I’ve often wondered why I like so many am so ready to believe what I am told by those claiming authority. Early parenting shapes our lives. Both my parents were dictators of the word although they mostly did not agree. It was a believe what I tell you and do what I say. That fearful, submissive and hopeful approach remains. Every child wants to see their parents as motivated by love and truth rather than self-serving.
This early training is played upon by people who want to sell something. It is constantly used by politicians who want our vote. Take the issue of up-zoning New York City to handle the exploding population and even more important exploding real estate money. They say that de Blasio, New York’s mayor got elected thanks to a perfect storm in which his opponents were blown away by the discover of their malfeasance. de Blasio stepped in to save us, the man with presumably clean hands. Did anyone look at his personal history pertaining to public housing rather than just take his word? No.
He said he was for retaining and improving the housing of poor people, of sustaining what we treasured most, our neighborhood. City dwellers who have been there for generations know the culture of their block where everyone knows everyone and there is collective taking care.
De Blasio appeared with his black wife and bi-racial son with his Afro. Surely he was for racial mixing. People believed his posture and words which got him elected. Until…. the cat got out of the bag. I remember my shocking disbelief when he spoke of ending the carriage trade circling within Central Park. He said that the horses were being submitted to great danger going from their stables on or near the West Side Highway to 59th street. He said the horses were overworked and miserable. He got people to rave about those poor creatures; even PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) got into the mix.
I read these comments and as an animal lover who related to these horses from when my office was across the street and up the block, I KNEW THAT IT WAS WRONG. I have loved those horses, stroked their noses, admired their fancy bridles and carriages, the drivers in their fancy ancient livery. It was a parade of excellence.
But what informed me was hearing an Irish man represent the drivers. He said that Irish know horses and many of the drivers come from his native land. He said that the horses wear eye blinders so as to not be upset by the passing cars and know quite well the path from stable to park and back. He said that the horses who are well-fed and groomed every day by their drivers; said that they are examined by a veterinarian I think it was once a month, do not go out when the temperature is too high or too low and gave certain numbers. He said that the horses get a month’s vacation every year frolicking in green meadows. He didn’t say but everyone can see that the horses are petted by guests who often give them carrots; that it is a parade of horses pulling carriages through the park. He said it was a self-serving scandal that underlay the Mayor’s quest.
As those who love this ancient symbol of New York which serves thousands of visitors, there began to be arguing between those who favored horse removal and those who favored staying. Those who wanted to keep the horses safe by removing, did not know how many would be adopted and how many put-down which means murdered once removed from the oh so dangerous carriage trade. The mayor who wanted to restore his now sullied reputation spoke of building stables in the park. That promise is yet to manifest the first thread or should we say splinter of realization.
But why did de Blasio get pulled into this desecration of a New York celebrated and living landmark? I recognized that he is doing it everywhere. He created two panels to help him decide where to up-zone the city, that is to make high-rise buildings to replace older smaller buildings and private homes. My own building surrounded by open space and parkland was suddenly threatened by the realtor who offered tenants millions to sell their back yard. I learned that the two advisory panels de Blasio had selected to advise him were 100 per cent realtors. They turned down China Town’s 7-year plan. Get those poor people out. They turned down objections to building a super expensive tower which would block our view of the bridges.
The whole thing about getting rid of the horses for the horse’s sake had to do with where they live. Their stables are very near or next to the Hudson River. River apartments, river views get top dollar in a market which now declares real estate our most important thing to own.
Did de Blasio become a supporter of the wealthy realtor group after his election? No. He was part of that from the start. He always voted realtors desire for up-zoning. He misrepresented his position. We fell for his speech. We need to examine a person’s behavior prior to making up our minds, rather than fall for their speech.
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