At Long Last, Stables Are Empty - NYCLASS

At Long Last, Stables Are Empty

After a fruitless campaign to stay put, Shamrock Stables shut its doors Monday morning as the final horse carriage rolled out onto West 45th Street, leaving behind the odds and ends of a family-owned business that was once a major part of New York City’s carriage-horse industry: bales of hay, untended manure, an old trunk filled with horseshoes and a pair of boots.

7 June 2010

After a fruitless campaign to stay put, Shamrock Stables shut its doors Monday morning as the final horse carriage rolled out onto West 45th Street, leaving behind the odds and ends of a family-owned business that was once a major part of New York City’s carriage-horse industry: bales of hay, untended manure, an old trunk filled with horseshoes and a pair of boots.

Shamrock, home to about two dozen horses, had leased property at a subsidized rate from the city for more than 40 years. But on Monday, as pigeons roosted in the rafters, a city marshal legally transferred possession of the property to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, which plans to develop the land into a luxury and moderately priced housing complex.

Out at the hack line near Central Park, one of Shamrock’s owners, Ian McKeever, was in shock. “It’s an end of an era; it’s very sad,” he said as he caressed the brow of his horse Joey.
Sixteen of the 22 horses quartered at Shamrock, including Joey, were relocated to other stables in the city — Chateau Farms on West 48th Street and West Side Livery on West 38th Street. The other six — Bosco, Molly, Chestnut, Max, Patty and Jeter (as in Derek) — were trucked to Mr. McKeever’s farm in Morgantown, Pa., outside of Reading.

Ian McKeever, late of Shamrock Stables, with his horse Joey, on the hack line outside Central Park on Monday.

Despite speculation that Shamrock horses would be auctioned off or slaughtered, Mr. McKeever said he had no such plans. “They belong to me,” he said. “They’re the love of my life. I will take care of them myself and I will bring them back to the city, too.”

For years, the New York City carriage-horse industry has come under fire. Many animal-rights advocates say the carriage horses are abused and overworked and should be relieved of their duties. In the weeks leading up to Shamrock’s eviction, concern over what would happen to its horses became a raw point of tension between the carriage industry and its critics.
When Shamrock could not immediately find new homes for its horses, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which opposes the industry, offered to place the horses in sanctuaries. Shamrock rejected the offer, holding on to hope that the city would offer it a new home.

Eric Bederman, a spokesman for Department of Housing Preservation and Development, said in a statement Monday that “there are presently no plans in the works” for the city to offer Shamrock Stables another subsidized facility.

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