De Blasio welcomes new horse-drawn carriage restriction proposals

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Mayor de Blasio said Monday he’s open to the new proposals by NYCLASS to restrict horse-drawn carriages — but that nothing will happen with it unless the City Council is on board.

“I still think a ban is the best outcome,” said de Blasio, who once promised to outlaw the controversial carriages on day one of his term in office.

“I’ll look at these new proposals. The central question will be what is the City Council ready to act on. And it’s a democracy, and there’s two sides to City Hall, and so for anything to happen there has to be agreement from the City Council.”

NYCLASS, the animal rights group that led the unsuccessful push to ban the industry, is now rolling out a new strategy — pushing to ban rides in Times Square and restrict them to Central Park, allowing the horses to travel in bike lanes between the park and their West Side stable.

De Blasio shoots for fewer horse-drawn carriages in NYC

They’d also like to see the minimum stall size boosted beyond 60 square feet and to secure guarantee retired carriage horses are never slaughtered.

The group launched a well-funded campaign against then-frontrunner Christine Quinn in the 2013 mayoral race, which helped propel de Blasio into office.

But de Blasio failed repeatedly to get his original ban through the Council.

A deal that would have kept the horses entirely in the park while moving their stables there and drastically reducing the number of horses collapsed the day it was set to be voted on after the union representing carriage drivers pulled its support.

Activists harass tourists riding horse drawn-carriages in NYC

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi

Mayor de Blasio once promised to outlaw the controversial carriages on day one of his term in office.

(Marcus Santos)

Many Council members, who considered the issue a political liability that had little effect on their constituents on either side, have little appetite to revisit it.

In an interview with the Daily News editorial board last week, one of the developers behind NYCLASS acknowledged their previous hardball tactics may have hurt their efforts, and said the group was taking a new approach.

“Do we think the industry is an inherently cruel industry? Yes,” said Steve Nislick.

“But that doesn’t mean we’re not willing to compromise.”

Activists harass tourists riding horse drawn-carriages in NYC

At his unrelated press conference in Queens, the mayor sounded as if he was done with any heavy lifting for their cause.

“I worked very hard on it, and I’m ready to work on it again. But you still need 26 votes,” de Blasio said. “So my point is, I’m ready to move something if the Council is ready to move it.”

Tags:
bill de blasio
new york city council
central park horse carriage ban
central park
animals

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