NYPD's Mounted Unit prepares for New Year's Eve in Times Square

Lauren Glassberg Image
Friday, December 17, 2021
NYPD's Mounted Unit prepares for New Year's Eve in Times Square
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Lauren Glassberg has more on security preparations in place in Times Square for New Year's Eve.

TIMES SQUARE, Manhattan (WABC) -- As we count down to the new year, the NYPD is fine-tuning its security plans in Times Square.

Part of the plan includes the department's Mounted Unit which will have officers riding high above the crowds.

In a city of subways, taxis and pedestrians, you can still find some horses.

The NYPD Mounted Unit can be seen out on the streets, and they're often in Times Square.

On Thursday, they were riding with Santa who was drawing a fair bit of attention, but mostly, it's the horses that draw the crowds.

"I can just stand here and I will just have a whole bunch of people come up to me and ask me all sorts of questions, I've had people cry to me, and I'm just standing there listening, it's almost like therapy in a way," said Officer Edwin Aguilar.

Aguilar was raised in the Bronx and had never been on a horse before he applied for a post with the Mounted Unit.

Now he rides Thor. The two even made the police foundation's annual calendar that raises money for the NYPD canine and equine units.

"In the beginning I would say it's surreal, you're like wow I'm on a horse and then after a while you become so comfortable with it, it's almost like nothing walking through, it's like a routine day walking through Times Square with your horse," Aguilar said.

Inspector Barry Gelbman and Fantan have been a team for almost 14 years.

"Everybody loves to see the police horses, we're very visible when we're out, if there's anything going on we can direct pedestrians," Gelbman said.

The horses have been ridden throughout the pandemic and have never taken a break, even last New Year's Eve when Times Square was a frozen zone.

"We were sitting on Seventh Avenue and 44th Street in the middle of Times Square by ourselves, you'll never see that again, that's a once in a life time experience," Gelbman said.

But this year, the ball drop will be a spectacle with the horses on site.

They will help officers see above the crowds and help those in need see an officer who is 10 feet high.

In addition to this year's equine return, fans of the NYPD's four-legged partners will be happy to know the department's 2022 NYPD Canine and Friends Calendar is now available.

The $25 calendar, which funds various police initiatives and purchases such as bullet-resistant vests, can be purchased through the Police Foundation.

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