Trying to Beat the Horse to Death

by John Delach

Often, politicians voluntarily dig themselves into deep holes when they try to force through their own pre-deposed positions regardless of how unpopular they are to the general public. This happens when this position is the kind that the politico has carried around in his heart and head long before gaining power or is forced upon him as a quid pro quo for favors rended during the campaign. In other words, some of these positions come from the demons within while others are the end product of dealing with the devil.


This is where we find Comrade Mayor Bill DeBlasio in a hole, up to his shoulders with shovel in hand preparing to dig himself deeper. The problem for the comrade mayor is his arrogance and height deprives him from seeing how deep the hole is already.


The issue is the fate of Central Park’s horse-drawn carriages that we used to wrongly call, Hansom Cabs. (Those cabs were two wheel carriages with the driver mounted on a sprung seat behind the vehicle designed by a Joseph Hansom in Leicestershire, England in 1834. These cabs gave way to more traditional four-wheel carriages years ago.)


Our comrade mayor vowed to rid New York City of these wonderful anachronisms immediately upon taking office. I cannot say with any certainty whether or not the good comrade is an animal lover or has had some long standing grudge against these teamsters,  but it is public knowledge that his primary campaign greatly benefitted from a million dollar PAC that helped to de-rail the Democratic frontrunner, City Council Speaker, Christine Quinn. The organization that produced the bulk of these funds was New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets and the driving force behind this organization are two wealthy animal activists, Steve Nislick and Wendi Neu. “You can look it up.”


Our comrade mayor expected to make short shrift of the carriage owners, teamsters and nags replacing the whole lot with electric replicas of vintage automobiles. The skids in the city council chambers were waxed by strategic donations (by you know who) to key members who introduced the desired the bill…Oops, not so fast…The fondness that most New Yorkers hold for this Gotham tradition exploded in a backlash that hit DeBlasio like stampeding horses. Already reeling from a horrible start with the NYPD, his numbers in the gutter, temporary discretion in the face of humiliation became his revised battle cry.


Still beholding to his rabid benefactors, one can only imagine the shit storm he faced via phone, fax, tweets and texts! Subsequently, Plans B, C, D, etc. were floated and to subsequently sink until early this year when the latest version was unveiled. Our good comrade mayor boldly announced that he had, “an agreement in concept” with the owners and the teamsters to reduce the number of horses to 95 from 170 by 2018 and move them all to a new stable to be built with taxpayer money inside the protected grounds of Central Park.  No mention has been made of how much the stables will cost or how much the carriage owners will pay to use it.


Jim Dwyer noted in his recent column in The New York Times, Solving a Problem That Doesn’t Exist: “The notion that a new stable – which as yet has no design and has not undergone any review by the five community boards with jurisdiction over Central Park, the Landmarks Preservation Commission or the Public Design Commission – will be built within two years belongs to an alternate universe.”


The agreement in concept has already begun to unravel. The carriage association and teamsters have hired the activist lawyer, Ron Kube, a disciple of the firebrand, William Kunstler, who seems prepared to lead his minions to the man the barricades to stop this plan. Actually, this is my hyperbole for as Dwyer also pointed out: “A thick stack of judicial opinions shows that mayors ignore precedents in this area at their peril. The Bloomberg administration tried to give parkland in Queens to the Wilpon family for a shopping mall; the Giulani administration tried to turn over land in the Bronx for a water filtration plant. Both proposals were shot down in court.”


Kube will make his case in the court house. As for the nags, they’re unanimous: NAYYY!