Tourists Shy Away from Buggy Rides in the Cold

Horse-drawn carriage driver Dimitri Krastv, 30, and his horse Billy are bundled up against the cold. (Caroline Anderson/NY City Lens)

Horse-drawn carriage driver Dimitri Krastv, 30, and his horse Billy are bundled up against the cold. (Caroline Anderson/NY City Lens)

Below the golden statue of William Sherman and his horse in the circle at Central Park South and Fifth Avenue, another man-horse duo cut an equally dashing picture Wednesday afternoon:  Dimitri Krastv, 30, dressed in red, matched the seats of his white carriage and the bridle on his horse, Billy.

 

Krastv offered rides to pedestrians passing by. There weren’t any takers. Hardly surprising. It was 22 degrees out.

 

“We didn’t work yesterday because it was too cold,” said Krastv, dressed in a puffy red jumpsuit and a top hat. “If it’s colder than 18 degrees, we’re not allowed to work. And I don’t want to,” he added, the red feather in his hat matching the one atop his horse’s head.

 

But he said the weather doesn’t seem to bother Billy.

 

“Horses like it better in the cold than in the heat,” he said. “They’re big animals. In the heat, they have to drink more water. They get nauseous from exercise. The cold is better. But right now it’s not good for nobody.”

 

Because of the extreme cold, business has been slow for the carriage drivers. Krastv, who is from Bulgaria, said his business has been reduced to a third of what it usually is. In better weather, he usually gives two to three rides per day.

 

A little later, a carriage returned to the circle as the driver shouted, “Thirty dollars! Thirty dollars!” with a grin and his fist in the air. The half dozen drivers parked below cheered and laughed.

 

But some drivers are taking it in stride, even though they’re not pulling in what they usually do. Tommy Quinn, 45, and Colm Glennon, 45, both from Ireland, said they had worked only about 14 days in January, mostly because of the weather.

 

“There were a couple days I could have worked—but I was too lazy,” said Quinn, with a twinkle in his eye.

 

“Yeah, it was 18 degrees out here and 80 degrees under my covers this morning,” added Glennon, picking white horse hairs off his black jacket.

 

Glennon, who has been driving his carriage for 22 years, said that January and February were usually off-season months.  So what they were experiencing was really nothing new.

 

“We only come out here so we’re not spending money,” said Quinn, who lives in New Jersey. “Plus, we want the horses to exercise.”

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