A carriage near Central Park South, amongst traffic, via Flickr cc
Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur F. Engoron ordered Tuesday that Mayor De Blasio can’t “take any action or inaction that would interfere” with the horse carriages operating in Central Park until a subsequent court order is issued, according to the New York Daily News. The court order is the result of a complaint filed in October by horse carriage hack Giovanni Paliotta, whose attorney says the process was being done in the wrong order: New rules regarding the carriages should come from the City Council rather than the mayor, and legislation should be passed.
For its part, the city announced last week that it still intends to prohibit the carriages from operating fares outside the park on Manhattan’s busy streets. As 6sqft previously reported, the new rules, set to go into effect on February 15, state that the horse-drawn carriages will only be able to pick up and drop off passengers at designated boarding areas within the park. As a result of the order, work on removing pick-up spots outside the park can’t move forward: “Furthermore, defendants shall not take any steps to remove the pick-up designations of horse hacking stations on Central Park South or Grand Army Plaza, until and unless further court notice.”
The mayor’s office responded by saying the order doesn’t prevent them from moving forward on getting the pickup sites ready: City Law Department spokesman Nicholas Paolucci said, “The parties are scheduled to be back in court on February 8, 2019, and the city is hopeful that at that appearance the court will allow the new regulations to go fully into effect,”
For many groups, even being limited to pickup spots within the park will not be enough to improve conditions for the horses. Animal rights advocates have for years been pushing for carriage horses to be taken off the streets entirely, most notably during de Blasio’s 2013 mayoral campaign. And though he sided with the group, dubbed NYCLASS, he ultimately didn’t enact a ban due to pushback from the City Council. Last year, however, NYCLASS amended its stance, saying they’d stop calling for an all-out ban, instead advocating for “much greater protection for the horses.” This included enlarging the size of the West Side stables, guaranteeing retired horses are never slaughtered, keeping horses in their stables if there’s a city-wide heat advisory in effect, and limiting their fares to within Central Park.
Currently, most horses line up on the street along Central Park South. The new inter-park boarding areas are:
- Grand Army Plaza: In the center lane at the Grand Army Plaza entrance to Central Park.
- East 72nd Street Entrance: On the north curb approximately 50 feet west of 5th Avenue.
- West 72nd Street Entrance: On the east curb approximately 130 feet east of Central Park West.
- West 67th Roundabout: On the north curb of the roundabout next to Tavern on the Green.
- Seventh Avenue Entrance: On the east curb, approximately 20 feet north of Central Park South.
- Central Park is officially car-free!
- See How Much Central Park Has Changed Since the ’80s in These Before-and-After Photos
- Central Park’s horse-drawn carriages are getting ‘designated boarding areas’