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Representatives of the horse carriage industry in New York City have reached an agreement-in-concept with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office on the future of horse drawn carriages there. To become effective, the deal must be approved by the City Council.

Under the compromise agreement, new stables will be built in Central Park for the horses, but the numbers will shrink from 220 horses active today to 95 horses by 2018. Operation of the carriages will be restricted to the park, according to some reports, and not the city streets.

On the plus side for the horsemen, pedicabs—competition for the carriages—would be prohibited from operating below 85th Street.

On the plus side for the Mayor and real estate developers, the building now housing the horse stables will become available for conversion to higher-revenue use.

Animal rights activists spent about one million dollars supporting de Blasio’s election bid and smearing his chief opponent, Christine Quinn. De Blasio had promised during his election campaign to remove all horse drawn carriages from the streets. The majority of New Yorkers, however, opposed the mayor in his attack on the industry.

The current deal may ease de Blasio’s conundrum, especially with the real estate developers riding quietly in the wake of the shrill cries and large campaign donations of the animal rights activists, but will it satisfy the latter’s ideological agenda? A question for the future.

Click for our earlier report on events leading up to discussions of the current deal.

Posted January 18, 2016

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