Dorie VanDercreekLong Island
Will you miss the carriage horses?If anything I’ve always felt kind of bad for them, so I’m kind of glad. It sucks to lose your job that you’ve been doing for years as a carriage driver, but I’ve always felt kind of sorry for the horses. It’s a beautiful thing to go through the city on a carriage, but at the same time those poor horses are out, standing there. You don’t know how they’re being treated completely, and like I said it’s bad for that line of work, but I’m more happy for the horses than anything else.
Do you hope Mayor de Blasio gets rid of the business entirely? I feel like if you were to keep them, even in a small number, they should make sure they’re being treated carefully with utmost care.
How do you feel about having stables in Central Park? That would be better for the horses because they don’t have to move as far when they’re not working.
How do you feel about de Blasio given that he pledged to get rid of all the carriage horses on his first day in office? It’s problematic, but there are so many other things that he’s done that I have a problem with. Like the fact that he took so many vacation days.
Josh S.Carriage driver for a little over a year
How do you feel about the proposal?Don’t punish the horses as a way of trying to punish us. Arbitrarily limiting the number of horse licenses is vindictive and unfair to the industry and to the horses. It’s just putting more work on the horses. No one in their right mind supports that. We are still fighting for more horse licenses to be allowed, and I can’t see any reason why anyone would want to limit the number of horses that can share the workload. … I apologize that we continue to exist, but please don’t punish the horses for that.
You feel like de Blasio is trying to punish you?Absolutely. It’s sending over 100 horses to what could easily be life as orphans, which will eventually result in them being sent to slaughter. Either directly or indirectly, this is sentencing over 100 horses to death unnecessarily just to get back at us for causing trouble. Whatever agreement they make should save the horses’ jobs, not to mention all of our jobs.
Carriage driver for three and a half years
What’s your reaction to the proposal?We’re still in discussions with the city. We continue to talk about details that need to get worked in order for this deal to make sense for our industry, for the drivers and for the horses. We’re not there yet.
What about the proposal would you change?The big thing is that a lot of the changes that are supposed to go into effect, say, June 1 or December 1, are really things that are predicated on a stable in the park that isn’t big enough to accommodate the number of horses that we currently have in the city. So there’s no reason though to reduce the number of horses now, because we have plenty of space here and our business operates fine the way it is. The really important thing for us is that a stable gets built.
Would you be willing to reduce the number of horses in order to get that stable?Our business works very well because we take wonderful care of our horses, and a lot of that involves giving horses days off, rotating them out to the farm for vacation. The average horse in this business works four to six months out of the year. Our ability to move horses in and out is crucial to continually give the excellent care that we give to our horses and allow them to work happy and healthily for many years.
If the proposal passes City Council, what would be your next steps? It’s really hard for us to say because we haven’t seen the language in this bill, and negotiations are still ongoing. Until we see that language and until we come back around I can’t tell you what we would do.
Nicola Smart and William GuyVisiting from London
Have you taken a carriage ride in New York?NS: We’re on our way right now.
Do you have an opinion about the idea of reducing them?NS: I think as long as the supply and demand is still balanced I don’t see it being a problem, and I think the stables being here is probably kinder to the horses.
WG: It’s not a very good idea to move a private business inside a public park though. It’s a public park that some private investor is making money off of.
Does London have carriage horses?NS: Yes, lots of them. I think it’s a great way to get around and see the sights. I think as long as the horses are treated right it’s fine.
So you’re a fan of the business in general?NS: Definitely yes.
Would you miss the carriage horses?Although I feel sympathy for what the animals go through, it is a part of what New York and being at this particular part of Central Park is. I don’t ever think that, even though [de Blasio] promised it to get elected, New York is ever going to be rid of the horses, and as a New Yorker I don’t think they should. As long as they’re being taken care of and looked after I think that’s fine.
How do you feel about de Blasio given that he pledged to get rid of all the carriage horses on his first day in office?New York is a hard city to choose a side. I think he’s doing what he can and he’s trying to make good on his promises, I just don’t know that eliminating all the horses from Central Park is really the priority that needs to be looked at. There are other things that seems to be more important.
But in general you like the carriage horses? I do. There’s something special about being on Central Park West and watching people all times of the year going through the park. I think it’s part of the New York experience and I’d be sad to see it go away.
Jasurvek UzakovPedicab driver for four years
What’s your reaction to the part of the proposal that would ban pedicabs from operating below 86th street? Horse carriages do a lot of business. They own their horses — I rent. I have just one bike. I don’t give anybody problems, I know how to drive in the park. The horses aren’t as good for human interaction. I think this is bad because nobody goes above 72nd street. Today I haven’t made any money.
If the proposal goes through, would you try to operate in a different area?No, I still need the work. It’s very competitive with the carriages already.