Thursday, January 14, 2016

De Blasio's New Carriage Horse Industry Home In Central Park

Tight Fit. Proposed New Carriage Horse Industry Home. Under the Mayor’s plan the city would give the Park’s Department’s 86th Street Shops building - located along the heavilty trafficked 86th Street Transverse Road - to the carriage horse industry.   The building is used by Park’s Department trade workers.  (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on Images to enlarge.


By Geoffrey Croft

Mayor De Blasio is proposing handing over a Parks Department building in Central Park used by city workers to the commercial horse stable industry, NYC Park Advocates has learned.

The plan would permanently provide a home for seventy-five horses in Central Park along the 86th Street Transverse near the police Pct.  

The tax payers are expected to pay for the new multi-million dollar facility under the Mayor’s plan. 

City engineers have visited the more than century-old former stable building several times according to city sources.   

Unlike other commercial businesses which operate on public park land this one is expected to bypass the competitive bidding process normally required to secure public park land for private commercial uses. 

Outstanding questions include whether or not the carriage industry would be required to pay the city rent.  

The move would displace approximately forty park workers mostly in the trades - including electricians, carpenters, plumbers, blacksmiths, and steamfitters. 

The horses would to go and from work into the heavily trafficked 86th Street Transverse Road. The not-so-ideal location would necessitate the installation of a railroad style crossing gate and flashing warning lights system to protect the horses from traffic according to several sources. 

The stables would be located nearly a mile and a half away from the horse stands on 59th Street. 

The De Blasio administration is scrambling to finalize a bill which would authorize the land giveaway to the private business which could come as early as Friday according to published reports.

Horse carriages are rarely seen working north of 72nd Street in the park and several park officials were unsure whether or not there is a ban that prohibits the industry from working in the northern areas of the park and if they would be allowed to moving forward under the new bill.

A worker repairs a piece of equipment in the Park’s Department’s 86th Street Shops building.

The location is problematic according to a Parks Department equestrian expert familiar with the area who cited several issues including traffic and the size of the building as issues. 

"It’s going to be dangerous for the horses to be pulling out on the transverse unless you really engineer something that is safe and completely stops traffic," the worker said.  

Once the carriages cross the transverse they are expected to use the park’s existing bridal paths according to city sources.  

“It’s not ideal for those carriages to be on the bridal path it’s too bumpy. The bridle path is for saddle horses," the equestrian source stated.   

Several park employees familiar with the city's plan also questioned whether the site could accommodate the proposed use. 

"If you are going to have a facility that is healthy for the horses you need a lot of space - box stalls which allow horses to turn around as well as lay down, you need an area for the horses to turn out,  grooming areas, and a place to store the carriages, “ the park worker said.

“You also need food storage areas, refrigerators for medicines, it's a lot of stuff. Also large trucks are going to delivering hay. Traffic is going to be a nightmare.  Remember the carriage rider will be controlling the traffic signals every time they leave or come back in. They will be controlling that,” the worker continued. 

The Park’s Department’s 86th Street Shops building.

Parks Department trade employees who work in the building are an integral part of the city’s maintenance workforce. 

“It’ll be a disaster,” said a parks trade worker speaking on the condition they not be identified for fear of reprisal.

“Efficiency will out the window. Where are they going to put us? We’ll be traveling all over the place. This building is centrally located. The cost to the city for us to traveling from all over will be enormous.  The city doesn’t care about that.” 

Workers also sited the physical cost of moving the various trades to other areas.

"That’s not going to be cheap.” 

Another worker compared another century-old Calvert Vaux designed building the city recently renovated in the park.   

“It could be another Tavern on the Green,” the city worker said comparing the tax payer funded debacle that wound up costing more than double the original estimate.  

“This building needs a lot of work, it’s old. We work here so they can get away with it but they can’t if other people are going to be in here.” 

None of the workers spoken to this morning at the shop knew about the plan.

"Why would they tell us, we would be the last to know.”  

