A Carriage Horse Named Pumpkin Did a Panicked Solo Lap Around Central Park Last Night

Image via NYCLASS
The dented cab door.
In yet another incident for animal rights groups and horse-drawn carriage advocates to argue about, a carriage horse named Pumpkin got free of his bridle last night around 5:45 p.m. as he stood at the hack line at 59th Street. The horse, still pulling his carriage, ran into Central Park, leaving his driver behind.

The horse proceeded to run through his usual route along the park's paths. At one point, according to NBC, a bicyclist jumped into the driver's seat to try to stop him. Instead, Pumpkin sped up, eventually re-emerging onto 59th Street and then crashing his carriage into a cab door on Central Park South. A group of carriage drivers corralled the horse and took him back to his stables, where carriage driver and industry spokesperson Christina Hansen says he was examined and found to be unharmed. No one else was injured, except for the door of that cab.

Several people witnessed the incident, including, weirdly, Mets outfielder Matt den Dekker, who tweeted this:

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Here's the Liam Neeson-Narrated Short Film About Carriage Horses

Image via.
A still from the movie's opening credits.
In case you're keeping score or even still paying attention, there has been exactly no progress on New York City's carriage horse debate. Mayor Bill de Blasio has reasserted his commitment to banning the industry, but says the matter won't come to a City Council vote until sometime later this year. That leaves plenty of time for both sides to churn out screeds denouncing one another: the Daily News runs a new pro-carriage horse piece every couple days, while NYCLASS, the lead animal rights group behind the proposed ban, continues to try to generate excitement for their horseless e-carriage.

The latest skirmish happened last night, when the carriage horse industry debuted a short film called "Save the NYC Carriage Horses" at the Kraine Theater in the Bowery. The movie is narrated by Liam Neeson. Try to guess what the thesis is.

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Celebrity-Stuffed PETA Video Denounces Carriage Horse Industry, Urges de Blasio To Ban It Already

Screenshot via PETA
The battle over carriage horses in the city is dragging on and on, with no end in sight, and, as yet, no bill introduced in the City Council that would actually ban the industry and replace it with the classic cars favored by animal rights group NYCLASS. While Bill de Blasio famously promised "an immediate ban" on carriage horses during his campaign, the mayoral reality hasn't been quite so neat; a recent Newsday story found that 19 city council members are undecided on the merits of a ban, versus 15 who support it and eight who oppose it.

Neither side definitely has the 26-vote majority they'd need for victory, and in the meantime, everyone is ramping up their publicity. First there was Liam Neeson's big visit to the Clinton Park stables, where he called carriage driving "a beautiful industry." And yesterday, PETA released a new video wherein millions of celebrities denounce the carriage horse industry as cruel and inhumane. If you were waiting to hear what Dave Navarro's eyebrows think about horses before you made up your mind, wait no more.

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Gus, The Central Park Polar Bear, Died of a "Broken Heart"

Categories: Central Park, Zoos

Marie-Lan Nguyen
RIP, sleepy bub.
Gus, the lumbering white bear on display at the Central Park Zoo, has died at the age of 27. The lovable oaf had an inoperable tumor in his throat, prompting zoo officials to euthanize him. Gus's mate Ida was euthanized in 2011 after battling her own cancer. The old boy has kept a much lower profile ever since. At least now they're reunited in Arctic Circle Heaven, along with the Arctic Circle itself.

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Raccoons Invade Central Park!

Central Park's Public Enemy No. 1
As opposed to pigeons, mice and bees, raccoons are not that commonplace in New York. Then again, this city is full of surprises...

According to the Post, the furry critters have been popping all over Central Park, specifically in the Rudin Playground - that small family-oriented area near Central Park West and 96th Street. Because if raccoons were to show up in the city's largest park, why wouldn't they be near small children?

Reports started flooding in to the City a few months back, when raccoons were first spotted in broad daylight on heaps of garbage, eating away at what was left over from the day. Due to this reason, worrisome parents have been calling 311, demanding that Bloomberg's offices do something about these possibly rabid creatures. But the agencies involved cannot help unless the raccoons are already rabid.

That makes sense.

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Occupiers Enjoy a Day in Central Park

Today's beautiful weather has brought the Occupy movement to the city's green epicenter in what has been deemed as the 'Spring Awakening' for the movement of the 99%. The day of activism, trending as #A14 on Twitter and boasting a Woodstock-esque poster, invites everyone to help "kick off exciting spring and summer events" in what the protestors hope will be a new beginning as temperatures rise.

Along with the new Union Square encampment and the planned 'May Day' on May 1st, the event  represents the grassroots movement's recent push to revive itself after the Zuccotti Park break-up last November.

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Central Park May Have Lost 1000 Trees Due to Freak Snowstorm

LOTR tree.jpg
No one was prepared for this weekend's weird freak snowstorm, least of all Central Park's trees. According to reports, the park may have lost 1,000 trees over the weekend. By way of contrast, Hurricane Irene only felled 125 trees.

How could this be? Aren't New York trees tougher than that?

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Michael Sailstorfer's Tornado Coming to Central Park Through February

Tornado Small.jpg
Steven Thrasher
Sailstorfer's 30 foot sculpture being installed
Joining that newly installed elephant in Union Square in the city's gallery of public art, there's a similarly scaled sculpture we noticed being erected in the south part of Central Park over the weekend, just across the street from the Plaza Hotel. Tornado "is a new commission by Michael Sailstorfer that will rise to more than 30 feet in height," according to a construction sign from the Public Art Fund (the folks who recently brought us Sol Lewitt in City Hall Park and The Andy Monument in Union Square). "Made of industrial truck tire inner tubes attached to a steel amarture, the work is inspired by the high velocity winds and raw power associated with these weather phenomena."

Larger picture after the jump.

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At Least Two Animals Benefited From Hurricane Irene

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Not newborn Irene Hope, but close enough.
This week, a lost cat was adopted and a baby lamb was born, and we can all thank Hurricane Irene. Yeah, that Hurricane Irene, the one that is one of the top ten costliest storms in U.S. history, shut down the biggest transit system in the country for a weekend, and caused widespread devastation
and the Catskills. Forget all that noise! Focus on the kitty and the wee baby lamb, both of whom are happy and healthy.

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Peacock Flies Back to Central Park Zoo; 6-Year-Old Girl Intrudes on White House Lawn; Sexting Scandal in New Jersey

Thumbnail image for rsz_centralparkpeacock.jpg
C.C. Kellogg
• The peacock that escaped the Central Park Zoo to great human acclaim and consternation yesterday simply to sit on a window ledge near East 65th Street has flown back to his coop. "Our staff monitored the bird through the night, and at 6:45 a.m., he flew back on his own," the zoo's director, Jeff Sailer, said in a statement. "A thorough understanding of the peacock's natural behavior allowed for the successful planning of its recovery." Until next time! [NYT]

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