“Carriage horses have traditionally been a part of New York City,” he said.
Protesters eager to ban the industry can be regularly seen on the edge of the park, but their presence doesn’t deter tourists from climbing aboard a horse and carriage.
Two such tourists are Irish mother and daughter Anna and Ann McKee. From Belfast, they told the Irish Voice they planned to do the horse and carriage ride as part of their first trip to New York City.
“We planned to do it as we knew Central Park was really big,” Anna McKee told the Irish Voice.
City dwellers themselves understand why some people are opposed to the industry.
“The thing I would be concerned about is traffic,” McKee said. “But the horses didn’t seem scared.
IT’S almost 5 p.m. For today Paddy’s workday is complete as we begin the ride back to his home at Clinton Park Stables, located just off the West Side Highway at 52nd street.
Seemingly undisturbed by the noise of a bustling Seventh Avenue, Paddy leads the way down the busy street as cabbies and tour buses whiz by.
Before his life in the city, Paddy was used for transporting vegetables to a market.
“He was used to being on the road already,” Malone told the Irish Voice.
“The difference between being on the road on Pennsylvania and Manhattan is that 90 percent of the job is waiting,” Malone said. “You have to teach the horse to wait and be patient.”
As for the speeding cars, the cyclists and sirens of rush hour New York, Malone says they don’t tend to spook the horses.
“What has impact is obscurities that they have never seen before, whether it be a street sweeper, a construction site, diggers and things like that,” he said.
As we pass through quieter cross streets between avenues, Paddy picks up his pace as Malone admits that not every horse could survive the bright lights of the city.
"When you go to buy a horse, you want the one with the head down and not the head up. The one with the head up has too much energy,” Malone says. “The horses that are spirited are not for us.”
We arrive back to the Clinton Park Stables on 52nd Street about 30 minutes after leaving the park.
The stable hands tend to Paddy, as Malone offers the Irish Voice a tour of the three-story Hell’s Kitchen stables, home to 75 horses.
“One of the criticisms is that it is multi-level stable,” Malone states.
“We happen to have fire rescue just down the street. That is the beauty of being in the city. We have a plan for everything here in case of emergency.”
After they return from a day’s labor the horses are led up a steep ramp to their allocated uniform stalls, where their ID information is displayed. Malone points out the sprinkler systems overhead and the misters for the high summer temperatures.
“Everybody has a schedule, the stables hands are here 24-hours,” Malone says.
“We are an open book,” he says. “Whoever wants to come and see us is welcome to come and see us.”
Following on from the industry’s open door policy, over 100 people attended the stable tour open house this past weekend as part of the association’s ClipClop initiative.
As for the future, Malone says the association remains dedicated.
“We will continue to protect our industry. We will continue to keep doing the business that we have been doing for 150 years,” he says.