In his dozen years in office, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg did his best to cut down on traffic congestion and spearheaded the conversion of the city's taxi fleet to hybrids. But his successor is out to eliminate another kind of vehicle – the horse-drawn carriage – from the streets of Manhattan.

The carriages have been a staple of New York's Central Park since it opened in 1858, taking untold numbers of tourists and locals alike for rides around the sprawling green space in the heart of Manhattan. But the freshly sworn-in Bill de Blasio says the practice is cruel to the animals and needs to go, announcing his plan to replace the handsome cabs with "antique-style" electric cars, though no specifics were given on just what those cars will be.

The development comes as welcome news to animal rights activists who have long campaigned against the horse-drawn carriages. The drivers of said carriages, however, claim that the horses are treated well, and retiring them to a life of inactivity would be the crueler fate. The drivers reportedly intend to fight against the measure, by court and by lobbying the City Council that would have to approve it, but for his part, de Blasio seems committed to making Central Park horse-drawn cabs a thing of the past.

What do you think, is it time for the horse-drawn carriages to go? Cast your vote in our poll below, and if you have an idea for what they should be replaced with, share your thoughts in Comments.



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  • 254 Comments
      Krazeecain
      • 11 Months Ago
      Let's settle for a compromise. Keep the carriages, but replace the horses with fully electric robotic stallions. Everybody's happy!
      Jesse Gurr
      • 11 Months Ago
      Doesn't NYC have police horses? Will he phase those out too? If they keep the police horses, I don't think complaining about manure will get you anywhere because it will still come from those horses, not just the carriage horses.
        LW
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Jesse Gurr
        they should ban pigs on horses. They get on top of these horses and plow right into crowds, expecting people to stay back or else get trampled. They can't do that in their hogmobile because it would be their fault for running people over.
        Kim Egan
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Jesse Gurr
        Animal rights activists want to end all animal ownership and use. The next targets will be the NYC horse racing industry and saddle/event horses in NYS if ARA sites are to be believed.
          Technoir
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Kim Egan
          Kim Any evidence to support the (made up) nonsense you just produced?
          Kim Egan
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Kim Egan
          Sure. All you have to do is look up quotes from Peter Singer, Ingrid Newkirk, and Wayne Pacelle to see the basis of the animal rights standpoint. As to the other, try looking on the sites for Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages and other similar sites/Facebook pages. I've looked at so many of them, I've honestly forgotten on which they made those statements.
          cpmanx
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Kim Egan
          NYCLASS has some pretty far-out positions, but none of what you are saying. These kinds of slippery-slope arguments are mostly nonsense. You can't eliminate one tax because then you have to eliminate them all! You can't reform social security because then nobody will have any security at all! You can't engage in one military conflict because then you have to police the whole world! And so on. In reality, people make common-sense distinctions all the time.
      mhtom
      • 11 Months Ago
      Hansom not handsome.
      Mary Otto
      • 11 Months Ago
      i think stopping the horse drawn carriges would be a terrible mistake. They are one of the tourist atractions,and they are special to the city. So many people use themand they have been enjoued for so many years. It is bad enough all traditional things ate disappearing please do not let this happen. They are so much of New York charms.Besides everybody loves them.
        cpmanx
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Mary Otto
        Look, every job counts and every dollar of revenue counts. I get that. But $15 million is about 1/30th of 1 percent of the tourism money spent in NYC. It's about 1/25th of the amount Macy's is spending just to renovate its Herald Square store. The carriage decision won't make or break the city either way. Drivers who paid for medallions should be dealt with fairly. The horses should be handled humanely. And the fate of the carriage industry should be resolved locally. (If you consider turnout figures, pretty much nobody in America has been elected to anything with a majority of the total eligible voters, so that's a red herring.)
      Marcopolo
      • 11 Months Ago
      Yes indeed, named after Joseph Hansom, of York, UK, who patented the design in 1834.
