News & Announcements 

Livi French   -  January 30, 2009      

First off, let’s be clear:  This is not about preserving some grand old “tradition.” New York City’s horse-drawn carriage business is a young, mid-20th century contrivance born of politics.

In 1935, only 15 – fifteen – horse-drawn carriages operated in the City. Today’s problem took root in the late 1940’s. Curiously, official City records from that time period are quote/unquote “lost.” It was during that time period that the City sold 68 carriage medallions – the same 68 licenses that are operating today.

Now, for a moment, consider the geopolitics of that era – the late 1940’s. Look across the Pond to the post-War British Isles and the Troubles that were brewing over there. That would be the Troubles with a capital T.

Because of those “lost” City records, we cannot know exactly when New York City’s new horse-drawn carriage business became a trans-Atlantic pipeline. However, we do know that in 1992, at a May 29th City Council hearing, the Emerald Isle Immigration Center of Woodside, Queens, revealed its interest in the horse-drawn carriage business for the first time.

The carriage industry’s lobbyists have been an unbroken succession of extremely well-connected political operatives. For example, in the 1980’s, it was a county boss / slash / city councilman / slash / future congressman who served the mayor and the industry simultaneously and who, today, even in death, still holds sway in the City Council.

In the new millennium we got a second-generation white-haired gentleman with familial ties to both a former mayor (from the late 1940’s) and to a City Council president.

Today, those 68 carriage licenses are held by a small handful of owners who comprise this so-called industry. Our current law protects that little cadre of owners but, clearly, it does not protect the horses and it does not protect the public. Nor does that other Intro – No. 653-A.

The status quo has been roundly condemned by civic, business and good-government leaders, by the Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Service, and by the majority of the public.

Even when you continue to ignore the horrendous living and working conditions of the horses, it defies all logic for you to continue supporting what amounts to a blatant political giveaway to this miniscule so-called industry.

If the City of New York cannot once and for all remove politics from the horse-drawn carriage business, then horse-drawn carriages should be removed from New York City.

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