Looks like the great 157-year tradition of riding a horse drawn carriage through New York’s Central Park may end.
Far left New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s priority as mayor is to eliminate these carriages and replace them with electric cars. No, we can’t make this stuff up.
Horse-drawn carriage drivers are vowing to fight New York City's new mayor in his bid to eliminate the carriages from the Big Apple and replace them with vintage-style electric cars.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, citing the complaints of animal rights activists, singled out Central Park's horse-drawn carriages as he took the helm of New York City 2 weeks ago. "We are going to get rid of the horse carriages. Period," de Blasio said. "They are not humane, they are not appropriate for the year 2014. It's over. So, just watch us do it." Mr. de Blasio believes in heavy-handed government.
“De Blasio has never visited our stables,” Christina Hansen, carriage driver and liaison for the Horse and Carriage Association of New York City, told FoxNews.com. “This really has nothing to do with the welfare of the horses. If it did, we could sit down with Mayor de Blasio or the City Council ... and have a discussion. This is about radical animal rights ideology, it’s about money, power, politics and real estate, ” says Hansen.
She claims that the cars may be a novelty at first, but who wants to ride a golf cart in the park? She adds, “I can’t understand how someone can look at a fat shiny horse, strolling down the street minding its own business, and see animal cruelty. These are people who don't know anything about horses.”
Such connections lead to accusations that the ban has little to do with animal welfare. Even if it did, say carriage owners, such claims are baseless. Hansen says that horses are usually given four to six months off per year, much more than the five weeks required by law.
“We know that these horses have it just as good as in Lexington, Ky., which is the Disneyland of horses,” argued Hansen, who grew up among horses in Kentucky herself.
The real motivation for the plan, carriage owners claim, comes from the close-knit bond between de Blasio and an animal rights group called New Yorkers for Clean, Livable, and Safe Streets (NYCLASS) -- whose motto is “Get political for animals.” The group claims the animals are mistreated with no real proof.
NYCLASS, played a significant role in the defeat of de Blasio’s Democratic rival in last year's mayoral election, pumping over $700,000 into a political action committee called “New York City Is Not For Sale” -- a PAC set up expressly to defeat one-time front-runner Christine Quinn.
NYCLASS was founded by Steve Nislick, former CEO of Edison Properties. His opponents claim that if the carriage stables close, the prime real estate would be available, and Edison would be likely to snap it up. According to the New York Post, Nislick also donated the personal maximum to de Blasio’s campaign, while in December, de Blasio attended a fundraiser for NYCLASS.
At issue here is Edison Properties, which is, as real-estate writer Michael Gross reported in 2009, “a real estate development and management company” that just happens to have two businesses, “Manhattan Mini-Storage and Edison ParkFast — with multiple locations in the same Far West Midtown neighborhood as the stables where the Central Park horses are housed.”
So Steve Nislick is the person heading up the ban of carriages and the same one who will benefit from its elimination.
His connections to local politics are deep, and his company ... employs legions of lobbyists to influence city decisions on real estate and zoning in its favor.
Gross writes, “Currently, the stables consist of 64,000 square feet of valuable real estate on lots that could accommodate up to 150,000 square feet of development. These lots could be sold for new development.”
And the horses could be sold to a glue factory, too.
When asked in 1990 to describe his political views, de Blasio replied that he was an advocate of “democratic socialism.” In the mid-nineties, he served as executive director of the New York branch of the New Party, a pro-socialist, ACORN-affiliated entity to which Barack Obama likewise belonged.
In 1994 de Blasio managed New York Congressman Charles Rangel's re-election campaign. When de Blasio married former lesbian activist Chirlane McCray that same year, the couple honeymooned in Fidel Castro's Cuba, in violation of the U.S. ban on travel to that country.
Expect more heavy-handed government from the New York mayor.