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Written by Megan Finnegan Bungeroth on . Posted in Notes From the Neighborhood west side spirit, West Side Spirit.


Horse Accident Renews Calls for Carriage Ban
Another accident with a carriage horse last week has reignited the citywide debate over whether the iconic horse-drawn carriages should be outlawed.

The New York Times and other news outlets reported that around 4:30 p.m. last Thursday, a horse pulling a driver and two passengers got spooked in Columbus Circle and bolted, eventually shedding his carriage, which toppled over. The 6-year-old horse, named Oreo, wasn’t seriously hurt, but did have to be sedated by police with a tranquilizer, and his rampage damaged two cars and injured three people before he was caught on Ninth Avenue.

Upper West Side Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal pointed to the incident as the latest reason to support her bill to ban the carriages in New York.

“I have been calling for an end to a practice that places profit above safety—the safety of the horses and the unsuspecting public for years,” Rosenthal said in a statement. “If an industry is incapable of preventing recurring accidents, the State has a responsibility to step in. We have been lucky up to this point, but our luck is bound to run out.”

Bike Share Pushed Back to Spring
Hopeful cyclists looking forward to taking advantage of the city’s bike share will have to nix their dreams of riding through the crisp fall weather this year. The Department of Transportation announced that the city’s Bike Share program will be delayed—again—and will not be implemented until March 2013. The program, sponsored by Citi with a $41 million investment, will launch with its initial phase of 7,000 bikes at 420 stations spread throughout Midtown and Lower Manhattan, parts of Brooklyn and Queens.

“New York City demands a world-class bike share system, and we need to ensure that Citi Bike launches as flawlessly as New Yorkers expect on Day One,” DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said in a statement.

The delay has been blamed on software issues related to the payment and tracking system that Citi Bike will use.

Tavern on the Green Operator Named
The Department of Parks and Recreation announced that they will be awarding a 20-year licensing agreement to the Emerald Green Group, a Philadelphia-based company, to operate and maintain a restaurant at the former Tavern on the Green location.

The selected operator, the Emerald Green Group, swayed the city with its proposal focusing on locally sourced food and a 200-300 person outdoor seating area.

“We are pleased to select the Emerald Green Group as the new operator of Tavern on the Green,” Commissioner Adrian Benepe said. “They have done an outstanding job with Beau Monde in Philadelphia, and their vision for the iconic Tavern on the Green will create a casual restaurant and outdoor café that everyday parkgoers, neighbors and visitors can enjoy.”
The new restaurant is scheduled to open in fall of next year.

Espaillat Gets Major Endorsement
City & State reports that the McManus Political Club, the oldest and only citywide political club in New York, has decided to endorse Sen. Adriano Espaillat’s re-election bid, Espaillat’s campaign said. “As the oldest political club in New York, we know a great elected official when we see one,” the club said in a statement provided by Espaillat’s campaign. “Senator Espaillat has been a strong fighter for New York’s working families. He understands the challenges and opportunities our state faces, and he has demonstrated the leadership needed to move New York forward.” Influential in areas like Hell’s Kitchen, a new part of Espaillat’s Senate district, the club could help Espaillat shore up support there against his opponent, Assemblyman Guillermo Linares. In the latest filing period, Espaillat raised $45,390 and has $38,000 on hand, while Linares raised $28,850, and has $82,000 on hand. Of course, Espaillat’s depleted cash reserves are due in part to a closely contested congressional primary against Rep. Charlie Rangel.

Senate Debate Turns the Heat on Hoylman
City & State reports that Brad Hoylman, a candidate for the seat to be vacated by state Sen. Tom Duane, faced questions earlier this week from Democratic primary opponents about his former job at the Partnership for New York City, a pro-business group where he was a vice president and general counsel. At debate, one candidate, Tom Greco, asked Hoylman what he did to save St. Vincent’s Hospital, since Bill Rudin, the developer behind a controversial plan to redevelop the shuttered hospital, was on the Partnership’s board. Another candidate, Tanika Inlaw, criticized Hoylman’s ties to big business, saying she has no “special interests” backing her. Hoylman, a community board chairman who has the backing of Duane and other members of the party establishment, sought to distance himself from the Partnership, saying the city gives away too many incentives to companies and calling for an end to a carried interest deduction benefiting the city’s many billionaires. He also noted his years of work on affordable housing, public education and open space. “I think my record in the community speaks for itself,” he said.

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