HORSES, LAWS, & DOLLARS

March 22, 2019 at 5:00 am

The fight over Central Park’s iconic horse drawn carriages continues following Mayor de Blasio’s enforcement of a big change in the way New Yorkers and tourists can access these rides. We have the details.

Aired on March 21, 2019.

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>>> MAYOR BILL DEBLASIO'S LATEST
EFFORTS TO REIN IN THE HORSE
CARRIAGE INDUSTRY RECENTLY GOT A
BIG BOOST.
ON MARCH 1, THE CITY BEGAN
ENFORCING A NEW RULE, BANNING
HORSE CARRIAGES FROM WAITING FOR
PASSENGERS O CENTRAL
PARK.
59th STREET.
WHERE THEY HAVE BEEN DOING --

INSTEAD, DRIVERS HAVE BEEN TOLD
TO MOVE THEIR PICKUP SPOTS, ALSO
KNOWN AS HACK LINES, TO THREE
LOCATIONS INSIDE THE PARK.
SOMETHING THEY SAY WILL HURT
THEIR BUSINESS.
THE MOVE IS JUST THE MOST RECENT
SALVO IN THE BATTLE BETWEEN
MAYOR BILL DEBLASIO AND THE
HORSE CARRIAGE INDUSTRY AND IT
BEGAN IN THE FIRST ELECTION
CAMPAIGN WHEN HE PROMISED TO GET
RID OF HORSE DRAWN CARRIAGES ON
THE FIRST DAY IN OFFICE.
THE CITY COUNCIL PREVENTED HIM
FROM KEEPING THAT PROMISE BUT
CARRIAGE DRIVERS SAY THAT THIS
AND OTHER PROPOSED REGULATIONS
PROVE THAT THE MAYOR REMAINS
COMMITTED TO DESTROYING THEIR
INDUSTRY.
CHRISTINA HANSON HAS BEEN A
CENTRAL PARK CARRIAGE DRIVER FOR
SEVEN YEARS, AND SHE JOINS U TH
PROGRAM.
>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME ON.
>> THREE PLACES IN THE PARK THAT
THE HACK LINE HAS BEEN MOVED TO.
IT IS NOT THAT FAR FROM 59th
STREET.
IS IT REALLY THAT ONEROUS FOR
YOU AND YOUR FELLOW DRIVERS?
>> EVEN IF IT SEEMS LIKE A SHORT
DISTANCE, IT CHANGES EVERYTHING
ABOUT OUR BUSINESS, THE WAY IT
IS REGULATED AND SET UP AND DONE
THINGS HAS BEEN PREDICATED ON
BEING ON 59th STREET WHERE
PEOPLE CAN SEE US, WHERE WE CAN
MOVE FROM ONE STAND TO ANOTHER,
WHERE WE CAN COMFORTABLY DROP
OFF AND PICK UP PEOPLE, WHERE
THERE IS A CURB AND NICE SAUK
FOR PEOPLE, AND THE HORSES AND
WHERE THEY'RE PUTTING US NOW,
DOWNHILL, NOT A PROPER SIDEWALK
AND THERE IS NOT WHERE PEOPLE
STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF ROADE
>> BUT IT IS NICE IN NEW YORK
CITY BUT PEOPLE APPROACH IT FROM
CENTRAL PARK SOUTH OUTSIDE THE
PARK.
>> THE ARGUMENT THAT THE MAYOR
AND HIS REPORTERS ARE MAKING IS
IT IS SIMPLY INHUMANE TO KEEP
THE HORSES ON 59th STREET WITH
ALL OF THE CONGESTION, ALL OF
THE NOISE, ALL OF THE HUB-BUB,
ALL OF THE FUMES OF 21st CENTURY
NEW YORK CITY TRAFFIC.
DO THEY HAVE A POINT?
>> NO, THEY DON'T.
>> I DIDN'T THINK YOU WOULD
THINK THAT.
>> AND THE AIR IS CLEAN NER NEW
YORK CITY THAN IT HAS BEEN IN
THE 1960s AND TRAFFIC IS SAFER
THAN THEY STARTED KEEPING
RECORDS IN 1910 AND WE ARE THE
SAFEST VEHICLES IN THE TOWN OF
MANHATTAN.
AS FOR HORSES, THEY ARE
CREATURES OF HABIT.
THEY DON'T SEE ANY PROBLEM WITH
THAT.
THAT'S WHERE THEY GET FED.
THAT'S WHERE THEY GET PETTED AND
GET THEIR CARROTS AND HANG OUT
WITH FRIENDS AND IT IS THE HOME
