If you didn’t get the Frank Sinatra/”Married… With Children” reference in the title, then shame on you.
While Sinatra opined that love and marriage is as ubiquitous as a horse and carriage, I’m going to add another thing that shares that metaphor — New York City.
It’s a city of many wonders, no doubt, but one of its allures to outsiders is its rich history, its lore, it’s antiquity. And one of the ways of maintaining that historic feel is by continuing traditions that have existed for hundreds of years, such as, horse and buggy rides.
There’s something endearingly anachronistic about seeing a horse and carriage galloping across a cobble stone road in a present day setting. And it’s a common sight in New York City. If you’re a tourist, and you’ve got a full day to go sightseeing, what better way to do it than that? It’s a hell of a lot more intimate than one of those large buses where people sit on the top.
Well, if it’s something you’ve never done — traverse Manhattan by horse — than you better do it fast, because it may soon become an extinct practice.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, less than 48 hours into his new gig, is promising to ban horse and carriage rides in New York City.
On a side note, the mayor of New York City is probably the only mayor who becomes a household name without the help of controversy. How many other mayors do you know? Let me rephrase that — how many other mayors do you know that don’t smoke crack?
Anyway, I personally have mixed feelings on this. Mayor Bloomberg was nicknamed “The Soda Czar” after he tried very hard to ban large sugary soft drinks, only to get overruled by the state Supreme Court. Bloomberg has been mocked endlessly for it since.
But in this case, de Blasio is taking the animal rights angle. You can’t really mock him for that. And when you see a horse tied up, and forced to walk alongside traffic and fumes in a giant city among millions of people, it’s hard not to feel a little bad.
And then you look at the other perspective. It’s a business that has existed in Manhattan since the 1850s, and it’s a primary source of income for hundreds of people in the industry. Those workers also debunk the “inhumane” claims, arguing that horses need to be worked to maintain happiness.
Obviously, we can’t really know that for sure. It’s hard to tell what mood a horse is in by looking at it.
I will tell you, however, that it wouldn’t feel right walking through the Big Apple without nearly being trampled by a horse. It remains to be seen what will come of it, and like Bloomberg’s soda ban proposal, it may end up being roadblocked in court. If it’s a well-regulated, profitable business, I can’t imagine you could just get rid of it with ease just because some animal rights activists feel bad for the horses.
You know what? Perhaps the horses should have a say in this. It’s not that difficult. All you have to do is ask them if they enjoy being ridden around New York City.
They’ll respond with either “Yay” or “Neiiggghhhh.”