NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Mayor Bill de Blasio is pushing back his self-imposed deadline to ban horse-drawn carriages from New York City’s streets.
De Blasio wanted to ban the horses from Manhattan’s streets and Central Park during his first week in office.
But in a Google Hangout video chat on Friday, the mayor said he now expects the City Council to ban the practice by year’s end.
“A horse in the middle of the streets of Midtown doesn’t belong,” he said. “I think a humane society doesn’t do that to animals and we have an alternative where we’ll have an opportunity for tourists to have a similar experience but without horses being a part of it.”
But carriage-horse operators and allies have loudly opposed the mayor’s plan, including actor Liam Neeson who toured the Clinton Park Stables on West 52nd Street last month.
“This is an industry that’s been here since before Abraham Lincoln’s first inauguration,” Neeson said. “These horses are well cared for.”
Operators also say banning the horses will cost the city jobs and deprive New York of one of its iconic industries.
De Blasio has proposed replacing the carriages with electric cars and says the change will help create jobs.
“We’ll have an opportunity for jobs for folks,” he said.
The council has not yet introduced the legislation.
De Blasio’s stop at Google’s Manhattan office to chat with voters comes as part of his victory lap marking his first 100 days in office.
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