City Tells Carriage-Horse Stable It’s Time to Close    
NY Times - 5/19/10


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.

Coalition To Ban
Horse-Drawn Carriages

A Committee of the Coalition For New York City Animals, Inc.

The Coalition for
NYC Animals, Inc.

P.O. Box 20247
Park West Station
New York, NY 10025


To honor
Bobby II Freedom
previously known as Billy
ID# 2873 rescued by the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages and Equine Advocates on June 25, 2010 from the New Holland auctions.

In memory of
Lilly Rose O'Reilly
previously known
as Dada ID# 2711
R.I.P.August, 2007