Jay Lloyd’s Getaway: The Romance Of Horse-Drawn Carriages

NEW YORK, N.Y. (CBS) – Judging by Hollywood, it’s easy to believe that the most romantic thing to do on a New York City getaway is to take a horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park.

Over the decades, the colorful Central Park hansom cabs have been a symbol of romance.

Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse danced in a make-believe Central Park in The Band Wagon, and Carrie goes for a romantic carriage ride in Sex and the City. Even Crocodile Dundee gets a ride with some laughs.

harriott ken billy side Jay Lloyds Getaway:  The Romance Of Horse Drawn Carriages

(Ken Harriott, with "Billy." Photo by Jay Lloyd)

Carriage driver Kevin Harriott (right) has seen his share of marriage proposals, especially on holidays.

“Every carriage is going to get a few every Christmas,” he told me recently. “It’s that popular.”

And so, after years of walking past the carriages that line Central Park South, Mary and I finally climbed aboard. It was one of the most pleasant and leisurely rides we’ve ever known.

Past the ice skating rink, the lake, the Boathouse restaurant, the zoo, and Strawberry Fields, it was transportation to an earlier century.

“It’s a piece of history. And it’s so quaint and quiet in the park, especially at night,” notes Harriott.

A short ride is $50 plus tip.  The full loop -– about 45 minutes — runs about $90. If you are planning ahead, bring a carrot for the horse.

Reported by Jay Lloyd, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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  • Christina Hansen

    Thank you, Jay, for a wonderful FACT-FILLED article and comment. As a former carriage driver in Philadelphia and co-founder of Blue Star Equiculture Draft Horse Sanctuary in Palmer, MA (official retirement home of the NYC carriage horses), I can say that you are SPOT ON. There is no better way to see Central Park, which, as you point out, was designed to be seen from a carriage.

    For folks like Sean b who are sadly very misinformed about the lives of carriage horses, please see http://www.equiculture.org/carriage-horses.aspx

  • Jay Lloyd

    The horse pictured above left the following day for four months rest at a farm in Lancaster County, PA. This driver’s horses are rotated on a regular basis. Horses worked the streets of New York long before the automobile and have worked alongside motor driven vehicles as long as people. It would seem that people are more likely to suffer from pollution and aggressive drivers. And never forget, farm animals are just as vulnerable to abuse as those living in a stable on New York’s west side.

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