Central Park carriage horses back on the job despite lack of tourists

Central Park carriage horses
Carriage horses return to Central Park. Photo credit Marla Diamond

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Carriage horses are clip-clopping once again in Central Park.

As WCBS 880's Marla Diamond reported, Abby the horse seemed happy to be back on the job and so was driver Joshua Michael Sausville.

"The horses are bored, the drivers are bored. We've been cooped up in the house. Let's get out there and get back to work already," Sausville said.

Abby and her pal Mary were hitched up to their carriages at the entrance to Central Park waiting for customers on Friday.

The horses have been cooling their hooves at vacation farms upstate and in Lancaster, Pennsylvania for the past seven months.

Industry spokeswoman Christina Hansen said only about 13 of Central Park's carriage horses have been brought back.

With tourists yet to return, Hansen expects business to pick up around Christmas.

"And more will be coming as we get closer to Christmas and as business starts building up," she said. "It's a New York City holiday tradition. Everything else has been canceled, there's no Rockettes, there's no Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, there's a virtual ball drop, but we're here."

Hansen touted a Central Park carriage ride as a safe and fun thing to do. Drivers are required to wear masks and sanitize after every customer.

Sausville wore his mask along with his traditional bow tie and top hat.

"It's kind of special occasion for everybody right now just to see New York get back on its feet, as it always does, cause that's what we're like around here," he said.

As a welcome back, drivers will offer free rides Saturday to health care workers and first responders.

"We've all been cooped up all summer and even if you just come by to say 'hi' we're just glad to see you all," Hansen said.

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