WELCOME TO NEW YORK CITY!
Are you planning a trip to New York City?
WELCOME! We want you to have a great time while you are here so you come back. However, as in any city, there are always those who will try to defraud you - trying to get those tourist dollars. BEWARE. Know how much things really cost before you get involved with a transaction. We hope you choose NOT to take a carriage ride for all the reasons we list below. But in any case, please know this: The carriage industry charged $50 for a 20 minute ride with $20 for each additional 10 minutes. Sales tax are not required although they will often try to get it from you. You may already have visited some horse-drawn carriage web sites and seen much higher rates. They are not allowed and are illegal. Click here to see the existing law - it is Section 20-380. Also take a look at this video on Youtube. If you have a complaint, call 311. They will direct you to the appropriate person.
But back to our wonderful city -- you have made an excellent choice since there is a myriad of things to do here including the Broadway theater, Lincoln Center; world class museums – such as the famous Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Natural History; shopping - from the pricey Bergdorf Goodman to bargains at Century 21 Department Store; wonderful restaurants; night life and Central Park. And guess what? The people are friendly. If you are lost – ask someone – most people will be very helpful. We may look grumpy like we have a lot on our minds, but we love the fact that you chose our city to visit. And don’t forget to take some of those boat trips that leave from the South Street Seaport. They are a lot of fun and not costly – especially in the early evening when you get to see the skyline of New York City and the Statue of Liberty up close.
New York is also a walking city. It is fun to walk through the park or window shop in Soho or Fifth Avenue or take a stroll through some of the lovely residential neighborhoods. Bring your walking shoes. And do not be concerned about taking the subways. They are fast and efficient.
We do have a special request. If you are thinking about taking a carriage horse ride while in the City, please think again and learn the facts.
We hope that after you read the information below, you will make the humane choice not to not take a ride.
There is a movement afoot in our City to ban this inhumane industry from operating. It has the support of thousands upon thousands of New Yorkers and tourists including all the major animal protection organizations - ASPCA, Humane Society of the United States, Friends of Animals, PETA and many other smaller but vital organizations. The ASPCA is particularly important because they are a conservative, pragmatic organization that has been overseeing this industry for years – and if anyone should know the details about this industry – it is the ASPCA.
* There are 68 carriages – most of which are out working at any given time. Horses are allowed by law to work nine hours a day, seven days a week. Horses work in extreme temperatures in the summer and winter.Although there are many regulations, they are almost impossible to enforce because the NYPD does not accept responsibility for this even when the ASPCA (the enforcer of humane laws) is closed.
As herd animals, it is very important for horses to have time to be with their own species, to graze, mutually groom each other and play. NYC carriage horses do not have daily turnout or pasture time. Instead – after working a full day, they go back to their stables to their stalls – many of which are too small for them to comfortably lie down and go into a deep sleep – something that is necessary for all of us. They return to the stables by way of Ninth Avenue – mixing with the heavy traffic that is going into the Lincoln Tunnel.
*The horses do not live in Central Park. Instead, their stables are on the far west side of Manhattan - the furthest (there are five) is two miles from Central Park. These are multi-storied warehouses and their stalls are on the upper floors, accessed by steep ramps. A picture of one of the stables is above. One of the cramped stalls is at right.
*Carriage Horses work in the heavily trafficked areas of Manhattan. These slow moving conveyances impede the flow of traffic and are a danger to any vehicle or pedestrian near them. Highly sensitive animals, who are subject to spooking from any number of things, these horses work in traffic that includes emergency vehicles -- ambulances, fire trucks and police cars. They are accidents waiting to happen. See the page that documents these accidents.
* Horses are prey animals and scare easily. At 1,500 to 2,000 pounds, they are unwitting albeit terrifying weapons as they run amok when they spook. In the last two years, there have been three public incidences in which carriage horses died tragic deaths. A recent accident occured in Brooklyn on the Labor Day weekend of 2008 - click here.
* The most recent death (of which we are aware) was in September 2007 when Smoothie, a young mare, was spooked by a street performer’s drum, tried to run away, broke her leg and crashed into a tree. She died at the site of the accident. In September 2006, Juliet collapsed in Central Park and was beaten by her driver/owener to get up. She died a few hours hours later. In January 2006, Spotty, a five-year old gelding, was heading back to his stable when he spooked at 50th St. and Ninth Avenue, took off running and crashed into a station wagon. His carriage went over the wagon with Spotty’s head on the ground. He was euthanized at the scene.
* Since January 2006, there have been many accidents in which horses spooked and were injured. In one an elderly man broke his hip; others injured. Some carriage drivers were in a coma for months.
Please take a good look at the carriage horse – he was not mean to pull tourists around between the shafts of his carriage without even the opportunity to scratch an itch. Horses are social animals who are meant to live with other animals, graze in green fields; and run free. The horses in this trade are dispirited and must do as told. Monty is a former carriage horse who was rescued and now lives in Massachusetts. Below he is pictured romping in the field. Note the black marks on his face from years of wearing an ill fitting bridle ... this is where his hide wore down to the skin.
Thanks for reading this. We hope you will Have a Heart for the Horses.
Please visit other sections of our web site for other questions you may have.
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