Mayor de Blasio vs. Horse-Drawn Carriage Drivers (And Liam Neeson)
New York City’s mayor has long been pledging that one of the first things he would do upon taking office would be to rid the city of horse-drawn carriages, which has made both the drivers of said carriages and Liam Neeson very upset.
I will admit that when I saw that Liam Neeson had written an op-ed for the Times calling the proposed horse ban a “class issue,” I imagined his argument to be that such a move would unjustly affect rich people who live uptown and ride around in horse-drawn carriages. Then I remembered that that only happens on Sex And The City. So that was my first disappointment of the day, but here is what he actually meant:
A majority of carriage drivers and stable hands are recent immigrants, often raised on farms in their home countries. They love their jobs and their horses, and they take pride in being ambassadors for this great city. I can’t help but see the proposed ban as a class issue: Their livelihoods are now at risk because the animal-rights opponents of the industry are well funded by real-estate interests, which has led to speculation that this powerful lobby wishes to develop the West Side properties occupied by the stables.
Oohoo, real estate twist! New York Daily News talked to some people who, while not famous actors, actually do this for a living. They expressed similar concerns:
Hermilo Marquez, a carriage driver for 10 years, said he can earn up to $250 a day.
“For me, this is a really good job,” the 34-year-old said. “I can spend more time with my kids and I’m a soccer coach.”
Kieran Kelly, a carriage driver who came to New York 27 years ago from Ireland, said de Blasio is simply pandering to developers who want the land occupied by horse stables and to animal rights advocates like NYCLASS, who say the industry is inhumane.
“I came here for the American Dream, and now de Blasio wants to steal it,” said Kelly, 47. “It has nothing to do with horses. It’s to keep other people happy.”
Listen if the horses are as well-treated as esteemed horse enthusiast Liam Neeson claims they are, and if these guys get to keep their jobs, and if I continue to never really make it up to Central Park anyway, then fine. Although let’s be real, all arguments for and against are irrelevant unless we are talking about the fact that horses shit out of their asses and onto the street and that is so not cool.