File - Two horse-drawn carriages are ridden on Central Park West on January 2, 2014 in New York. (AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA)
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NEW YORK: Many U.S. cities have quintessential sights and sounds: San Francisco's clanging cable cars, New Orleans and its raucous Mardi Gras and Washington D.C.'s political mudslinging.New York has an abundance of them too, and the new mayor has ignited a firestorm by announcing plans to nix one that is a century old – the horse-drawn carriages in Central Park – calling them inhumane.On the ground floor are the carriages themselves, adorned with plastic flowers and American flags.Upstairs are the horses, 79 of them, each in its own stall measuring three meters by 2.4 meters.So NYClass wants to replace the carriages with electric-powered copies of early 20th century cars to offer that same "nostalgic feel".The horses would be retired to "sanctuaries" and looked after by the people who drove the carriages, calling this a very fair alternative.The carriages would be phased out and the electric cars phased in over a period of three years.Carriage driver Christina Hansen, a member and spokeswoman for the Horse and Carriage Association of New York City, is livid.
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