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Letters & Editorials

Spare the Horses -- and New Yorkers

May 14, 1992

If City Councilman Noach Dear has his way today, New Yorkers will have a
whole new reason to complain about midtown traffic.

He wants to take the carriage horses out of Central Park, where they belong, and put them back into traffic, where they do not.

Why? Because he's more concerned about the welfare of one of the city's
smallest businesses than about the countless New Yorkers for whom midtown
traffic is already a nightmare.

One might think that, as head of the Transportation Committee, Mr. Dear
would want to free rather than clog the streets. And that he, and his
adherents, would know it's nonsense to argue that carriages in traffic
add to the city's charm. Remember what it's like to see a carriage horse
trembling between a bus and honking cars on the Avenue of the Americas.
Remembering won't be hard, because the enlightened law that spares
carriage horses that experience is only three years old. Now, citing the
carriage drivers' claim that the law is costing them money -- even though
it allowed them to double their fares -- Mr. Dear would allow carriages
on the busiest streets at all hours except 7 to 9 A.M. and 4:30 to 6:30

Even those hours, however, aren't sacrosanct because empty carriages will
be permitted. And although the carriages will be banned from the theater
district during show times, they won't be from the crowded streets that
surround it.

Mr. Dear's bill, his supporters say, puts people ahead of horses. Wrong.
It puts some people -- 325 carriage drivers, to be precise -- ahead of
the great majority of New Yorkers.

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