January 1 marks the end of Bloomberg's mayoral reign, but it also might usher in the end of the horse-driven carriage. The controversial carriages have been the subject of debate for a while, and now it appears both mayoral candidates/frontrunners will seek to end the industry if elected.
Bill de Blasio (who is expected to win the Democratic party's nomination) pledged early on in his campaign to ban carriage horses on his first day in office, and while that might not actually end up being his first move as mayor, supporters expect he'll still abolish them. "We’re still 100% confident that Mayor de Blasio will be true to his word and get these horses off the street,” said Allie Feldman, a spokeswoman for anti-horse carriage nonprofit NYCLASS, told the Daily News. "It’s inhumane."
And Republican nominee Joe Lhota has also said he will ban the industry, though he's more invested in ridding the city of horse droppings. "The smell that they drop there is unfortunate. The smell on Central Park South is also unfortunate," he told a radio program in May. "I will get rid of the horses."
For activists who have argued against horse carriages, citing animal cruelty and other humanity issues, a ban is welcome. Both de Blasio and Lhota have proposed alternatives to horse-carriages, like antique cars or electric carriages. But for those who rely on the industry, these campaign promises pose a real threat. "This is not a regular job. It’s not like an accountant, who can just go work somewhere else if he’s laid off," Demos Demopoulos, a spokesman for a local horse carriage driver union, told the Daily News. "This is all these people know. It’s their life."