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Letters & Editorials

THE WORM AND THE APPLE: HORSE SENSE; Where Carriage Horses Belong

October 17, 1988

Last August, a carriage horse named Whitey collapsed on Second Avenue, a
victim of heat exhaustion. In December 1985, another carriage horse had
to be destroyed after a speeding limousine caused it to bolt into an
intersection. And every day carriage horses, plodding at their own pace,
add to New York's legendary midtown traffic congestion.

Unlike other unfortunate sights, that of horses marooned in traffic is
easy to erase. All the city has to do is, in effect, put the horses out
to pasture: confine their use to Central Park.

City Council member Robert Dryfoos has a bill that comes very close to
doing just that. Under his proposal, horse-drawn carriages would be
prohibited from congested areas like the theater district and midtown
during peak traffic hours. But why should carriage horses be allowed in
midtown or downtown or uptown or anywhere that exposes them to screeching
brakes and loud honks?

The tourist will surely be happier behind a horse that's clip-clopping peacefully through the trees than behind one trembling in a seething mass of taxis. 

All drivers will be a lot happier, too, without horse-drawn carriages to contend with.

The Dryfoos bill also provides that horses cannot be worked when it's
very cold, or very hot, or very humid, nor for more than eight of every
24 hours. Furthermore, they're to get fresh water and a 15-minute rest
every two hours.

Council member Dryfoos deserves an apple. And should the Council pass
this bill before Christmas, when New York City is always thronged with
sightseers and Fifth Avenue with horse-drawn carriages, it will have
earned a bushel.

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