Remember how de Blasio was going to get rid of carriage horses the moment he took office? And then remember how Liam Neeson challenged de Blasio to reconsider this pledge because horses add an inestimable charm to this bleak, terrible city that would never get a single visitor were it not for the promise of equine-hosted tours through Central Park? And then remember how just when everyone got all worked up into a good frothing fury over the whole issue, it dropped right off the radar because, I don’t know, maybe de Blasio cared more about
the money he got from real estate developers who wanted to be able to build in the prime locations where the horses were stabled than the horses themselves ferrets? Well! Get ready for the conversation to maybe, possibly, probably begin again, because last night? A carriage horse bolted from its carriage and ran rampant through Central Park before slamming into a cab. Ouch.
Via the New York Daily News (which is, if you’ll remember, pro-Neeson), “a chestnut horse named Pumpkin, 6, slipped free of his bridle at about 5:45 p.m. while in the hack line on Sixth Ave. and Central Park South.” The horse was eventually restrained by Joseph Siniscalchi, who managed to stop the steed by, well, steering him into the door of a taxi (see below). Although the door of the cab (which was carrying Mets player Matt den Dekker, proving once and for all that the Mets are literally the unluckiest team on earth) was pretty mangled, there are no reported injuries to any park-goers, or to the horse itself.
But what does this mean to the whole carriage horse debate? Well, de Blasio hasn’t issued a statement as of yet, but a spokesman for the carriage horse industry said that this was actually an example of the industry’s “professionalism” and that they “knew where the horse would go, corralled it, and brought it back to the stable.” Which, interesting! Because it seems like the person who actually corralled it had absolutely nothing to do with the industry and was rather a good samaritan who was in the right place at the right time. NYCLASS, the group most vocally opposed to keeping horses on city streets, released a statement as well: ““Carriage horses and busy New York City streets simply don’t mix. This is just the latest instance that shows how unsafe horse carriages can be. It’s time to retire the carriage horses and replace them with something that doesn’t spook or dart dangerously through traffic and pedestrians.”
De Blasio has said that he expects the city council to vote on this issue by year’s end, so, who knows? Maybe by this time next year, we’ll all be riding around Central Park in cars driven by ferrets. Only time will tell.
Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen
— Sasha Damouni (@SashaDamouni) June 9, 2014