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Thread: Central Park Romance??

  1. #31


    Quote Originally Posted by Jasonik View Post
    [LatelineNews: 2004-11-27] NEW YORK - A man jumped to his death Friday from the 86th-floor observation deck at the Empire State Building, one of Manhattan's busiest tourist destinations, police said. The apparent suicide forced police to briefly close the landmark on Fifth Avenue to tourists in New York for the holiday weekend.

    The man apparently climbed over a security fence that encloses the observation deck before leaping off. He hit a landing on the sixth floor, where he died instantly, police said.

    No identification was found on his body.

    At least 31 other people have committed suicide at the Empire State Building since it opened in 1931. More than 3.8 million people visit the tourist attraction each year, according to the building's Web site.

    It is 1,454 feet to the top of the Empire State Building's lightning rod.
    Looks like the Empire State Building is out too.
    I say go catch an Independent film or go to a museum and end the night at Central Park watching the sunset on top of one of those big rocks(no carriage ride, they always tend to smell) with a bottle of wine.

  2. #32


    June 19, 2008, 3:27 pm

    Film Puts Horse Before Cart, Then Shows Chaos

    By Jennifer 8. Lee

    A new documentary about New York’s horse-drawn carriages has entered the fray in the face-off between animal advocates and the carriage industry.

    The film, “Blinders”, by Donny Moss, starts with the idyllic sounds of clip-clopping, scenes of Central Park and interviews with happy tourists fresh off carriage rides.

    Then it transitions into images and scenes from a carriage accident in January 2006, where a spooked horse threw its driver and ran into a car on Ninth Avenue, injuring three people. The accident, which resulted in the injured horse being put down, sparked the creation of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages. It was around this time that Mr. Moss became interested in horse issues and decided to pursue a documentary.

    Horses, of course, were once a transportation mainstay in 19th-century New York City (descriptions of horses dying of overwork, disease, heat and fire were common). But over time, with the car, horses’ practical functions were phased out, and now they are largely used for recreation in Central Park.

    The carriage industry said the film is deceptive and selective. “There is nothing charming about a manipulative overly edited propaganda film by a group of animal extremists,” said Carolyn Daly, a spokeswoman for the Horse and Carriage Association of New York.

    The 52-minute documentary, which was shown on Wednesday night at a screening organized by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the actor Alec Baldwin, then recounts a number of horse-related incidents:

    In 2007, a carriage horse was killed near Central Park after it became startled by loud noises, apparently street music, and darted onto a sidewalk, where it became stuck between two poles and died as it tried to lunge forward. This prompted another call on banning horse carriages by PETA and the Coalition.

    In September 2006, Juliet, a 17-year veteran, collapsed before a crowd of onlookers. The owner tried to get her up by whipping her on orders from a veterinarian, who suspected that she had colic. She died later in her Hell’s Kitchen stable. (In a bit of time-shifting, the film follows this with a headline from a 1989 letter to the editor from The Times, “Treatment of Carriage Horses is a Blight on New York City’s Image”).

    The litany continues:

    In 1999, a horse named Jackie was electrocuted when she stepped on a steel Con Edison service box on East 59th Street that had short-circuited from a combination of rain, corrosive salt and frayed wires.

    In 2000, 21 horses burned to death in a fire with 30-foot flames in a Brooklyn stable. (The film makes the point that housing horses anywhere but the first floor can be a fire hazard because of difficulty of exits.

    However, the film neglects to fully point out that the burned stable is some 10 miles from Central Park — over an hour in New York City traffic — and apparently thus did not house any carriage horses, which are housed in five West Side Stables. The burned stable did house two horses that belonged to the city’s Parks Department and many privately owned horses.)

    The film also cites the city comptroller’s audit of horse carriage licenses, which raised a variety of concerns, including: lax veterinary care, infrequent inspections, not enough water for the horses, risk of overheating on hot asphalt, and the fact they were forced to stand in their own waste because of inadequate drainage.

