Queens Councilman Tony Avella has introduced a bill that would ban the existence of carriage horses in NYC. Another Queens Councilman, James Gennaro, is looking to preserve the practice of equine cabbies that populate the streets of and around Central Park. Manhattan council members are perhaps showing some political horse sense from bowing out of this particular fight. While wanting to preserve the tradition of the horse-drawn carriage trade, Gennaro is also suggesting a fare boost that would raise the rate of a ride $20 a half hour, to $54 for 30 minutes.

The sight of hansom cab horses is a mainstay of the city, but every once in a while a disturbing story crops up, like the driver who whipped his horse--at the instruction of a vet--while his steed was suffering a heart attack and onlookers were horrified. Then this summer, there was the horrific case of a horse galloping out of control down a West Side avenue before being struck by an SUV; while in the fall, a horse was spooked on Central Park South and ran into traffic, later dying. The Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages will be appearing on the steps of City Hall next Saturday with Councilman Avella.

(Of Course II, by mattcarman at