The Blacksmith shop dates back more than a century and includes one the city’s last remaining forges. (below)

(Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on Images to enlarge.

The Central Park Conservancy which manages the park also had its eye on the building for its operations. They had proposed converting the building into much needed office space to serve as its new headquarters.

Read More:

City Hall, horse carriage operators butt heads over details in bill, delaying hearing
New York Daily News - January 14, 2016 - By Jennifer Fermino   


  1. Thank you. Informative article!
    -New York City Pedicab Owners' Association

  2. De Blasio will do anything to appease the real estate interests that bought him the mayorship. This is a terrible solution to something that is currently not a problem.

  3. deBlabbio sucking up to the Animal Rights zealots who funded his campaign to begin with along with Niblicker the real estate mogul.. disgusting but politics as usual

  4. Sounds like a slip shod "fix" to a "problem" that doesn't exist. The horses and carriages are privately owned. They live in privately owned stables. If DeB can't get taxpayers to fund programs for the homeless, why is he mandating taxpayers to pay for this debacle? Nyers and tourists like the carriage horses. All Equine veterinarians who have examined the horses and stables say the conditions are good. The horses are in good flesh. Carriage rides are statistically safer than pedestrians walking on NY streets. See the situation? DeB wants his way and will destroy Central Park, the workers who use the current facilities and the carriage industry. By then, he'll be out of office and can walk away from the mess he created. Leave the carriage industry alone!

  5. terrible solution to a real and serious problem, just ban them, don't make the tax payer pay for this private abusive special interest to move, he is like bloomberg

    1. 9:49 Anonymous - Knee jerk answers like that don't prove anything. An examination of the truth about the horses' treatment and care would prove that they are in good hands and happy, healthy animals. The problem here is the culture of politicians for sale.

    2. It's a terrible solution to a non-problem. Taxpayers don't need to pay for this because the horses are fine where they are. The only people who don't like it are the ones who either expect to benefit by banning them, or those who have no practical horse knowledge, such as yourself.

  6. There is no reason to put hundreds of people out of work, and put 3/4 of horses at risk. The public overwhelmingly supports the NYC carriage horses, and they are in compliance with all regulations. Their care has been scrutinized for years; if De Blasio had ever bothered to visit their stables or read any of the professional reports he would know that. The whole thing is a smokescreen to oust the horses from their stable property to allow the mayor's big donor, Steve Nislick, real estate mogul, to develop it. A shady deal that fools no one, and the people will not stand for it.

  7. Another debacle by DeB. Leave the horses and carriages alone. They are NOT abused.They are NOT stressed, (as documented by an equine veterinarian's research project in 2015). Follow the money. Developers want to buy the land under the existing stables, so...this proposal puts the horses into MORE traffic (anti-carriage people say the traffic is bad for the horses) puts the maintenance people out of a centralized work area and all this to be paid for by TAXPAYERS. Just say NO to this plan.

  8. This is asinine. Stealing privately owned properties to appease corrupt real estate cronies. Forcing legal, well-run, regulated businesses to move into city-owned property, 1.5 miles further than CP, to be paid for by NYC tax payers, while displacing the current trade workers (where will they go?). Are NYC residents that stupid? nislick's slimy agenda is not new news, nor is the mayor's corrupt ways.

  9. De Blasio doesnt care how much it inconveniences people who work with the carriage horses, the horses safety, Carriage workers safety or anything else as long as he gets their current stable for his "investors". Bottom line.

  10. I support the you folks in staying where you are in these buildings. I also support the carriage horses staying where they are. Is this mayor trying to drive the working class out of NYC?

  11. This is a "solution" that isn't.... It will be a traffic nightmare for those of us who ride the bus across 86th Street. It is a use of taxpayers' money that is not something we should be required to fund: these horses should moved out of NY City to a place where they can thrive. The Park is crowded enough. Let's not add a horses' residence, with the trucks that would bring their supplies, etc. to the mix, please. It's bad enough that Central Park West in the 80's gets so much of the film industry's intrusions. NO MORE.