Clip Clop

NYPD Mounted Police Stable, Tribeca

New York City used to be a horse town.

People used to ride down Broadway. Buses used to be pulled by draft horses. Rather than streets full of yellow taxis there were streets full of neighing, pooping, kicking horses.

I wish I had seen those days.

The only remnant of the golden days of equine New York is the NYPD Mounted Unit. When I hear the clipclop of a police horse, my heart skips a beat and I get a little giddy. I turn into a 6 year old, I want to pet the horse!

NYPD Mounted Police Stable, Tribeca

Recently I was bumming around Tribeca when a very familiar smell hit my nose. Manure. Then I looked around and noticed all the trailers, and then I saw a mounted policeman. I asked if there was a stable around and he gestured down the street. Right there, opening up onto Washington Street, was a barn.

I could hear small rustlings, low whinnies, and see an occasional tail flick, but these are working animals and kept at a safe distance from over-enthusiastic ex-equestriennes like myself.

Not ready to join the NYPD? Then why not think about joining the New York Parks Enforcement Auxiliary Mounted Unit? You can patrol some of the city’s most beautiful parks and help lost kids find their parents and do a good thing for your city!


~ by ann on March 8, 2007.

6 Responses to “Clip Clop”

  1. Chicago was a horse town too, as were all cities back in the day. As much as people complain about auto exhaust and pollution, I don’t think most people give much thought to, um, horse exhaust. We have a number of horsedrawn carriages that work the tourist trade around Michigan Avenue here. There are certain corners where they park and wait for customers in the evening. Even during the day, when the horses and carriages aren’t present, those corners smell of horse pee. Big time. Now imagine hundreds or thousands of horses downtown every day. Wow.

    By the way, I just found your photo site. I will be back. I need great New York fixes like this on an almost daily basis.

  2. Two years ago I had the pleasure of going to NYC on a bus trip to Radio City Music Hall. Before and after the Christmas Show we wandered the streets of NYC. It was 2 days after Thanksgiving and the streets were packed with people. Yet the wonderful NYC Mounted Police were nice enough to stop and let everyone take pic-tures of them. I have a really great photo! I am currently in the process of turning that photo into a painting. I am a self-taught Artist from central Pa. and can’t wait to finally get a chance to start this painting. I plan on giving a print of it to them when it’s finished. Thanks for sharing, I will let you know when the painting is finished.

  3. Do you remember an old livery stable in the West 50’s? I believe the police had it. Sound familiar?

  4. Hi!

    Just came upon this site. I am a fellow horse nut and relate to the starvation we of this ilk suffer living here in Manhattan, given the options.

    I enjoyed seeing images of this facilty, but am also shocked and dismayed to see all the stalls appear to be straight stalls.

    These fine equine public servants deserve BOX STALLS, no?


    • I agree but those ,might simply be stalls where they can rest and have a snack without having their tack removed-The horses that pull carriages in Historic Williamsburg VA have a similar arrangement with standing stalls for theur lunch, but box stalls for overnight. I have heard that there are stables in masnhattan that rent horses that you can ride in central park…is that not true? manhattan is a cool place to visit, but i could never live there….life without horses is no life at all to me….

      • Hi, Orlenda!

        Well, your postulation makes sense, but I am not convinced. Only someone who has seen the facility would really know. And remember, here in Manhattan space is always an issue.

        Yes, there was a stable uptown on the West side named Claremont where one could rent horses and ride the bridlepaths of Central Park. I only tried it once and it felt very artificial and I never went back.

        Claremont closed, I believe, in 07. the old order changeth…..sad thing.

        Can’t have everything, right? Manhattan was not built for a life that includes horses in any organically integrated way, alas.

        Even the (often) Morgans our mounted police partner with must be carefully chosen & trained, given how not natural their lives are, including, even with special shoes, the terrain they are relegated to….sometimes, at a gallop.

        But I do know when they are retired, they live in pastures upstate and get the very best care.


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