New York Governor Demands Better Treatment for Central Park Carriage Horses

Deluxe Accommodations

Deluxe Accommodations

The New York State Governor has taken a stand against the local horse and carriage industry that puts our local pols to shame.  Gov. David Paterson, taking on the 150-year-old tradition of horse-drawn carriage rides in Manhattan’s Central Park, says the horses need to be treated better or the popular tourist rides should be banned.  His recent comment before an animal activist group, rare from a high-level official, drew praise from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Paterson seeks “more humane treatment of horses that have often suffered due to difficult work conditions,” said Paterson spokeswoman Marissa Shorenstein. “Horse carriages are important to New York’s overall tourism industry and to the fabric of New York City’s culture, however we must be certain to treat horses and all animals ethically.”

The romantic rides in ornate Hansom carriages have graced Central Park since the 19th century, drawing 800,000 customers a year. They have been featured in tourism ads and in countless movies and TV shows.  But Paterson and animal rights groups say the horses’ stables are too small and too cold in winter and that the constant work isn’t humane. There are occasional crashes with automobiles, one of which left a horse dead last year.

Police Department To Increase Patrols In Central Park

The New York Police Department has increased patrols in Central Park after three muggings took place there last weekend. Three people were mugged at gunpoint Sunday morning near East 102nd Street. Police are searching for three suspects – one man was arrested, but released after he wasn’t picked in a line-up. The released suspect is facing a weapons charge because policemen say he had a .38-caliber revolver in his possession.

Back on November 2, another man was attacked near the East Drive and the Great Lawn. A week before that, there was another mugging near 97th Street and West Drive. Police do not believe the incidents are connected – I don’t think so either, however this is a reminder that with the Park getting dark by around five pm now it is advisable to take some common sense precautions.

Stick to parts of the Park drive that are well populated with dog walkers and other runners – in general the farther north you get in the park the sparser the crowds, this applies especially after seven PM in the winter months. The NYRR has a number of running groups that meet every night that accommodate runners at a variety of speeds and distances.