February 12, 2015
By Marc Bussanich
Central Park, NY—It’s already more than two months since Councilmember Daniel Dromm introduced legislation that would eventually ban the horse carriage industry here, but that didn’t stop carriage horse drivers from transporting through Central Park some of the world’s top models wearing fashion designer Viktor Luna’s wares to kick off Fashion Week.
The political battle over the future of the horse carriage industry in New York City still rages on even though that battle took a temporary backseat when the political battle between Mayor Bill de Blasio and the police unions took center stage. But on Wednesday afternoon as carriage horse drivers were escorting the models, sure enough protestors from the animal rights group New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets (NYCLASS) met them.
In the accompanying video, we interviewed Steven Malone, a carriage horse driver and a delegate with Teamsters Local 553, which represents approximately 300 carriage horse drivers. Mr. Malone has been one of the most outspoken carriage horse drivers against Councilmember Dromm’s legislation and the Mayor’s stance to ban the industry in New York City. At a press conference at City Hall on December 9, one day after the councilmember introduced the legislation, Malone, joined by his fellow carriage drivers, said it would be a cold day in hell if the city tried to take away his livelihood.
Malone said Fashion Week provides one of the best opportunities to showcase one of New York City’s most iconic industries.
“This is just a new wave of using the carriages to showcase what makes New York City spectacular and obviously this is the fashion capital of the world, we’re the carriage capital of the world and this is just two worlds coming together to make New York an awesome place,” said Malone.
As NYCLASS protestors converged to hold up placards with photos of distressed horses, Malone said he welcomed the protests.
“They’re our local fan club. We want them here. They create the buzz, they bring the buzz, and that’s good. This is New York. It doesn’t deter us one bit.”