Bill de Blasio’s first act since becoming mayor has been to try and cut jobs in New York City.
How else to interpret these comments from him? "We are going to quickly and aggressively move to make horse carriages no longer a part of the landscape in New York City... They are not humane. ... It's over."
So out go the hundreds of carriage horse drivers, up to 50 percent of them Irish, who make up this industry.
So out goes a New York tradition and the horses themselves who may end up as delicacy on some French monsieur’s plate in Paris where they adore “cheval,” as they call it.
Carriage horses have been around since 1858 and now, at the behest of a big political backer, de Blasio is going to get rid of them. For a man elected on a two cities theme he sure seems to be siding with the rich guys on this one.
It is exactly the wrong kind of message from a new mayor already under suspicion for being anti-business. Amazingly he seems Bill de blasé about cutting jobs.
Of course the carriage drivers are not Wall Street bigs, nor do they have a particularly strong political lobby.
They are mostly working class men and women doing a decent job and adding greatly to New York’s allure for tourists.
I have known and met them and almost all have that deep and abiding Irish bond with horses, which is the envy of the world.
The nonsense about the horses being mistreated is just that. They are far better treated than many New York residents. Their care is scrutinized and vetted at every turn.
Replacing them with electric cars, as De Blasio wants to do, is the equivalent of replacing the Statue of Liberty with a muppet.
The charm and grace of the old tradition is lost forever. Electric cars have all the charm of an oil rig.
Hopefully De Blasio will not make this his signature first “accomplishment,” but if he does we can prepare for the worst, a mayor whose first commitment is to political correctness and big backers, and not to jobs.
Here's a recent video IrishCentral made "A day in the life of the horse-drawn carriages in New York City:"