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Intro | Giving Back | Horse Care | What Vets Say | Union Support

Tuesday, March 29, 2022 The Transport Workers Union – and the Central Park carriage horses – played prominent roles at three St. Patrick’s Day parades held in March: two in Queens and one on the Bronx-Westchester border.

TWU International President John Samuelsen served as Grand Marshal of the Queens County St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the Rockaways on Saturday, March 6, marching at the very front of the long line of revelers and dignitaries. Not far behind Samuelsen came Carriage Driver Neil Byrne and his Standardbred, George, pulling a carriage with flag-waving union members and supporters. The next day, Carriage Driver Christina Hansen and King - part Standardbred, part Welshman Cob mix – participated in the St. Pat’s For All parade in Sunnyside, Queens. And on March 19, King and Hansen transported the Grand Marshal of the Yonkers St. Patrick’s Day parade through the Woodlawn neighborhood on the Bronx-Westchester border.



Nearly 20 Bronx eighth graders were treated at the first TWU Local 100 “Meet A Horse Day” in Central Park in May 2021. The teens were able to pet and feed carrots to the beloved horses, learn about the animals from a carriage driver, and take free rides through the park, courtesy of the union.

“Horse carriage rides through Central Park date back to the opening of the park in 1858, and they are enjoyed by tourists from around the world,” TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano said. “We want to share that experience with city kids who might not otherwise get the opportunity.”

For more than a half hour, Carriage Driver Christina Hansen gave a “Horses 101” lesson to the students from William Niles School MS 118 in the Tremont section of the Bronx. Her lesson touched on everything from their history with humans (they were domesticated to live and work alongside people 6,000 years ago) to their physical attributes (they weigh more than 1,000 pounds) to their life in the city (they are stabled on the West Side, have the same veterinarian as the NYPD Mounted Police, and get a minimum 5 weeks of vacation on a farm).

The kids then broke up into groups and toured Central Park in the horse-drawn carriages. “It was amazing,” Tanveer Ahmed, 12, said. “The horse going a good speed, the wind hitting your face, the fresh air.” Jade Mitre, 13, called the outing an “extraordinary, once-ina-lifetime experience.”

Lianne Annan, 13, said the horses were “friendly and welcoming… and cute!”
There are 68 licensed CP horse-carriages and a couple hundred drivers. Most are immigrants, or children of immigrants, hailing from countries all over the world, including Ireland, Italy, Israel, Turkey, Mexico, Russia, Egypt and El Salvador. They are members of TWU Local 100, which has more than 40,000 members, the majority of whom operate and maintain the MTA’s bus and subway system.


Nearly two dozen children, parents, and staff from a Brooklyn shelter were treated to free horse-carriage rides in Central Park, courtesy of TWU Local 100 and the drivers.

The children also were able to feed carrots to the horses, pet the magnificent animals, and learn a little about the historic horse-carriage industry from the men and women who provide tours through the park for a living.

“It was excellent experience,” SCO Family Services Childcare Director Denise Watkins said of the March 22nd outing. “The children enjoyed it thoroughly. This was a real treat for them and an experience they will never forget.”

Carriage drivers have been providing tours of the park for more than 160 years. Many of the trips are provided to tourists visiting from other cities or countries, or to New Yorkers celebrating special occasions like weddings and anniversaries.


Carriage driver Christina Hansen said the drivers were happy to have the kids from Brooklyn on board.

“Kids love horses and as New Yorkers they should get to experience NYC’s most famous horses up close and personal,” Hansen said. “Access to horses shouldn’t be limited only to those with disposable income, or the ability and time to travel. Our horses are part of the community, whether or not one has the means to pay for their labor.”

The Central Park carriage drivers have been under siege from City Hall and animal rights extremist throughout the de Blasio administration. They joined Local 100 last year to better defend their livelihood.

TWU Local 100 has an ongoing relationship with the Bushwick shelter. TA Surface officers and members at the Grand Ave. Depot raise funds to purchase backpacks, notebooks, and other school supplies for shelter kids in an annual charity event organized by Depot Chairman Clarence Paterson and TA Surface Vice President JP Patafio. Paterson and Patafio helped organize the free carriage rides along with Organizing Director Frank McCann.

“It was a great day,” Patafio said. “This is part of us building that relationship between the union, the public and the community, and making sure it’s tight. At the end of the day, we’re family.”

For more information on our campaign to support this industry contact Frank McCann:  or call him at 917-488-8314.