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TWU proposes new Central Park stable in response to calls to ban horse-drawn carriages in New York City

NYC horse carriage drivers call for new Central Park stable
NYC horse carriage drivers call for new Central Park stable 02:27

NEW YORK -- Fighting for survival, New York City horse-carriage drivers are calling for a new stable in Central Park and more oversight for the popular tourist attraction. 

The drivers are trying to save their industry after the dramatic collapse of an elderly horse in Midtown, CBS2's political reporter Marcia Kramer reported Friday. 

Carriage rides in Central Park have been offered for 164 years. The men and women who currently operate them are determined to save their industry. They and their union unveiled a detailed "Big Heart" platform with new rules and regulations to improve oversight and care of the animals. 

It also calls for a new stable. 

"A stable in the park that would mean that these horses no longer would have to commute through traffic from their stables on Manhattan's West Side. We think it would be a win-win for everybody," said Pete Donohue, a spokesperson for TWU Local 100. 

The move comes after an elderly horse named "Ryder" dramatically collapsed in Hell's Kitchen last month while on his way to the stable after a long day of working in the heat. 

The drivers say a new stable is just the ticket to improve the lives of the animals. They're also calling for:

  • A full-time veterinarian to check the health of the horses
  • Doubling the number of required medical checkups
  • Earlier start times so horses can work during the cooler morning hours
  • Limiting the work day to nine hours 

Drivers say they're a key part of the city's tourism industry. 

"When you come to Central Park this is one of the things that you want to do and so, when one in 11 New Yorkers is employed in tourism and hospitality and we're trying to recover from the pandemic, the fact that we're still here and people are still coming to ride, and they love us, this is valuable for New York City," said Christina Hansen, a driver. 

Advocates who want the carriage horses replaced with electric cars are cynical about the drivers' motives. 

"It's a really transparent, pathetic attempt for the carriage owners to try to suddenly pretend that they give a damn about the horses that they've been abusing, neglecting, lying to the world about. Working elderly horses that are sick until they drop, until they crash into traffic or drop dead," said Edita Birkrant, executive director for NYCLASS. 

A bill to replace the carriage horses is making its way through the City Council. So far, Mayor Eric Adams has not signed on.

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