Read the original article by Julia Marsh at nypost.com here.
Mayor de Blasio won a legal battle Wednesday in his bid to corral hansom cabs inside Central Park over the objection of a horse owner who sued to keep equines on the nearby streets where they’re more visible to potential ride hails.
A new rule dictating the move is scheduled to take effect on Friday.
“The city asserts that the purpose of this proposed change is to ‘reduce the amount of time that horses spend alongside vehicular traffic,’” Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron says in the ruling.
Engoron notes that various city agencies, local lawmakers and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals support the relocation.
And he affirmed the city Department of Transportation’s power to regulate the roadways.
“This explicit grant of authority to DOT, viewed in connecting with DOT’s stated intent of mitigating the amount of time horses spend mingling with, and presumably impeding traffic, renders its proposed rule beyond judicial reproach or second guessing,” Justice Engoron writes.
The judge tipped his hat to a Native American Chief, Phillip Whiteman, of the Cheyenne Nation, who testified in court last week on behalf of horse owner Giovanni Paliotta.
“Outfitted in full tribal regalia, Chief Whiteman offered a moving, poignant, heartbreaking speech about what (mostly European) immigrants to America have done to its native peoples and its environment, and about the importance of animals, particularly horses, buffalo, and dogs,” the judge writes.
“Although Chief Whiteman’s words cannot triumph as a matter of law, this Court believes them worthy of deep thought and consideration,” he adds.
Paliotta had argued that only the City Council, not the mayor had the power to make the change.
Justice Engoron disagreed.
“The grant of authority at issue here is not so broad that it can be categorized as impermissible policy making,” he wrote.
An attorney for the driver did not immediately respond to request for comment.
New Yorkers for Clean, Livable, and Safe Streets– a animal rights group that paid a $10,000 penalty last year for failing to register as a lobbyist while it pushed the mayor to ban horse carriages– applauded the ruling.
“We are pleased with the court’s decision to allow the hackline locations to be moved into Central Park and off the car-choked Midtown streets,” NYCLASS director Edita Birnkrant said in a statement.
A city Law Department spokesman said, “We’re pleased the court agreed that the city’s plan for designating horse carriage boarding areas in Central Park is lawful. The Department of Transportation is moving ahead with its plan accordingly.”