    Ms. Daly said the filmmaker never tried to make contact with the association. “I think the truth is what you see every single day up in Central Park: happy, healthy, strong, beautiful horses that are well cared for, loved, and have homes, jobs and everything a horse needs in this life,” she said.

    The association commissioned its own health report by a Cornell University veterinarian that found the horses to be healthy.

    Nonetheless, the film will certainly be used to attract attention to the movement to ban horse carriages.

    Last December, Tony Avella, a city councilman who is running for mayor, introduced a bill that would ban horse-drawn carriages in New York City. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has voiced support for the industry

    Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
    Last edited by brianac; June 19th, 2008 at 05:20 PM.

  3. #33
    Senior Member
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    Feb 2004
    Far West Village, NYC


    Just looking at this from a distance, I think they need to cut the number of horse drawn carriage permits by 50% to 60%. I've never walked down 59th and not encountered an interminable line of bored drivers and idle horses (defecating).

  4. #34


    Too true.

    I don't think anyone would like to see the end of this special Central Park attraction but is important that the horses are treated well.

  5. #35


    The fight goes on. And this is what they spend their time arguing about.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Horse-Drawn Carriage Supporters Question the Flowers Pam Anderson Gave Tony Avella

    by Azi Paybarah | July 31, 2008

    A trade group that Tony Avella has been critical of is asking the city Conflict of Interest Board to look into whether the flowers Avella received from Pamela Anderson (and “all your pals at the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)!”) violated the city ban on gifts to lawmakers.

    A lawyer for the Horse & Carriage Association of New York sent the letter today asking the C.O.I.B. to look into the matter. (Avella wants to pass a ban on horse-drawn carriages.)

    The letter, forwarded to reporters by the group’s spokeswoman, says:
    On Tuesday, July 29, Mr. Avella accepted and publicized a bouquet of yellow roses presented to him in his Council District Office from the animal activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (aka PETA). PETA has been actively lobbying and attempting to influence members of the City Council, including Mr. Avella, for well over a year. At their urging, Mr. Avella introduced a piece of legislation last December calling for a ban on the horse carriage industry in New York City.

    Our investigation showed that the flowers Mr. Avella accepted were from Ditmars Flowers & Gifts in Queens and valued at approximately $75.00. We believe Mr. Avella is in complete violation of the ethics rules and gift laws and would appreciate the Conflicts of Interest Board investigating this matter.
    But Avella’s Deputy Chief of Staff, David Troise, said there’s no problem with the flowers. In an email to me, Troise explained:
    Prior to accepting the flowers from Ms. Anderson, our legislative counsel, Rebecca Sheehan contacted the Executive Director of the Conflict of Interests Board, Mark Davies, to check if the Councilman was allowed to accept the flowers.

    Mark Davies informed Ms. Sheehan that we were able to accept the flowers because they are a perishable item and because they could not be returned to the sender. The other stipulation was that the flowers had to be displayed in a public area, which they are.

    © 2008 Observer Media Group,

  6. #36
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    New York governor demands better treatment for Central Park carriage horses

    By Michael Gormley

    ALBANY, N.Y. — 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.

    Horsemen, however, have their own high-profile fans, including Irish actor Liam Neeson and others who testified for them at a recent hearing about how well the horses are treated and how important the service is to the city.

    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.

    There are 225 horses hauling 68 carriages in and around Central Park. Each animal gets a once-a-year veterinarian checkup.

    Current law prohibits the horses from working more than nine hours within a 24-hour period, although that's often split between two shifts. They typically work about six hours during the day, then three more at night. They can't start work before 9:30 a.m.

    Although the carriages are immense, horsemen note ball bearings in the wheels make the haul easier. Horsemen also recently added a solar powered water trough in the park and a sprinkler system in the stalls.

    The horsemen are pushing for changes of their own, including vacations of four to five weeks for each horse and twice-a-year vet exams. Horsemen also note each horse has its own "box stall," but protesters have said they think the individual stalls don't provide enough space for horses to move around.

