May 6, 2014
By Marc Bussanich
New York, NY—Outside the Clinton Park Horse Stables on Friday volunteers with NYCLASS, the animal advocacy organization, protested and called for the end of the city’s carriage horse industry. But on the other side of town, along Central Park West, Stephen Malone, a horse carriage driver for 27 years, said he wouldn’t know how else to make a living if the city bans the industry. WATCH VIDEO INTERVIEW OF STEPHEN MALONE
Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he wants to ban the industry and would offer offer “new opportunities in other types of related work” such as driving antique electric cars. That idea prompted a harsh rebuke from Irish actor Liam Neeson back in March when he invited the Mayor and City Council to tour the Clinton Park Horse Stables.
Malone doesn’t like the idea either.
“The whole thing is a farce. They deem it a carriage, but it’s actually a tank. I have no interest in driving an electric car. If I wanted to spend $175,000 on a car, I’d buy a Rolls-Royce,” said Malone.
Malone is very concerned by the Mayor’s plan to ban the industry.
“I have a family of three boys. It’s very stressful.”
He said he wouldn’t know how else to make a living if he couldn’t steer a horse-drawn carriage.
“I’ve been doing this job for 27 years. It’s my livelihood. This is what my father did starting in 1964. I’m going to be 45 years old this summer. I’m not really cut out for anything else at this point so I’m not sure what I’d do,” Malone said.
Malone, who is a member of the Teamsters Joint Council 16’s affiliated Local 553, said he’s been able to make a living for all these years as a horse carriage driver.
“Like this horse was bred to pull this carriage, I was bred to drive it. I intend on doing that for as long as I’m physically capable of doing it,” Malone said.
Malone’s colt is Tyson, nearly six years old, bred in Michigan where he pulled carriages there and in Pennsylvania. When asked if he likes the streets of New York City, he snorted, “Neighhhhhhhh!”
Follow Marc on Twitter email@example.com