Thursday, February 4, 2016

Mayor de Blasio's Horse Trade Deal Collapses

Mayor de Blasio addressing the media after finally emerging from his SUV more than fifteen minutes after pulling into City Hall.  The Mayor is pushing a bill that would restricted carriage horses to Central Park as well as have the tax payers foot the bill to relocate the horse carriage industry into a Parks Department owned building in the park. (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge


By Geoffrey Croft

The City Council will not be voting on the Mayor's controversial horse-drawn carriage bill.

The move comes after the carriage license owners voted not to support Teamster's Local 553 deal with the Mayor.

The Teamsters themselves finally backed out after a rash of negative publicity.

“We negotiated in good faith with the City Council and the Teamsters to reach this agreement,” Mr. de Blasio said in a statement.

"The terms of that agreement have not changed during these past weeks, but today the Teamsters decided to back away from the fair compromise they had previously endorsed. While we are disappointed this bill will no longer be considered Friday, the people of this city know what I believe, and we will work toward a new path on this issue.”

"The Council will not vote on any horse carriage related legislation on Friday since the Teamsters no longer support the deal,” Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said in statement.  

The Council said they had "sufficient votes to pass the legislation, but will not be moving it because the legislation was predicated on the agreement."

Several council members said they had expressed to Speaker Mark-Viverito their strong to desire to get away from the issue.

"The votes just weren't there. Let's move on," a Council member said today speaking on the
 condition of anonymity.  

The Mayor sat in his SUV surrounded by aids and security for fifteen minutes after arriving at City Hall. 

The Mayor sat in his SUV for fifteen minutes after arriving at City Hall after seeing a phalanx of reporters and members of the horse-drawn carriage industry who had just finished a press conference.

He finally emerged, briefly addressed the media and abruptly left. 

“I’m obviously disappointed that the vote won’t happen,” the mayor said.

“You all know my views on this issue," he added. "We’re going to find a way forward."

The administration has not fared well on this issue following a disastrous public hearing on the bill two weeks ago where officials struggled to answer even basic questions. 

"The hearing was ridiculous, they couldn't answer anything," a Council member said today who also spoke on the condition of anonymity.  

A steady stream of opponents emerged since the January hearing including the Transport Workers Union and the Central Labor Council.

The Central  Park Conservancy, which manages the park under a legal agreement with the City and raises 75 percent of its operating budget from private donations because the city refuses to,  sent an email to members last Thursday saying it had, “significant concerns” about the plan.

NYCLASS  - who waged an expensive campaign which many credit with helping the mayor get elected - supported the deal which, as critics point out, should not come as a surprise.

“Whatever compromise the mayor will agree to, we would be happy with,” Steve Nislick said in an interview more than a year ago. 

"We trust him,” he said. 

The Mayor's  proposed new $ 25 million dollar home for the carriage horse industry in Central Park. The park’s Department’s 86th Street Shops building.

For weeks the administration had tried its best to claim that the seventy-five horses, and sixty-eight carriages planned for Central Park would fit into the existing footprint of the Parks Department’s 86th Street shops.

When everyone with knowledge of the plan knew was impossible. 

The administration finally admited in a "Fact Sheet" sent to select Council members what was coming.

"There may need to be a new structure to house the carriages. The new structure would be contained within the same lot.” 

Read More:

A Walk In The Park - January 19, 2016 - By Geoffrey Croft

A Walk In The Park - January 14, 2016 - By Geoffrey Croft


  1. The failed attempt to hammer out a horse carriage bill is the latest example on the sad state of politics and the actions of our elected officials in New York City.

    Our city is currently in an era of “anything goes” regarding political agendas. Small, powerful groups with financial clout, can viciously attack candidates for office while labeling “villains” of other New Yorkers. This has been done to our Police Officers, Firefighters, Uber drivers, and now our horse carriage drivers. These hard-working, tax-paying, law-abiding New Yorkers have to endure a relentless campaign of harassment, along with their tourist passengers, even calling them abusers of their partners, their beloved horses. What compounds and endorses this tactic are the hollow campaign promises and partisan politics by some of our elected officials.

    This ill conceived horse carriage bill will not only decrease the industry, lose jobs but MORE IMPORTANTLY, the chance for at least 100 horses to avoid the fast track to the slaughter house. This bill also labels the latest “villain” of our city, the Pedicab drivers.

    We wish the very best to all horse carriage drivers and support staff in whatever endeavor that will benefit their livelihood. The bigger picture in this latest saga in political terrorism in the way some elected officials and special interest groups operate in our city. Our officials need to reflect on their actions and get back to being public servants and not political hounds.

  2. Thank god this terrible bill feel though. You'd think the mayor would have more important things to worry about then wasting our tax dollars to put hardworking people out of business and ship innocent horses off to the glue factory.