Bill de Blasio faced a lot of neighsayers when he first vowed to get rid of horse-drawn carriages in the city, and now the mayor is poised to follow through on his words. This past weekend, de Blasio met with City Council members to explain new legislation that aims to prohibit all horse-drawn carriages by 2016. Of course, the proposed bill has sparked fury from the 68 officially licensed carriage drivers in the city.
Carriage drivers have vowed to fight the legislation, exalting the long tradition of hansom cabs in the city and highlighting the horses’ livelihoods. “We buy these horses from the Amish by the pound. If not for us, they would be dog food and glue,” explained a carriage driver who asked not to be identified while speaking with the NY Post. “The horses get better health care and more vacation than we do.”
As part of the new legislation, current carriage drivers would be offered free permits to operate green NYC cabs. So far, there are 5,632 green cabs in the city with permits running at $3,000 each.
However, the idea of switching careers has been met with disdain by most carriage operators, “If they offered me a green cab medallion, I wouldn’t take it. They really just want our West Side stable for real estate development.”
Mayor De Blasio has been met with pressure from both sides of the fence, with animal rights groups pushing to replace the horse drawn carriages with electric-powered antique car replicas. On the other side, traditionalists are looking to build stables in Central Park to secure the continued use of the city’s long history of horse-drawn carriages, but restricting the carriages to the park’s interior.
Via NY Post
Lead image ©Henrique Vicente