May 2008 - Central Park

Horse Drawn Carriages Part Two

In the past year I have commented several times on the Horse Drawn Carriage industry as it is carried out in New York. Initially I was of the opinion that it was a more or less innocent tradition that provided a colorful way to tour New York and Central Park. During the past few months I’ve been forced to confront the awful truth of the matter – that, no matter how quaint or traditional, there is no defense for making horses live in squalid cells and have to walk through traffic behind buses and trucks. That’s without even considering the accidents that occur.

In the interests of fair play and public discourse I have posted both sides of the argument in the comments below each posting. The last one resulted in me being called “stupid”, “ignorant” and, my favorite, a “humaniac”. The fact that these comments were sent within an hour of my posting would indicate that the industry is employing a veritable herd of PR flacks whose job it is to address every affront to the industry, even one as innocuous as my last observation. My favorite was the comment by Michaleen Flynn, a sobriquet conjuring the image of the lovable character played by Barry Fitzgerald in the move “The Quiet Man”. This apparently is supposed to lend some sort of authenticity to his homey Irish comments. I offered this person the opportunity to be interviewed for this website and present his side of the story. He refused, . . . → Read More: Horse Drawn Carriages Part Two

SummerStaging

SummerStage offers one of the most amazingly enjoyable ways to spend a summer evening in Central Park. It offers a lineup of talent that is so exuberantly varied that even the most eclectic of tastes can find something suitably obscure and cool (and I mean obscure and cool like discovering the Bird and the Bee before your other downtown friends, not Norwegian rap groups.) It is also almost always free, which is great, especially when you imagine the diversity in the possible environments that manifest in Central Park during mid-summer: balmy, breezy, starry skies vs. overcast terrarium.

Click here for a pdf of the full schedule as well as helpful tips.

Horses Back in Central Park

Since the closing of the Claremont Stables last year the Parks Department has had to haul its horses in a trailer from a stable at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. The closing has also greatly diminished the department’s mounted patrol units and rendered scarce one of Central Park’s most charming images, the horse and rider.

To remedy this situation the Parks Department plans to build a one-story brick stable, to house five horses, near the Central Park Zoo, at Fifth Avenue and 63rd Street. The Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the plan on April 8. Construction of the stable is expected to begin this summer and be completed by the fall.

It is encouraging to note that the Parks Department horses will be cared for in a responsible and humane way, thus sparing the animals the stress of having to be schlepped back and forth to the Bronx everyday. It will also be wonderful to have the animals be more of a presence in the park, one of the lovliest, most pastoral of images of Central Park is a horse and rider ambling gracefully along the bridle path.

The problem is this will present an even more stark and disturbing contrast to the treatment of the carriage horses that glumly trudge along Central Park South less than a hundred yards away. They don’t have to worry about a ride to Van Cortlandt Park, they get to walk back to their garage through traffic. Doesn’t seem quite fair, does it?


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