Actor Liam Neeson is fighting NY Mayor DeBlasio's plan to shut down the popular Midtown horse carriage business. He invited the Mayor and the City Council to come visit the stables and see that the horses were well cared for. While some in the City Council joined him for a tour, the mayor stayed home, prompting Neeson to tell the press, “He should have manned up and come.”
“I’ve been walking in the streets of Central Park for a few hours, five days a week, for 20 years, I know some of the drivers, and I’ve seen the joy these tourists get. We can’t put a dollar amount on what that does for the tourist industry.”
The “Schindler’s List” star told about 100 carriage drivers and Teamsters Union members at the Clinton Park Stables on Manhattan’s West Side that their horses were “well cared for” and shouldn’t be replaced with electrified antique autos, as de Blasio has proposed.
“This is an industry that’s been here since before Abraham Lincoln’s first inauguration,” said Neeson, an outspoken supporter of the controversial business.
“It’s a connection with our past. It’s a connection with our history.”
The Central Labor Council, an umbrella group representing more than 1.3 million workers, fired off a letter to de Blasio and the City Council pleading with them not to axe the “iconic and thriving industry.”
“As one of New York City’s top three tourist attractions, the industry provides millions of dollars in revenue as well as hundreds of reliable, well-paying middle-class jobs,” the letter reads.
It was signed by two dozen union leaders, many of whom are leading the charge on other de Blasio initiatives, including his proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for universal prekindergarten and his push for a state law allowing the city to set its own minimum wage.
The signers included United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew; Hector Figueroa, head of the service workers union SEIU Local 32BJ, and Central Labor Council President Vincent Alvarez. It’s the first time any union leader has spoken out against a de Blasio policy.