I’ve only ever been to New York City once, and it was just in October of this year. Because it was an unplanned visit, we didn’t have time for all the “traditional” touristy treats, it was more of a drive-thru visit (fantastic, nonetheless!). One of the things I’d have done if we’d had time, was a Hansom Cab ride in Central Park. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio would disagree with me.
Earlier in 2014, the Mayor declared his intention to try to shut down the horse-drawn carriage rides in Central Park, calling the age-old tours “inhumane.” Bill de Blasio clearly, isn’t a “horse person.” That’s not to say that non-horse people are bad, but often, anyone who’s so openly opposed to something that so many people enjoy, and have enjoyed for so long, are simply students of ignorance. I’d even venture to guess, that somewhere in his past, lurks a childhood story about “that one time” he rode a horse, who was a mile high, and black as night, with red eyes, fangs, and breathing fire. Let’s be honest, haven’t we all met that person, who evidently was tossed aside like a dirty sock, but this infamous horse? Maybe I’m wrong, maybe the guy grew up on a beautiful horse farm in Virginia, and still keeps a stable-full for his own pleasure. I’m okay with being wrong. I’m even okay with being called out on it, and I’m a big enough person to be able to agree to disagree when I feel the opposing party has a valid argument. Please take note, Mr. Mayor, different isn’t synonymous with wrong.
Here are my arguments, in no particular order. First, I love horses (seriously, if you haven’t put that together by now, I can’t help you!). I’ve enjoyed many carriage rides in many places. Some ran by professional stables, other simply friends with horses on a beautiful fall day (miss you, Jeff) So of course, the iconic hansom cabs of NYC are near the top of my feed bucket list. The Mayor, and a list of animal activists may claim that the service is “inhumane,” but one step inside the stables, hidden away from the noise and congestion of downtown New York, would show the horses are fed, vetted, shod, and cared for properly. They are driven in areas designated for slow traffic, they were special shoes designed to give extra traction on pavement, and despite there not being paddocks in the downtown area for them, they still receive regular turn-out time, to permit them to just be horses. They aren’t called “beasts of burden” for no reason, you know. Horses need jobs, even simple jobs, like meeting the kids who happen to get off the bus near their paddock gate. They need to feel useful, even horses in the wild. They all have jobs within the herd.
I don’t think anyone would argue, that our world is growing and developing at an alarming rate. The moment a computer or phone is produced, it’s being eclipsed by a newer, better, faster, model. Professional athletes are turning to any method of physical-enhancement they can lay their hands on, regardless of it’s legality. Why aren’t we threatening to close down professional sports? That’s inhumane, if you want my opinion. Is it really a bad thing, to hang on to the few symbols of continuity, and a slower, more relaxed time? Must we wipe out every nod to a time when people actually sat and talked to each other, face to face, for the enjoyment of spending time in someone else’s company?
If the Mayor was truly concerned for the welfare of the horses and drivers, why not create additional laws for their safety? Instead, he wants to replace them with old-fashioned cars. Newsflash, that was so 1920’s. Isn’t New York City already overrun with cars? How is this a solution?
I’m not ignoring the accidents that have happened, I’m fully aware of the impact of watching a horse skidding to his demise, or an out of control car, careening into the side of the carriage. Of course it happens, and it’s heartbreaking, but 9/11 was heartbreaking too, and we didn’t shut the whole city down. There’s hardly a comparison, yes I know, but my point is this. If we shut down everything that meant something to the people of america, because of a couple bad examples, what would we be left with? People have had strokes, climbing the steps inside Lady Liberty too. Do we ship her coppery carcass back to France?
All I’m saying is this, if six out of 10 of your own people are telling you they want something to stay, why won’t you hear them? I can’t help but think, there are bigger, far more important points to argue.