horse2
Today’s trial balloon in the New York Post, proposing that New York’s carriage horses be replaced by fake Model Ts, would be laughable were it not actually possible. Carriage horses are the only thing about the traffic at the bottom of Central Park that are civilized. Cars routinely break traffic laws there right under the nose of New York’s NYPD whose officers sit in their squad cars watching and doing nothing about it. Garbage trucks and construction vehicles hurtle noisily along CPS and the nearby streets, grinding and slamming with bone-rattling impunity. City buses regularly make wide, dangerous and illegal turns across several lanes of traffic as they turn south from Central Park onto Seventh Avenue. The sound of clopping hooves is one of the only aural pleasures available on the edge of the oasis that is Central Park. The appeal of the horses and buggies to tourists is incalculable — and worth far more to New York than the jobs they also represent — and yet, an anti-horse campaign led by a showboating outer-borough attention-monger on the City Council appears to be gaining traction — even though it would inevitably mean the death of many of the horses who work here. A far better and more humane solution would be to enforce the currently all-but-totally ignored traffic and noise laws in this area — which would not only greatly lessen, if not eliminate, the chance for potential negative events vis a vis the horses, but also raise considerable revenues for the city given the volume of vehicular law-breaking. The last thing Central Park South needs is more vehicles, whether they are cars (electric or otherwise), or the pedicabs that have recently proliferated like cockroaches (which is what the police call them), and greatly increase the chaotic and dangerous traffic. But my thought is even more radical. Why not ban cars on the northern (westbound) two lanes of Central Park South and give them over entirely to horses? That would still allow access to all the building on the street but end the appallingly dangerous and sometimes deadly condition on one of the otherwise most beautiful stretches of Manhattan. Westbound traffic could still use 57th Street. And that would be an elegant solution for everyone concerned: horses, carriage drivers, visitors, local residents and even over-ambitious pols.