Hold your horses!
In the final weeks of his mayoralty, Bill de Blasio is reportedly plotting an 11th-hour push to ban horse-drawn carriages from Central Park — but the renewed effort at an early administration cause has hit a major bureaucratic snag.
The key agency tasked with developing the proposal — the Economic Development Corporation — has yet to strike a deal with an engineering firm study and review the latest horse Hail Mary from Hizzoner.
The latest attempt to ban carriages was detailed in City Hall emails obtained by The New York Times, which state that EDC has been instructed to use an engineering firm it keeps on retainer, Langan Engineering, to review using “show cars” in places of carriages.
“EDC has not engaged Langan to evaluate the replacement of the carriages in Central Park,” the agency said in a statement.
“We have not done that,” an EDC official confirmed, when pressed by The Post if Langan’s had been directed in any other way to work on the project.
The official said it would be required to issue Langan’s a new contract for the project under the terms of its standing agreements with EDC, which cover land use — “planning, environmental and traffic services” — and hazardous material matters.
The official said that because the carriage study could fit the land use criteria, EDC’s Board of Directors would not be required to sign off on a new agreement.
Such a requirement would have likely nixed Hizzoner’s dream because the board does not meet again until February.
But the official emphasized that no contract had been finalized and no work had yet been done.
The EDC official also confirmed that no other firm has been retained or directed to do work on the project so far.
There are just six weeks left in de Blasio’s tenure.
“There are many different ways to go about this – we’re looking at every possible approach,” said City Hall press Secretary Danielle Filson in a statement late Friday.
The developments came just hours after de Blasio’s top spokeswoman confirmed to the broadsheet that it would seek to ban the carriages and replace them with “show cars,” via legislation passed by the City Council.
According to the emails, de Blasio’s aides were hoping to have the legislation ready by Dec. 16, which is the last Council meeting of the year.
The idea of replacing carriages with motorized ‘show cars’ has been floated before, including by the 2021 Republican mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa, who is a staunch de Blasio critic.
Hizzoner’s last second maneuvering comes nearly a decade after a controversial political committee funded by animal rights activists, New Yorkers for Clean, Livable, and Safe Streets (NYCLASS), helped bankroll political attacks aimed at one of de Blasio’s top rivals in the 2013 mayoral race, then-Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan).
De Blasio had pledged to ban the horse carriages, while Quinn refused.
However, Hizzoner failed to follow through after fierce push back from the carriage owners and drivers and, instead, opted to confine their operations to Central Park proper.