It was just before dusk in Central Park on Wednesday night when a woman supporting the horse carriage industry began filming animal rights protestors with her video camera.
“You’re vile. You’re vile. She’s vile. She’s vile,” the redheaded woman yelled at specific protestors while she filmed them. “Oh, and it’s a PETA hostess!”
The barbs continued between the animal rights’ activists and those who came in support of the city’s horse-drawn carriages. The exchange was just another chapter in the growing tension surrounding the horse-drawn carriage industry.
NYCLASS, which has been championing mayor Bill de Blasio to ban the NYC tradition, had organized the protest after it learned that Argentinian fashion designer Vincent de Souza decided the way he’d like to kick off fashion week is by having models ride in the carriages.
Randie Blumhagen was there to support her friends who are in the industry.
“The horses are so well cared for,” she said, “they get five weeks of vacation a year at farms. And these people are trying to steal [her friends'] jobs. I don’t know if [the protestors] work, if they have jobs. But we knew this was going to happen and we needed all hands on deck.”
Wearing a red dress, shiny pink and purple eye shadow and holding a cigarette in her hand, Blumhagen got into it with animal rights activists. After minutes of nasty exchange, one of them asked her if that was a cigarette in her hand.
“Is that your business?”
Jeanne Gari was one of the activists, carrying a sign that read “Make a compassion statement not a fashion statement.” She was one of the women arguing with Blumhagen.
“The horse-drawn carriages don’t belong in the streets of New York City,” she said.
About three cop cars pulled up and 15 minutes later, the models began arriving. They carried stickers in their hands in support of the horse carriages while protesters yelled at them. At one point a woman managing the models walked a gaggle of them to a black SUV. She said she was giving them cover until more carriages arrived.
A man who called himself a musician and claimed to have once played with Dave Grohl (which was supposed to be a good thing?), was yelling at the models. One of them rolled down the black tinted window, took a photo of the man with her iPhone.
“We’re just models, dude.”
(Photos: Amy K. Nelson/ANIMAL New York)