Actor Liam Neeson continued his critique of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s war on carriages courtesy of the Old Gray Lady.
The unlikely action hero penned an op-ed in The New York Times explaining his defense of Big Apple carriage rides as well as the mostly immigrant workers who operate them.
The carriage operators run a safe operation, the Taken star argues, one that keeps a mostly immigrant group of New Yorkers gainfully employed.
New York’s horse carriages have made an estimated six million trips in traffic over the last 30 years. In that time, just four horses have been killed as a result of collisions with motor vehicles, with no human fatalities. In contrast to the terrible toll of traffic accidents generally on New Yorkers, the carriage industry has a remarkable safety record.
A majority of carriage drivers and stable hands are recent immigrants, often raised on farms in their home countries. They love their jobs and their horses, and they take pride in being ambassadors for this great city. I can’t help but see the proposed ban as a class issue: Their livelihoods are now at risk because the animal-rights opponents of the industry are well funded by real-estate interests, which has led to speculation that this powerful lobby wishes to develop the West Side properties occupied by the stables.
Neeson is particularly annoyed by de Blasio’s unwillingness to engage the other side of the carriage debate.
Before we lose this signature element of New York’s culture and history — instantly recognizable to the millions of tourists who visit our city and contribute to its economy — the least the mayor can do is come down to the stables and see how the horses are cared for.