    The horsemen, many of whom are Irish-American, say they want to preserve tradition while also improving horses' lives. Steven Malone started in the business when he was 6 years old. His father, an immigrant blacksmith, started his own carriage business in 1967.

    "A lot of us grew up in the business and we're doing everything we can in our power to preserve the iconic image, but also to treat the horses with the utmost respect and care," said Malone, speaking for the Horse & Carriage Association. "The animals have a fantastic life."

    He said Wednesday that a bill before City Council would make several improvements in the horses' treatment while also changing the fee to $50 for a half-hour ride, from the current $34 for 20 minutes.

    The city Health Department, which issues permits and inspects the stables and horses regularly, is considering its own reforms.

    An advisory board of veterinarians, horsemen and community activists issued recommendations nearly a year ago. They include larger stalls, "hoof branding" with computer chips to monitor the horses, emergency protocols and emergency contacts in the stables, said Jessica Scaperotti of the city Health Department.

    The Horse & Carriage Association supports the ideas, many of which would address Paterson's concerns.

  7. #37
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    Washington Heights


    Horse activism aside, I would say that, no, it's not romantic to go on a horse-led carriage ride. A human on a bike is probably cheaper and I'm sure you could tell him not to talk- he might even give you a discount for not having to say the same things for the 100th time that day.

    An aside story, one time I was late for a party and couldn't find a cab for some odd reason. The party was on the opposite side of Central Park so I hailed a man on a bike and had him rush me over there to the party in style

  8. #38
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    Carriage Horses Have Their Day at City Hall


    Manhattan’s carriage horses may soon get an annual five-week vacation and safer working conditions, while their drivers receive a 47 percent pay raise – their first increase in more than 20 years.

    Alternatively, horse-drawn carriage rides might instead become part of the fabled history they reproduce for thousands of tourists each year and be phased out in favor of fuel-efficient classic cars.

    Or carriage rides may be restricted to Central Park. Or they might be simply outlawed.

    All these possibilities were discussed in the City Council Friday as the council’s Consumer Affairs Committee held a hearing on four bills aimed at transforming the horse-drawn carriage industry one way or another.

    Members of the Teamsters Union Local 553, which represent carriage drivers, and animal rights groups traded jabs with council members and each other over hours of testimony that sometimes pitted the jobs of several hundred hansom drivers and stable hands against the welfare of their animals.

    Most council members at the hearing indicated support for an industry-backed bill that would require better working and living conditions for the horses and also would increase the rate a horse carriage driver can legally charge, from $34 for a half-hour ride to $50.

    “We really can’t afford to lose this industry when we’re leaking money all over the place,” said Councilman Leroy Comrie of Queens, who echoed concerns from the horse carriage industry and other councilmembers that it was dangerous to eliminate jobs in the middle of a recession.

    The bill, sponsored by Councilman James F. Gennaro of Queens and others, has the support of the Bloomberg Administration — a deputy health commissioner spoke in its favor Friday.

    During the hearing, Mr. Comrie asked to add his name to the list of sponsors of the bill. “The horse carriage industry is part of what makes New York City special,” he said.

    But other council members disagreed.

    “I don’t think it’s the only reason why people come to New York -– to ride in a horse carriage,” said Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito, who introduced a bill of her own.

    It seeks to phase out horse-drawn carriages by April, 2012 and replace them with a fleet of zero-emission show cars designed to look like antique automobiles.

    Ms. Mark-Viverito said the show cars could be operated by horse carriage drivers and would make New York a leader in ecotourism. She also indicated that the show cars would not be able to overcharge customers, for which horse carriage drivers have been criticized in the past.

    At the hearing, Ms. Mark-Viverito’s bill received the support of the ASPCA, New Yorkers for Clean, Livable & Safe Streets and the League of Humane Voters.

    “It would be a win-win-win,” said John Phillips of the League of Humane Voters. “The horses, the carriage industry and the city would all benefit.”