      dpny88
      • 11 Months Ago
      The case against the banning of the NYC carriage horses from Blue Star Equiculture rescue: Some answered questions..... January 4, 2014 at 11:28am As the NYC controversy is all a buzz and people are chiming in from all directions, we feel it is probably best that we speak for ourselves on some of the points that maybe not so clear to folks… points where we see a lot of assumptions being made. Our position on slaughter We have not written a position on slaughter. This is because we simply haven't sat down to do it. There are so many groups working hard on this issue, groups committed to just this, that we prefer to support their positions for clarity's sake. Since saying nothing has allowed our critics to say something about this for us… here is our position. We are AGAINST industrial slaughter. We do not agree that it is humane for horses, cattle or any other creature at it's mercy. Wholesale slaughter is harmful to the animals, the humans eating their meat and the environment. It creates massive suffering on every level and furthers the terrible disconnect between man and nature. We are not saying that people who want to eat meat should be prevented from doing so… but the meat should be cared for mindfully and compassionately and then rendered in the same way, in our opinion. There are great minds out there working on sustainable, compassionate and productive designs...folks like Temple Grandin. We hope that more and more her work and others work in this are more and more supported. Buying your meat from local diversified farms is your best bet. A bullet to the head is by far the most efficient and humane way of putting down large animals… ask any farmer or Vet for that matter. Our Carriage driving history I (Pamela Rickenbach) was a carriage driver in Philadelphia for 2yrs. I originally took the job because I was interested in animal powered farming and I wanted to learn to drive horses. I had graduated from a horticultural/organic school in New York and I didn't know of any other way to learn other than living on a amish farm and that didn't seem too likely. Those couple of years working with a urban horses completely changed my life course. I was clueless about the disconnect we have culturally of the contribution horses have made historically or what they still can do until that job. Learning the revolutionary history and role of the horses in the industrial age helped shape how I began to look at sustainably with horses. I was completely unprepared for the level of disconnect from animal rights groups on this issue. I wanted to find a way to help bridge the differences of those that felt "working" horses is inhumane with those that "know" and work with working horses. I have read over and over in different places that we are "working" for the carriage industry… absolutely false. We are supported by a couple of carriage companies but largely not at all. Originally we thought they would be great supporters, having an organization
      J
      • 11 Months Ago
      Keep the nags. They're a proud tradition of the former Bloombergistan!
      jthorsewoman
      • 11 Months Ago
      i personally visited a stable where some of the horses live. it was clean, dry, and comfortable for the horses. there was plenty of water and good hay and clean bedding. the horses by law have to have enough time off to eat and relax. horses love to have a routine and be useful. they all are clean and happy. think of all the drivers, stable hands, hay suppliers, vets, and farriers who would lose jobs if the horses are forced to leave. and just where would they go? it costs hundreds to feed and stable a horse. many go to slaughter these days because it is too costly to keep them. please voice your opinion to keep the horses.
        cpmanx
        • 11 Months Ago
        @jthorsewoman
        NYCLASS and the ASPCA have pledged to find good retirement homes for the horses. If the phase-out really happens, animal lovers should remain vigilant to make sure NYCLASS lives up to its promise. See: http://www.nyclass.org/faq
          cpmanx
          • 11 Months Ago
          @cpmanx
          Like I said--they made a pledge, so if the ban happens people should hold them to their word. And as you indicate, the ASPCA has the money to make this happen. Finally, as everyone knows this is more than an animal-rights issue. It is an issue of traffic flow around Central Park; of life-quality issues for residents and workers (and even tourists) in the area; and of developers who are eager to build on the sites of the stable spaces on the west side.
          TheBarnRules
          • 11 Months Ago
          @cpmanx
          Yeah, riiight. First, the horses are PRIVATELY owned. By what authority does NYCLASS or the ASPCA, or anyone else for that matter, speak on this issue? Second, they have steadfastly refused to give the names of any of these so-called "good" homes - every horse rescue I know of is full up and desperate for money to feed the horses they have. Third, where is all the money for this going to come from? They won't give an accounting of where all the money they have allegedly raised for this and the "electric vintage car" is (and, btw, there are no “electric vintage cars” - there isn’t even a prototype - nothing has changed since this was written in October 2011: http://nyti.ms/1dXL4aJ). You can't just throw a horse out in a field and call it good and they can live well into their 30s. Where is all the money going to come from? Oh, and did you know that the ASPCA donated over $450,000 between 2008-2011 to NYCLASS and that Ed Sayres, the former-CEO of the ASPCA is also co-founder and co-president of NYCLASS along with Steve Nislick? There is not one single, solitary thing that is wrong with a horse pulling a carriage. If you want to know the truth about the well-being of these horses, read this - written by veterinarians who have actually examined the NYC carriage horses: http://bit.ly/198JNAd
      EZEE2
      • 11 Months Ago
      282 jobs, roughly, will be lost. Ahh well... On principle, however, what the heck happened to liberals? Any time they do not like something, they want to ban it for everyone. It is first demonized, then the power of government is harnessed to stop whatever they don't like. Or support what they do like. Guns, big cars/trucks/soda cups/your healthcare plan/your doctor/Easter eggs (diversity)/pop tarts chewed into the shape of a gun/finger guns, army men on cupcakes/happy meal toys (san Francisco)/feeding the homeless (no, really, many big cities have those bans, including NYC). I remember when it used to be, 'fight the power' and 'I'm okay, your okay' and diversity meant diversity if thought, not just skin color... They came for the Jews, but I wasn't Jewish, so I said nothing. Then they came for the light bulbs....the hansome cabs...my healthcare...my soda cup...my gun...my army men....
        H.E. Pennypacker
        • 11 Months Ago
        @EZEE2
        really, you're comparing replacing horses with cars to the holocaust? get a grip.
