Robert Stasio was enjoying a toasted bagel in his Staten Island home this snowy morning when something wild caught the corner of his eye: a pair of ponies frolicking through the wintery mix.
"I looked out my window and I seen them running them down the middle of the street," Stasio, a 50-year-old painter in Eltingville, Staten Island, told Gothamist. "I was like what the f---?"
Stasio then hopped into his truck, tailing the miniature horses as they tore through the neighborhood on the South Shore of Staten Island, from Richmond Avenue up toward Hylan Boulevard. At first, they eluded him. But when the pursuit stalled behind two stalled buses, Stasio elected to chase the ponies on foot.
— Bree Driscoll (@BreeDriscoll) March 14, 2017
"I followed them and they started running," Stasio told Gothamist. "As I was doing that I see the cops coming down the block with the lights on. I ran and I grab them by the mane and I was holding them, and [the cops] were trying to get a rope or something."
Stasio, who describes the experience of restraining two small horses by the neck with a Cormac McCarthyesque lucidity, continued: "They didn't have a rope. Another fella came out the car, he had some kind of strap. The ponies were pulling me, they were dragging me in the snow, and then eventually I got them to stop and the guy came and put the rope around their neck and tied one to the pole and then we got the other one."
— NYPD Special Ops (@NYPDSpecialops) March 14, 2017
With the ponies safely wrangled, Stasio returned to his snow day and his toasted bagel. "What a day," he said.
We've reached out to the Staten Island police about the origin of the ponies and will update once we hear back, but according to the NYPD Special Ops Twitter, they have been returned safely to their owners.
Update 12:35: Asked about the pony escape today, Chief of Patrol Terence Monahan told reporters the ponies escaped a stable on Wakefield road and were later spotted walking down Hylan Boulevard. "An off duty police officer saw them out there, two little tiny ponies," Monahan said. "He stopped and he had a tow strap in his truck, so he tied them to a lamp post. They are safe and in great shape."