    Stephen Malone, Executive Director of the Horse and Carriage Association of New York, criticized Ms. Mark-Viverito’s bill for trying to remove the horse carriage in favor of an industry whose success remains largely speculative.

    After his testimony and outside the council chambers Mr. Malone reflected a bit further.
    “There’s nothing greener than a horse, I’ll tell you that right now,” he said.

    Of the other two bills, one would abolish carriages outright. It is similar to a bill introduced in 2007 by Councilman Tony Avella, who said that the horses were not treated properly.

    The other bill would restrict the hours of operation for carriages and bar them from operating outside of Central Park.

    Friday’s session, attended by about 200 people, was the first hearing on the bills. If any of them pass the committee, they go before the full council.

  9. #39
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    Council Passes Fare Increase and Vacation for Carriage Horses


    Concluding, for now, a debate that brought vivid responses from both sides, the City Council passed a bill Wednesday to increase the fare for horse-drawn carriage rides while improving some conditions for the horses.

    Speaker Christine C. Quinn called the bill a “huge step forward,” but was heckled by opponents of the industry.

    The new law increases the fare to $50 for the first 20 minutes from $34 for the first half hour — the first increase in more than 20 years.

    At the same time, the bill mandates stalls large enough for the horses to turn around and lie down in, and five weeks of vacation per year at a stable with a paddock or a pasture turnout.

    The law also limits carriage horses to between 5 and 26 years of age. And it bans carriages from operating south of 34th Street, and from operating between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m.

    The bill passed by a vote of 43 to 4, with one abstention, but several council members who voted for it voiced concerns about how the regulations would be enforced.

    Ms. Quinn and Councilman James F. Gennaro, the prime sponsor of the bill, said at a news conference that although the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals opposed the bill itself, it had also worked with the council to make improvements in the regulations, including the amount of vacation time. The council members said they hoped that the society would continue to help in enforcing the law.

    As Ms. Quinn introduced the bill, saying it was “a fair balance between having regulations that protect the horses that are part of this industry, but keeps an industry that supports 300 families,” she was met by catcalls, with one spectator shouting, “You’re a liar!”

    According to an audit conducted in 2006, there are about 221 licensed horses, 293 licensed drivers and 68 licensed carriages operating in New York City. Animal rights groups have called for the abolition of horse-drawn carriages, saying that the horses are mistreated.

    Bills calling for a ban on the carriages, and one proposing to phase them out and replace them with classic cars powered by alternative fuel, were also introduced to the Council this year, but did not pass the Committee on Consumer Affairs.

  10. #40
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    Yeah, we all know a ride in a classic car is just as unique and attractive as in a horse drawn carriage.

    I am sure Carrie and Mr "Big" would have loved to end things that way, it would have been SO romantic!

  11. #41
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    For Giddyup, Give a Horse a Holiday


    Mister Ed knew what he wanted out of a vacation. He once stowed away on a cruise ship bound for Honolulu, took up surfing and announced that he liked the Hawaiian life so much he wouldn’t be returning home.

    Never mind that Mister Ed was a horse (of course), or that “home” with Wilbur was a lot like a vacation. Mister Ed was indulged. He worked only when he felt like it. This is not the case for much of equinedom. Working horses abound. They patrol with the beat cop. They prance in the ring. They race. They parade. They round stuff up and haul stuff around.

    But do they need vacations, and if so do they pack their Hermès valises and head to the Bahamas?

    The New York City Council seemed to think vacations were a good idea when last week it mandated five weeks a year for the more than 200 tourist-carting carriage horses that clop-clop around Central Park and through the unyielding streets of Manhattan, day in, day out, deep into the night.

    The Horse and Carriage Association of New York says on its Web site that the majority of these horses already get “two to four nonconsecutive months off in the Pennsylvania Amish Country.” (Do the workaholics among them moonlight on the buggy shift?)

