Liam Neeson channels memories of his work with horses in County Armagh into his fight to get New York’s famous carriage horses trotting around Central Park.
he Ballymena-born star, who now lives in New York, is a big fan of the animals that are a huge tourist attraction in Manhattan.
Schindler’s List and Taken star Neeson, 70, has called on New York Mayor Eric Adams to ignore activists who want to see horses saved from “inhumane” treatment. He wants to stop a bill before the city council that would replace horses with electric carriages.
He called new efforts to rid the city of carriage horses an “outrageous attempt” that would eventually lead to “greedy” real estate developers grabbing the prized land in Manhattan’s far west where the three are located. city stables.
In a letter to Adams Neeson, who regularly strolls through the famous park, says, “Carriages have been pulling New Yorkers since 1692.
“In response to false allegations of ‘cruelty’ to animals, I invited the City Council and Mayor to visit the state-of-the-art stables to prove that the horses are cared for the best. Only our irresponsible former Mayor [Bill de Blasio] refused to attend!
“I am a proud son of the Old Sod, spending summers on a farm in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. I am now a proud naturalized American citizen and a New Yorker.
“On my uncle’s farm, I worked and cared for his horses. In my films, I not only rode horses, but also helped to look after them. I know and love horses, so I am writing to ask for your help.
But New York City Councilman Robert Holden – who is introducing legislation to replace nags with electric cars by 2024 – defended his actions.
He said: “The cars would be low-speed electric vehicles with a maximum speed performance of no more than 25 miles per hour.
“In Central Park, cars would be limited to speeds of three miles per hour. The city would be responsible for establishing a program for renting or selling new cars to future owners, with priority given to former taxi license holders horse-drawn.
“Under the new scheme, car owners would be required to pay car drivers a prevailing wage which would be set by the comptroller.”
Millions of tourists flock to Midtown Manhattan each summer to see carriage horses roaming Central Park, and the profession brings in a handsome profit for the largely Irish community that runs it.
Opponents, however, say the horses are worked in the ground and the summer is hell for them because they suffer from the heat and there are no stables near Central Park.