NYC horse-carriage vote cancelled after Teamsters withdraw support

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A New York City Council vote on a plan by Mayor Bill de Blasio to overhaul Central Park's popular carriage horse rides has been scrapped after the Teamsters union refused to support it.

The deal was struck in December to reduce the horse fleet from 220 to about 90 and move everything inside Central Park.

The City Council was set to vote on the idea Friday at City Hall, but carriage drivers assembled Thursday morning to speak out.

And all of a sudden their union, that once Okayed the agreement, said "Our members are not confident that it provides a viable future for their industry. We cannot support the horse carriage bill."

"The Teamsters first priority is always our members and their livelihoods. With the legislation now finalized, our members are not confident that it provides a viable future for their industry," said Teamsters Joint Council 16 President George Miranda.

"Obviously disappointed the vote won't happen tomorrow, but we're going to find a way forward," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The mayor was stunned by the turnabout, but drivers were overjoyed. For now, they won big.

"This bill would have been bad for horses, it would have cut the number of horses in half, they'd be working harder, it would have just decimated our industry," said Christina Hansen, a carriage driver.

Pedicab drivers also celebrated, the bill would've banned them from working below 86th Street in the park, but not now.

"Well, I'm actually very happy. It's a win, it's a small win for the little guys," said Abdu Al Munteser, a pedicab driver.

Central Park advocates also hailed Thursday's development.

Even the mayor's allies are now saying, "Come on, give up already!"

"I respect the mayor, he's a very smart man, but I think it's time to move on," said Jimmy Van Bramer, (D) New York City Council Member.

Perhaps the mayor feels truly obligated to animal rights advocates. They want the horses gone and they gave his campaign millions. The mayor maintained that this fight isn't over.

"A lot of people believe that it does not make sense to have horses on the streets of Midtown Manhattan and that having them in the park was a good idea. Again, we will find a way forward," Mayor de Blasio said.
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