    That doesn’t sound too bad, but if we were a horse we might prefer what some other city slickers, the Queen’s Household Cavalry in London, opt for: a frolic at the beach, or what Britons have long called the “bucket and spade holiday.” After the pomp of Buckingham Palace, these busy Londoners love a bit of seaside sun.

    Fran Jurga of Gloucester, Mass., who publishes the equine journal Hoofcare and Lameness and blogs on horse health for Equus Magazine, suggests that some vacations beat others, but this has more to do with turf than surf.

    Grass, grass, grass. Nothing makes a horse happier (if we can presume to get inside a horse’s head here) than a little grazing in open pasture. And “horses have total memory recall,” Ms. Jurga said. “They don’t forget what grass is.”

    “Usually the first thing a horse does when it is set loose in a field or paddock will be to roll in a sandy spot,” she said. “They will take great pleasure in this, and wave their feet in the air almost as if expressing joy and contentment as they scratch their backs. In Britain, it was said that when the pit ponies came up from the mines, often after months or years without seeing daylight or smelling grass, they invariably rolled and rolled.”

    Cathy Behn, secretary of the Clydesdale Breeders of the U.S.A., is all for grassy vacations. Grazing, along with “fresh water and a loving pat every once and a while,” is what her Clydes like best after the concrete habitat of the Wisconsin State Fair.

    She sounded a bit disapproving of the queen’s horses running off to the beach. Sand isn’t good for draft horses, she said. Too much and they can get sand colic and die.

    Ms. Jurga, too, sees health as a concern for the recreating horse. Equine rhabdomyelosis, also called Monday morning disease, is a cramping condition and “quite debilitating to a horse that has been fed a normal ration of feed on a day off, then heads out to work on the next day.”

    Horses “probably all need rest, depending on how hard they work,” she said. Then again, they are “incredible creatures of habit; they actually don’t like their routines broken up,” she said. “They like everything done the same way, every day, at the same time.” Fire horses were known to respond to a bell long after they retired, trotting to the barn in search of the harness.

    It’s good to kick off the shoes now and then, but Ms. Jurga wonders what vacations for carriage horses mean. “Mostly,” she said, “I think the change would be in attitude. They might be bright and energetic after the break, and that is not always desirable in a carriage horse.”

    Tell that to the Lipizzaner stallions of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, who vacation at a farm in the countryside. Like a lot of Europeans, they take quite a bit of the summer off, so tourists in search of equine entertainment are better off coming to New York.

  12. #42
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    The Harsh Reality for New York Carriage Horses

    by Laura Eldridge

    A recent bill passed by the City Council (Intro 35) granting 5 weeks vacation to NYC carriage horses received a great deal of attention in the press, with news anchors chuckling over such an extravagant benefit. It's easy to see why your average overworked New Yorker would feel a touch of envy, but the harsh reality of life for a carriage horse working in New York City is no laughing matter.

    They routinely work at least 9 hours a day, pulling a vehicle that weighs hundreds of pounds, on hard pavement, while breathing exhaust from cars, buses and taxis.

    Unaccustomed to the urban environment, horses can be "spooked" easily, by anything from another horse to a plastic shopping bag to a pedestrian, and cause accidents that inflict great damage on vehicles, drivers and most often, the horses themselves.

    At the end of the day the horses return to their tiny stalls in stables housed in former tenement buildings on the far West side of the city, or as Jon Stewart once called it, "The sad-eyed horse carriage district." The cramped space doesn't allow these enormous animals to lie down or to move about freely and get the daily exercise that equine veterinarians agree they need.

    Once a horse hits the streets of Manhattan, its life expectancy is cut in half. After a few years of work, injuries and illness usually force the horses into retirement, not to a farm or pasture but to auctions in Pennsylvania where they can be sold to kill-buyers, transported to Mexico and Canada and slaughtered for meat.

