carry water in buckets. That would be a neat trick, since the horses need a minimum of 10 to 12 gallons of water a day in cold weather.
Photo by Donny Moss (January 27, 2010, Central Park)
Related post on Carriage Horses -- NYC blog

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

None so blind

Take a look. You don't have to own horses or be a veterinarian to see that this is a problem, which is the gist of a comment on a YouTube video that shows New York City carriage horses. One commenter wrote: "Oh my god.. look at the bits in the horses mouth those are probably killing their mouths, they should use lighter bits." Indeed.
Video by YouTube member "PitytheHorses"

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Where carriage horses live

Surely West Side Livery, one of five carriage horse stables in Manhattan, is one of the worst homes that a horse could have. Most New York City residents go about their daily business not thinking about where the carriage horses live, or perhaps imagining that they are housed in a bucolic setting somewhere in the park. An Animals' Angels investigation tells the real story: tie stalls, sand buckets for fire protection, horses tethered to feeding troughs. Read the report on the website of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages. Then take a look at the interior of the stable, which is located at 538 W. 38th Street. (You really should see it for yourself.)
Related news: A New York City veterinarian detailed concerns about the multistory stable, including its complete lack of fire protection system, poor ventilation that compromises the horses' respiratory health, inadequate bedding and cramped standing stalls. Watch a news conference co-sponsored by the coalition, Friends of Animals, and Heart for Animal Rights.

Friday, June 5, 2009

It happened in New York City

The New York City carriage industry doesn't want tourists to know the truth about the way the horses live and die. One driver in particular is very vocal in shouting down activists, who sometimes show photographic evidence of some of the horses who have died on the job in New York City. Don't be surprised if you see a driver denying the number of horse fatalities, saying they didn't happen in New York, or otherwise decrying as propaganda the facts that are well-documented. These drivers are banking on the ignorance of tourists, most of whom know nothing of the sad history of this industry.

For the sake of balance, this photo by Vito Torelli reminds of a terrible day--and a terrible summer--in New York City history. The August 26, 1991, headline in Newsday read: "Death of Carriage Horse Probed, Same Owner Had One Die 2 Weeks Ago," and the newspaper reported that colic was the presumptive cause in both cases. The New York Times reported the story of the horse who collapsed in Central Park under the headline: "Carriage Horse Treated, Killed, Left for Sanitation Men."

Colic is a leading cause of death for all horses, and particularly for overworked and underwatered carriage horses. They face great danger every day on busy streets, and their health suffers greatly in a number of ways. The very few fortunate horses who are rescued at auction after they can no longer turn a profit are generally in very poor condition, but surely grateful to escape the end-of-the-line auctions where the killer buyers are standing by.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Are you ready for your close-up?

Activist alert: If you do anything to help New York City's carriage horses, be forewarned: You will likely be harassed by the carriage industry. YouTube member "HorsesinNYC" shows individuals being photographed without their consent as they entered a recent meeting at the Bar Association of the City of New York, on 44th Street in midtown Manhattan. Creepy but predictable.

The meeting was an expert panel discussion titled "Yay or Neigh: Should the Carriage Horse Industry Be Banned in NYC?" Carriage industry representatives declined opportunities to take part.
New York City carriage horses suffer greatly, especially during the steamy summer months. The horses are worked hard in searing heat, and with inadequate water. There is no consideration for humidity in the law, which is roundly ignored anyway.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

From the "wish I wrote it" department

One activist's account
I am humbled after reading one woman's account of the Mother's Day demonstration outside of Central Park. This blogger, "The Feminist Texican," really tells it like it is. "Like hell I'm letting this one go," she explains in a better-late-than-never post that details the sexual harassment that carriage drivers are allowed to spew with impunity. Read her excellent post, "The Sexual Politics of Meat[heads]."
Also interesting is one commenter's remark that complaint should be sent to Demos Demopoulos, of the Teamsters union (Local 553). Another great idea! Contact information:
Demos Demopoulos

International Brotherhood of Teamsters

265 W. 14th Street, Suite 509

New York, NY 10011

Phone: 212-229-9754 OR 212-929-6828

Photo courtesy of HFA

Related video from YouTube member HorsefeathersNYC

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The awful fate of carriage horses

