What do you do, where are you from, where are you now?
I’m Joe, I’m a horse-drawn carriage driver. I’m from Ireland, and I’ve been in New York for about five years now. I live in Bayside. Queens is nice. It’s good.
A few for you:
How does one become a horse-drawn carriage driver?
I’ve been doing this for about three years. I’d learned of it because a lot of my friends do this. All you need is a need a license. You have to go to a city course downtown. Three-day course, is all it takes.
What’s your horse’s name? Breed?
Her name’s Daisy. She’s a dappled gray Percheron.
Is each driver loyal to one horse or do you pick up whichever horse is around?
No, I always drive her.
Do the horses get sick days?
The horse hasn’t gotten sick.
How do you think she likes this job?
Eh. She likes it just fine.
You don’t think she gets bored?
I sometimes do. She gets a little bit angry sometimes. All mares do. She tries to bite you every now and then.
How do you handle her?
Bit of gentle persuasion.
What routes do you travel?
We do different rides through Central Park. Late at night, we work Times Square and Rockefeller Center.
Do you think she prefers the greenery of Central Park to the neon of Times Square? Or does it make her yearn for freedom?
I don’t think she cares.
What’d you think of The Gates?
Gates are okay. They were good for the guys in the daytime. I work the nighttime, so it didn’t affect us. Guys in the daytime were busy. But it was good for the city.
Does the horse stench ever bother you?
Nah. You get used to it. I was raised on a farm.
What brought you to New York?
Applied in the lottery, got a Green Card. I wanted to live here. So here I am.
People do anything risqué back there in that carriage?
Every now and then, yeah. People get romantic. You don’t always get to see what’s happening behind you. Last summer two gay guys got out and climbed a tree in the park. They did … lots of stuff up in the tree. I couldn’t believe it.
Do girls approach you to ... pet your horse?
Not enough. Every now and then. The horse is a come-on. Girls like her.
Should I get a horse?
If you want.
Where does she sleep?
52nd Street and 11th Avenue. There’s a stable there. There’s five different stables, mine’s there.
Do all the horse-drawn carriages here operate under one company?
All the carriages are individually owned. We all have the same rules but we’re in competition all right. You want to pick a better looking horse and a better looking carriage.
How’s Daisy rate?
She’s pretty good.
Where’d you find her?
Just went down to Pennsylvania with my boss and we bought her. A horse costs anything from 500 to 3500 dollars.
Who in your opinion is the ultimate New Yorker?
Howard Stern. He doesn’t give a damn.
What do you think of Mayor Bloomberg?
Eh. He’s all right. He’s OK. I suppose.
Most romantic place for a date?
Carriage ride in central park, for sure.
Best celebrity encounter?
I’ve driven Chuck Norris. Angelina Jolie, Hilary Duff. Probably more I didn’t recognize. Nothing special happened. They’re just regular people.
If the world were ending tomorrow, how would you spend your last 24 hours in NYC?