Posted on November 07, 2009
What’s more iconic than a horse-drawn carriage ride around Central Park? What says “New York” more then the clip clopping of horse’s hooves near the Plaza? OK, maybe many things, but that’s certainly up there. It turns out that, as of this winter, more than two dozen New York City carriage horses may be out of a home and therefore, will be out of work (as will their drivers.) Shamrock Stables, home to the carriage horses, has been ordered by the city’s Housing Preservation and Development Agency to vacate its current space by the end of December. Thirteen hundred units of affordable housing, 10,000 feet of retail space, and a new school will be moving into the space on West 45th Street. Manhattan does have four other stables—all located in the west 30s, 40s and 50s--but they’re all full up, especially during the holidays. It’s not just that the horses themselves take up a lot of room--the 700 bales of hay they eat every two weeks, as well as a great deal of equipment, also needs to be factored in. The stables will most likely remain open through the holidays, a peak time for the horse-drawn carriages because of both the influx of tourists and the holiday spirit that seizes many New Yorkers. (Ah, a winter ride through the snowy park…) Animal-rights activists have long protested the stables and working conditions of the horses in the city, while others feel they are an essential part of New York. In addition, the stables were definitely ready for their close-up: The long-running TV series ”Law and Order” filmed there several times.