Here we see a true horsewoman, Linda Marcus, speaking about her rescues, which include a former New York City carriage horse that was one day away from slaughter when she was saved. This testimony was part of a public hearing on two bills: one that would ban the horse-drawn industry, and another that would reward it and further erode oversight and accountability. Ms. Marcus supports a ban and opposes the industry bill, as do the ASPCA, Humane Society of the United States, numerous animal advocacy organizations, and the Bar Association of the City of New York. This compelling testimony from the January 2009 hearing exposes the convenient services of faux rescue organizations that collaborate with industry to take its castoffs--and ultimately, to get rid of them. All within the loophole, I mean law, that requires "humane disposition" of New York City carriage horses.
These kinds of arrangements are being exposed with increasing frequency. Slaughter provides an easy way out to the ones who break down horses, overbreed them, or otherwise misuse them. Indeed, the horse industry at large has rewarded this behavior for years, paying people to make the horses disappear. Issues may or may not be resolved at legislative levels, but "outing" those who dump horses into the laps of kill buyers may ultimately be the most effective thing of all.
Related reading:
Recently we heard that thoroughbred owner Ernie Paragallo says he
lost track of his horses, and that some likely met a grim fate in Canada. Paragallo has since been charged with multiple counts of cruelty to animals.

Another former NYC carriage horse, "Manhattan," rescued from a grim fate (from Carriage Horses-NYC blog)
And finally, All about farrier care--and owner responsibility

Sunday, March 29, 2009

So glad you said that...

The fine folks from NYC & Co., the tourism agency of New York City, are seen in this amusing clip explaining in withering detail how the carriage industry rakes in the money. Never mind that the city derives not a single penny of direct revenue from this cash-only business. Kimberly Spell is persistent, though, even wagging a finger at Council Member Tony Avella several times as he listens intently to her explanation. See why Avella, sponsor of the bill that would ban horse-drawn carriages in New York City, is so delighted to hear her say it!
Avella invoked the rarely used Sponsor's Privilege rule to force a public hearing in January on two bills affecting the carriage industry: his proposed ban, and an industry bill that would help the drivers but not the horses. NYC & Co. has drunk Mayor Bloomberg's Kool-Aid, which is why their math is so fuzzy. This hilarious testimony provided comic relief during the long hearing, I'm told.
Video by Anthony Speziale. Visit "PitytheHorses" channel on YouTube for more clips (more to come, we're told!)
Also see: "One Council Member to Another"

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Best of the worst: Andrew Eiler

The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) doesn't know the legally allowable fare for a horse-drawn carriage. Or, at least, Andrew Eiler, the DCA's legislative director, didn't know when that question was asked of him at the public hearing. He pulls out some legalese at the end, giving us the "tree in the forest" line of thinking--that there's no problem unless a consumer files a complaint. Convenient, because tourists don't KNOW they're being blatantly and illegally ripped off. That's going to change! Anyway, view this entertaining clip of what Tony Avella, sponsor of Intro. 658, described as "the poorest testimony." Hilarious.
This is one of the first video clips to be made available from the hearing, and we're told that others are being uploaded soon. Watch for them on YouTube channel "PitytheHorses."
Also view the excellent testimony by Elaine Sloan on overcharging that is overlooked by the city.
Video credit: Anthony Speziale

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hilly and dangerous

Night shift
Trudging up hilly 10th Avenue, behind St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center.
New York City's carriage horses live in multistory stables in Hell's Kitchen, up to 2 miles from Central Park. Their daily commutes are treacherous.
Photo courtesy of "Horsefeathers"

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Danger ahead

Putting us all in harm's way

This kind of reckless behavior speaks for itself: it is dangerous and it endangers the public safety. All those people around, and the driver surely doesn't have his eyes on the road or his horse.
Video from March 8, 2009, 72nd St. east-west transverse in Central Park.
Courtesy of YouTube member "DriversRunninScared"

Thursday, February 26, 2009

An outdated and inhumane industry

Includes footage from the documentary "Blinders," by filmmaker Donny Moss
The Humane Society of the United States wants you to know that horse-drawn carriages do not belong on the streets of the nation's busiest city. This inhumane industry endangers horses as well as people.
HSUS supports a ban on horse-drawn carriages in New York City.
Tell Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg that you support a ban on horse-drawn carriages in New York City.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
City Hall
New York, NY 10007

PHONE 311 (or 212-NEW-YORK outside NYC)
FAX (212) 312-0700

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Driver gone wild

Thinking of taking a ride in a horse-drawn carriage through Central Park? Get a reality check before you hop in a carriage with this maniac. Pity the poor horses.

Video by YouTube member "HorsesinNYC"