    As for the 5 week vacation promised in the bill (Intro 35) recently signed into law by Mayor Bloomberg? It sure sounds nice, but don't expect to be running into a horse at the Jersey Shore anytime soon. The minimal regulations already in place are frequently ignored by carriage horse owners and drivers, with no repercussions. The NYC Department of Health and the Department of Consumer Affairs simply don't have the resources or the expertise to fulfill their oversight responsibilities for the 211 carriage horses.

    According to a 2007 audit by former NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson, the Department of Health's veterinary consultants spent an average of only 25 minutes inspecting each stable - and that 25 minutes included traveling from one stable to the next, inspecting the condition of the facilities, reviewing paperwork maintained by the horse owners, and completing their own paperwork, not to mention checking out the physical conditions of the horses.

    It is no surprise then, that when comparing the 2005 health certificates of the horses with the 2006 certificates, investigators from the Comptroller's office found that 42% of them had conflicting descriptions of the same horses, including age, color, breed, name and gender. With such shoddy record-keeping, who will ever know if the horses get their much talked-about vacation?

    The workers in the horse carriage industry don't fare much better. They are independent contractors and their daily income is based on how many rides they sell. They certainly do not get any paid vacation or sick days, let alone any other benefits, like unemployment, health insurance or workman's compensation despite the frequent injuries incurred on the job.

    The New York City Council should pass legislation that supports the welfare of humans and animals. A bill currently before the City Council, Intro 86, would phase out the horse-drawn carriages and replace them with green horseless carriages. This new industry would create well-paying jobs with full benefits, and would allow for the retirement of the over-worked horses to farms and sanctuaries.

  13. #43
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    City Tells Carriage-Horse Stable It’s Time to Close


    Wood shavings dust the concrete ramp leading into to Shamrock Stables, one of five carriage-horse stables in New York City. But by mid-June, those shavings, the smell of manure, and the quiet whispers of the stable’s Irish owners will probably be replaced by the sites and sounds of construction as the city plans to move forward with a luxury and moderately priced housing development that will also include a new school, stores and open space.

    At odds are a family-run business facing eviction June 1 and the city’s need to expand and redevelop. The loss could be a quarter of the city’s carriage horses, beloved by some New Yorkers, while others think they have been mistreated for years and should be prohibited in the city.

    “We hold New York’s most precious commodity in the palm of our hand — and that’s the tourist,” Ian McKeever, an owner of the stable, said at a news conference on Tuesday aimed at winning some kind of financial support from the city. “Compassion is what I am looking for in these economic times.”

    Shamrock Stables is the only stable leasing its building from the city. According to Carolyn Daly, a spokeswoman for the stable, Shamrock has been a city tenant for 41 years, originally on 61st Street near Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive and, since 2001, at 522 West 45th Street.

    Mr. McKeever, 41, and the other owner, John Campbell, 74, said that when the city relocated them in 2001, they signed a month-to-month lease with the city, which led them to believe they would ultimately return to their original location. “But they didn’t put it in writing or make it official,” Mr. Campbell said.

    Months turned into years, and during those years the city notified Shamrock Stables more than once that the land had been rezoned and that their stables were destined for redevelopment.

    “We knew this would be developed at some point,” said Mr. McKeever, who pays $5,000 a month in rent. Mr. McKeever said he believed comparable stables would cost $60,000 a month to rent, which he said he and his tenants could not afford.

    Last fall, Shamrock received notification that the city had sold the land to Gotham Construction for development and that they would have to find new homes for their horses and carriages by the end of 2009. City courts granted the stables an extension through May, but over the last few months, some of Shamrock’s tenants, growing nervous, left the stable and settled in stalls located in the four other carriage stables around the city.

    “We know it’s not easy to relocate a business, but this is something that has been in the works since 2005, and this,” said Eric Bederman, a spokesman for the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, referring to development, “is something the community needs.”

    According to Mr. Bederman, the city’s other stables, which are all privately operated, have the capacity to house the remaining horses at Shamrock’s stables, but carriage drivers and supporters of Shamrock Stables say every stable needs a few open stalls for sick horses.

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