Shamrock Stables, owned by Ian McKeever from Navan, Co. Meath, has been the home for 30 horses and 17 carriages since McKeever emigrated to the U.S. in 1985 and took over the lease of the building.
McKeever, a driver himself who employs six others, received word from the City of New York late last year that his business may soon be in jeopardy.
The city’s Housing Preservation and Development Agency is planning to tear down the stable, located on West 45th Street, to make room for real estate. A residential and commercial building and a school expansion is planned for the block.<
McKeever told the Irish Voice on Tuesday that such action will have “devastating consequences” on his business and on the livelihoods of 25 drivers.
McKeever has set up a Facebook page to reach out to people in an effort to stop the eviction and keep his business afloat.
If McKeever is subsequently evicted, he is asking the city to come up with an alternative location near Central Park where all of their business is conducted.
“The horse-drawn carriage industry is an iconic fixture in Central Park and one of the best assets we have for tourism. We need a stable environment and new lease on life,” he said.
McKeever’s lease was not renewed by the city in November, and in December he was asked to vacate the premises. McKeever has nowhere to put the horses. The other stables in the city are in full capacity and can’t house 32 additional horses and the carriages.
"Right now we are very scared, especially for our families and our horses. We don't have any options without the city's help,” said McKeever.
Shamrock Stables has retained an attorney to help with the current eviction proceedings. They are hopeful the city will begin to negotiate a new lease in a suitable space near the Park.
“For over 40 years, the city has been a great landlord and we have been very good tenants. The horse carriage industry is an iconic tradition in New York City, and we consider ourselves living landmarks,” McKeever said.