A Chat With Norm Augustinus, the Guy Holding the "Die de Blasio Die" Banner at Columbus Circle [Updated]
Photo by Reddit user Livings124
The carriage-horse debate has gotten rather heated lately, with animal rights activists and the de Blasio administration saying it's time for the practice to end, and carriage drivers, the Teamsters and Liam Neeson saying a ban on carriage horses will send the drivers into unemployment and the horses somewhere unpleasant. (NYCLASS, the main group pushing for a ban, says the horses can be saved from slaughter and sent to ASPCA-approved adoptive homes, if their owners will agree.)
A couple weeks ago, eccentric comedian and satirist Norm Augustinus decided to wade into the debate, with that eye-catching banner you see above. To answer all of your immediate questions: It's hyperbole, not an actual death threat, but Augustinus does really want the horses to stay. And yes, the NYPD has already been out talk to him.
Augustinus is originally from Detroit, but now lives on Central Park South. Besides his writing and comedy, he's best known for making a cartoon that depicted a drone vaporizing President Obama, Michelle Obama, Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi. (Augustinus claimed that the Secret Service had threatened him, telling him to pull the cartoon or face "dire consequences," although both Slate and Roll Call , who looked into the story, were skeptical that was true.)
In either case, Augustinus has been standing at Columbus Circle for two or three hours a day for the past month. The woman holding up the other end of the banner is his niece, Rosie. Lately they've discontinued use of the "die de Blasio" banner and gone with this one instead:
Photo by Reddit user Streeter5000 Augustinus and his niece at Columbus circle