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Not so long ago, transport in New York City still involved a horse. And, of course, that means there were stables everywhere. At the end of the 19th century, Manhattan and Brooklyn alone had 1,000 stables and nearly 200,000 horse backs, with numerous equestrian societies, polar groups, chestnut fighters and even cows.
Today, many of the city's historical stables and coach homes have become homes sold for tens of thousands of dollars, leaving only a few of them. It is enough to get some stables to forecast that the town will soon end its long, historical ties with them. At Manhattan, the fall of the stables is intimately linked to the fall of the coach building work.
The last stables in the community, the Claremont Academy, shut down 10 years ago, leaving behind only a few stables that housed almost all the coaches. However, the prospects for these institutions are becoming more and more uncertain: the surrounding countryside is under pressure from developing countries and a local town hall is still campaigning for a prohibition of coachporses.
"In New York there are four stables for the coach trade," says John Michnej, who has been a coachman in Central Park for 32 years. Currently he possesses two ponies, which he takes up in the Clinton Park Stables in the West 54nd Street. It is the biggest of Manhattan's stables with about 75 of them.
Queens now has only two stables, although both have a rising passenger population. There won't be another horse in New York City in 20 years. GalopNYC provides horse therapy programmes for the disabled and the disabled and works in a recently acquired barn in Forest Hills and a recently refurbished complex in Howard Beach, called Sunrise Stables.
The last large equestrian centre in the town is located on the Jamaica Bay shore in Brooklyn, on a spacious 100 horse campsite. Located in the Gateway National Recreation Area, the Jamaica Bay Training Academy has easy acces to 500 hectares of tracks, among them three mile beach walks, where it offers horseback tours every day.
When Kensington Stables, which is under financial siege, shuts down after its November sale, Jamaica Bay will be the last stables left in Brooklyn and the last place in New York City where the general population can ride horseback every day. It is a family-owned complex run by a horse shed, stables, pads, a saddle store and a cafe.
I' m gonna ride on horseback till I`m dead, so I`ll be here. Though Jamaica Bay is one of the last flowering stables in the town, the changes in time have also affected the game. "We' re used to have a whole bunch more horse-owners," says Danza. "25 years ago, the locals came here and had three or four ponies in the extended group.
" Instead, more and more individuals have started to lease a horse to prevent the cost of life-long possession. In the West Side Livery barn on West 38th Street in Manhattan, many of the neighboring structures were demolished to make room for expansion, and the Hudson Yards mega-project is growing so high.
Directly behind the West Side Stable, the Byrnes Stable on West Street is also about to undergo an overarching transformation. Clinton Park stable on West 52/nd Street is home to about 75 coach ponies, among them Suby, one of John Michnej's two coaches. As other stables began to fade and close, Jamaica Bay developed into a place where it served its communities.
They now offer a range of unrivalled value-added service, from accommodation to horseback rides. After years of demolition, one of the last stables in the Bronx was recently torn down. The stables were seen here in 2014 and date back to 1962, when it was known as Cy's Pelham Parkway Horse and was part of a once flourishing horse scenery along the Pelham Parkway.
The stables once accommodated 50 ponies, but under its new owners, Buster Marengo, it gradually loses both the horse and rider and was sold at auction in 2014. On the Pelham Parkway, the Bronx Equestrian Centre is the last horse stables in the area. It is licensed by the NYC Parks Department but no longer provides horseback riding on the trails of Pelham Bay Park for cost reasons.
Although situated in the garden, the equestrian arena of the centre is bordered by the Metro-Nord railway lines. Apart from this establishment, there is only one other barn in the Bronx: the Riverdale barn in Van Cortlandt Publican. Seguine Manor's rolling meadows are home to one of the last large stables in Staten Island.
Seguine Equestrian Center is situated on the outskirts of historical Lemon Creek with a view of Prince's Bay. In Queens, next to South Conduit Avenue, the re-named and renovated Sunrise Stable is now run by GallopNYC. Formerly known as Cedar Lane Stables, the estate has been home to the Federation of Black Cowboys since 1994.
Following a number of horse fatalities and other issues, the cows were deprived of their licence to run the estate, and GallopNYC entered to begin repair. In December 2016 the new renovated barn received its licence from the Parks Department. When the stables were still known as Cedar Lane, the Federation of Black Bulloys kept some of their own horse in ship boxes, as here in 2009.
Photographer, film maker and trustee, Nathan Kensinger has been photographing the deserted outskirts, threatened neighbourhoods and post-industrial riverside promenade of New York for more than a decad. He has been featured at the Museum of the City of New York, the Queens Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the NYC Parks Department and the Atlantic Ave-Barclays Center Underground-Stations.