          Jamie Elmhirst
          • 11 Months Ago
          @H.E. Pennypacker
          Neo-Cons compare EVERYTHING to the holocaust. It's their thing. Helps maintain their perpetual persecution complex.
        EZEE2
        • 11 Months Ago
        @EZEE2
        Okay then open minded liberals...which freedoms are you willing to give up? The size of your soda? Your doctor? Your healthcare plan? Why is it that evey time you don't like something, you have to ban it for everyone? You don't want a big soda? Ban it for all. You don't like guns? Ban them for all. You don't like horses? Ban them for all. You don't like army men in schools? Ban them. You see a child who ate his pop tart in the shape of a gun, expell him from school. You don't want salt shakers in restaurants? Ban them for all! You don't like what a person says on the radio or tv. Boycott! Get them fired! Someone jokes that the president plays so much golf he wants to be in the PGA? Call him racist! Tell you what...I have some security ...just trade me the security for some liberty! You don't mind if the NSA tracks your phone calls, or takes your buddy lists and logs them. Why would it bother a liberal? Papers please....if you aren't guilty, you have nothing to worry about! Lets shut down an industry...it's okay....they won't come after your jobs....or, your company won't want to move because of an ever expanding imperial government, will they? Detroit had the highest per capita income in the USA I. 1960 when the liberals took over. Great job! So again,,,what's next? Men forced to buy maternity care? The government would never....wait....what? Men have to now have maternity care As a Part of Obamacare? Never mind....
          EZEE2
          • 11 Months Ago
          @EZEE2
          @cp I am still under the illusion that the left celebrates diversity, and is open minded. I am under the Illusion that we do not elect people to office to tell us what we can and cannot do, what business is fit to stay in business, and what business is not fit to stay in business. We were Americans once. That used to mean something. It meant freedom, liberty, and the choice to go into business, what type of business, and where. Now anytime there is a problem, we cry and go to government, expecting those that run the dmv to do stuff better than we could on our own. In the name of security, we give up our privacy so that our email, our phone calls, our health records...all monitored by the government. All down to the size of our cups, and whether we want a salt shaker in the table. Again I ask you - is this what you want? Is this the America you want to leave behind?
          cpmanx
          • 11 Months Ago
          @EZEE2
          Wow. You are on the wrong web site.
          cpmanx
          • 11 Months Ago
          @EZEE2
          You are very silly.
      Cool Disco Dan
      • 11 Months Ago
      Do you expect a socialist to understand the charm and economics that this time honoured tradition brings?
        clquake
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Cool Disco Dan
        Is it like asking a republican to understand science?
      cpmanx
      • 11 Months Ago
      Just to be clear: If the horses go away they are not going to be replaced by Nissan Leafs. They will be replaced by quaint electric carriages of some sort. You can see one proposal here: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/electric-gatsby-era-car-replace-horse-carriages-article-1.1329268 Getting rid of the horses is the right decision, and long overdue. Even for the tourists who find them charming, the horses create a foul smell, clog traffic, cover the paths and crosswalks with manure, and the animals look miserable (as much as I can tell the state of a horse). Since there is a way to offer an equivalent experience without all those drawbacks, it makes a lot of sense to make the switch.
        LoneWolf
        • 11 Months Ago
        @cpmanx
        How is a electric vehicle "equivalent" to a horse carriage? In the same way a human is "equivalent" to an gorilla?
        Kim Egan
        • 11 Months Ago
        @cpmanx
        There has never been a working model of the electric car with which it was proposed the horses be replaced. The horses look miserable to you because you *want* to believe they are miserable. They are actually very relaxed in their jobs and in very good health.
          MotionDesigner
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Kim Egan
          Really? You can just as easily say they look very relaxed in their jobs and in very good health because you *want* to believe they are. See how easily I flipped that? I'm no vet, but I can tell when a dog is happy or sad. And if you live in NYC and seen these horses up close in person, they do look more on the miserable side rather than the happy side.
          EZEE2
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Kim Egan
          Of course the horses are miserable! Why, people make their living from them, so obviously they are treated poorly. Like race car drivers. They don't treat their cars good, no! They treat them poorly, then expect them to win races! They probably don't feed the horses, then expect them to live for years. And...they are all racists!
          cpmanx
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Kim Egan
          Right--there is no plan as yet of how the phase out would happen, and not even a formal plan that it will happen. This is just the very beginning of the proposal. I freely admitted I am only guessing at the state of the horses. You, however, seem to have a horse mind-meld that lets you know they are "very relaxed in their jobs." I'd love to know how that works.
      Stephanie Zuzworsky
      • 11 Months Ago
      There is no reason for a ban , other than the fact DiBlasio was purchased by NYClass. Dirty politics, greed,$$$$$$. He couldn't care less about the horses or the drivers. This guy has never visited the stables. How do you even attempt something like this w/o investigating it fully??? A foreshadow of what's next to come.... NYC is in big trouble with this puppet.
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