AWAY FROM HOME AND TAKE THE
ENTIRE HERD AND MOVE THEM, THEY
DON'T UNDERSTAND THE POLITICS
AND SCIENTIFIC TESTS SHOW THAT
IT IS VERY LOW STRESS LEVELS,
VERY LOW CORTISOL LEVELS WHEN
STANDING ON 59th STREET.
>> YOU ARE MAKING THE ARGUMENT,
YOU AND YOUR FELLOW DRIVERS, IT
IS MORE DAMAGING FOR THE HORSE'S
HEALTH TO BE WHERE THEY ARE NOW.
EXPLAIN THAT AGAIN.
>> FIRST OF ALL, THE HORSES ARE
USED TO BEING ON 59th STREET AND
THEY WILL BE STRESSED IN THE NEW
AREA AND THEY ARE PUTTING NUS A
PARK WHERE IT IS NOT DESIGNED
FOR HORSES TO STAND AND
DOWNHILL, THEY CAN'T STAND OUT
WITHOUT USING A LOT OF EFFORT.
>> THEY ARE ENGAGING THEIR
MUSCLES THE WHOLE TIME.
WHERE THEY ARE ON A LEVEL
SURFACE, THEY CAN GO TO SLEEP
STANDING UP AND DOZE LIGHTLY.
SO THE CITY IS ASKING US TO BE
IN A PLACE WHERE THE HORSES
CAN'T ACTUALLY REST AND MORE
DIFFICULT TO ACCESS WATER
TROUGHS AND WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH
PARKING PLACES, WHICH WE DON'T,
WE CAN'T STOP AND WAIT ANYPLACE
ELSE, WE HAVE TO KEEP MOVING AND
DRIVE FROM ONE STAND TO THE
OTHER AND IT TAKES 15 TO 20
MINUTES AND A LOT MORE WORK FOR
OUR HORSES.
>> YOU AND OTHERS SUCH AS LIAM
NEESON A BIG SUPPORTER OF YOURS
FROM DAY ONE ARE SAYING THAT
THIS MOVE FROM THE MAYOR IS THE
FIRST GUT OF A THOUSAND CUTS
THAT HE WANTS TO INFLICT ON YOU
BECAUSE HE STILL WANTS TO KILL
THE INDUSTRY.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE OTHER CUTS
THAT YOU SEE COMING DOWN THE
PATH.
>> THEY HAVE TALKED ABOUT DOING
THINGS THAT MIGHT SOUND GOOD TO
SOMEBODY AT FIRST GLASS, THEY
WANT TO INTRODUCE A HEAT INDEX
BILL, YOU KNOW, THAT LOWERING OF
THE TEMPERATURE FROM 90 DEGREES,
ABSOLUTELY TEMPERATURE TO 90
DEGREES WITH THE HEAT INDEX.
>> WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?
>> THE HEAT INDEX INCLUDES
THINGS LIKE HUMIDITY, BUT WE
ALREADY HAVE THE LOWEST STOP
WORK TEMPERATURE IN THE COUNTRY
AT 90, THE HORSES STOP WORK.
WE MISSED 33 DAYS OF WORK THIS
SUMMER.
>> BECAUSE IT REACHED 90
DEGREES.
>> YES.
AND THAT SYSTEM HAS BEEN IN
PLACE FOR OVER 30 YEARS.
WE NEVER HAD A PROBLEM WITH A
HORSE DUE TO HEAT.
IT HAS PROTECTED OUR HORSE
PERFECTLY AND THE SOLE PURPOSE
OF THAT AND THE ANIMAL RIGHTS
PEOPLE HAVE SAID IT IS TO
PREVENT THE HORSES FROM WORKING,
YOU PREVENT THE HORSES FROM
WORKING, YOU CAN'T PAY THE BILLS
AND TAKE CARE OF THE ANIMALS AND
CAN'T PAY TO STABLE THEM.
>> THE REASON THAT MAYOR
DEBLASIO WAS NOT ABLE TO KILL
YOUR INDUSTRY ON DAY ONE IS
BECAUSE THE CITY COUNCIL STOPPED
THEM.
IS THE CITY COUNCIL AS FRIENDLY
TO YOU NOW AS IT WAS FIVE YEARS
AGO?
>> THEY CERTAINLY ARE.
I MEAN THE TRICKY THING IS THE
ANIMAL RIGHTS PEOPLE, A, ARE
TRYING TO PRESENT THINGS, THAT
THIS IS NOT JUST FURTHER
REGULATION, TO HELP THE HORSES,
THEY'RE NOT HELPING ANY HORSES
HERE, AND THE MAYOR WITH THE
HACK LINE CHANGE, ACTUALLY
CIRCUMVENTED ANY OVERSIGHT BY
THE CITY COUNCIL BY GOING
DIRECTLY THROUGH THE D.O.T.
