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Clinton Park Stables

I could not have missed it if I had tried, so strong was the smell of horses emanating from the lofty stable doors. One of the very last stops on my walk across 52nd Street was Clinton Park Stables, a striking building with bright red doors and a matching fire escape. The historic structure was built in the late 1800s and was originally a stable for New York's Sanitation Department horses. Conor McHugh, the Irish Stable Manager, gave me a tour of the building that culminated in a walk up the wide ramp to the stables. In his lilting Irish accent, Conor told me the story behind his own horse's name – Arnie. Apparently, his first customer many years ago was Arnold Schwarzenegger. Conor then went on to explain how the stable is run. Each horse is individually owned but the owners all pay to house their horses in the collective stables. "It's essentially how the taxi system works, " Conor explained. Recently, the Clinton Park Stables has been enmeshed in a battle with horse carriage critics and the New York mayor who cite inhumane treatment of the animals. It was very important to Conor that I share "his side of the story, " as he wants people to know that the horses live in a high-quality environment and are loved and cared for by their owners and everyone else who works there. Many observers have also noted the coincidence between rising real estate value and the sudden interest in the Stables' conditions. As we said goodbye, Conor said, "We support progress; we just don't want to be run out of town because of it. "