THROUGH HIS AGENCIES HE
CONTROLS, THROUGH HIS
COMMISSIONERS AND OTHER FOLKS TO
ORDER THEM TO DO THAT SO IN A
WAY HE IS ABUSING HIS POWER AND
CIRCUMVENTING THE DEMOCRATIC
PROCESS THROUGH THE CITY
COUNCIL.
SO HE'S SHOWN HE DOESN'T CARE
WHAT THE NORMAL PROCESS IS HERE.
THE D.O.T. REFUSED TO MEET WITH
US.
UNDER ORDERS.
>> THE DEPARTMENT OF
TRANSPORTATION.
>> YES.
>> IN MAKING THE HACK LINE
CHANGE.
WE CAN'T PARK THE HORSES
DOWNHILL.
>> WHAT ABOUT THE ARGUMENT THAT
THERE SHOULDN'T BE A HORSE
CARRIAGE INDUSTRY, THAT IN FACT
IT IS INHUMANE AND NOT ROMANTIC
AND NOT BEAUTIFUL AND IT IS
INHUMANE TO THE ANIMALS,
POUNDING THE PAVEMENT, BAD FOR
THEIR HEALTH.
ALWAYS HACKLED LIKE PRISONERS
THAT THEIR STALLS ARE TOO SMALL,
THAT IT IS TOO HOT IN THE
SUMMER, HAVE WE GONE BEYOND
THAT?
>> THESE ARE ARGUMENTS THAT HAVE
BEEN PUT FORTH BY THE ANIMAL
RIGHTS ACTIVIST FORCE 20 YEARS
AND YOU CAN GO BACK AND READ THE
NEWSPAPER ARTICLES THAT SAY THE
SAME THING OVER AND OVER AND
OVER AND AS WE SHOWED WHEN THE
MAYOR WENT TO BANUS, NONE OF IT
IS TRUE.
>> THE VENERABLE ASPCA WANTS TO
BAN IT --
>> THE ASPCA IS NOT VENABLE.
THEY GOT INTO CONTROVERSY OVER
CARRIAGE HORSES WHERE THEY WERE
TARGETING OUR INDUSTRY, FOR
POLITICAL REASONS.
AND THEY'RE THE CO-FOUNDERS OF
NEW YORK CLASS.
>> WHICH IS WHAT?
NEW YORKERS FOR CLEAN, BILLABLE
AND SAFE STREET, THAT'S THE
LOBBYING GROUP THAT PAID ALL OF
THE MONEY TO GET THE MAYOR
ELECTIONED THAT HAS HAD
UNPARALLELED ACCESS TO THE
MAYOR'S OFFICE AND NOT VENABLE
GROUP AT ALL.
AND THEY'RE AN ANIMAL RIGHTS
ORGANIZATION.
THEY'RE NOT INTERESTED IN ANIMAL
WELFARE.
WE'RE INTERESTED IN ANIMAL
WELFARE.
THE CITY COUNCIL IS INTERESTED
IN ANIMAL WELFARE.
AND THAT'S WHY WE HAVE RULES AND
REGULATIONS ABOUT VACATIONS AND
VETERINARY CHECKS AND THAT'S ALL
FOR THE HEALTH AND WELFARE OF
THE HORSES.
>> I HAVE TO ASK YOU, YOU SUED
THE DEPARTMENT OF
TRANSPORTATION.
YOU LOST IN COURT.
WHAT'S YOUR NEXT STEP?
>> WE STILL HAVE AN APPEAL.
WE ALSO HOPE THAT IN, HOPEFULLY
DISCUSSING THINGS, WITH THE CITY
COUNCIL, OR WITH OTHER AGENCIES,
LIKE THE PARKS DEPARTMENT, THE
CONSERVANCY, THAT WE CAN WORK
SOMETHING OUT, TO MAKE THIS
WORKABLE.
THE WAY IT IS NOW ISN'T
WORKABLE.
BUT 59th STREET, CENTRAL PARK,
WE KNOW IT BETTER THAN ANYBODY
ELSE IN THE PLANET.
THERE ARE WAYS THAT YOU CAN MAKE
THAT STREET BETTER FOR THE
HORSE, BETTER FOR THE
PEDESTRIAN, BETTER FOR THE
BYSTANDERS, EVERYBODY, AND THIS
PLAN DOESN'T DO THAT, IT
ACTUALLY MAKES IT LESS SAFE.
>> THE LAST QUESTION, ARE THE
CARRIAGES GOING TO BE IN NEW
YORK CITY IN FIVE YEARS, AND ARE
THEY GOING TO BE ON 59th STREET.
>> YES.
WE ARE NOT GOING TO GO ANYWHERE.
WE'VE BEEN THERE FOR 160 YEARS.
WE'RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE ANY
TIME SOON.
WE'RE A NEW YORK CITY ICON.
>> THANK YOU.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

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