Tidings of Comfort and Joy

The Queens publishing family wishes our readers a holiday season filled with joy and hope.

We can think of no greater tidings than the news that thousands of American soldiers are on their way home from Iraq. For the soldiers and families that have waited for their safe return, this will be a special holiday.

Welcome home.

Avella: Pull on the reins

There are few things in life more romantic and unforgettable than a ride in a horse-drawn carriage through Central Park at Christmas.

It irks us to think that there some in this city who are bent on bringing the horse and carriage industry to an end. The leader is state Sen. Tony Avella. Since he was a city councilman, Avella has been a fighter for the people he represents. Unfortunately, this time around he may be on the wrong side of the riding ring.

When he was a councilman, Avella sponsored a bill calling for a ban on the carriage industry in New York City. The City Council was not interested. In May, he introduced a similar bill in the Senate, and state Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal introduced a companion bill in the Assembly.

Avella claims that “this issue is clearly coming to a head just because of a number of accidents reported lately.”

We are supporters of the horse-drawn carriages, but even if we were not, we would not be pleased at the thought of a senator in Poughkeepsie or Buffalo telling New York City what should be allowed in Central Park.

Eva Hughes, vice president of the Horse and Carriage Association of New York, lives in Avella’s district and disagrees with the senator.

“Sen. Avella has been made aware of our stellar safety record,” she said, “The fact is, statistically, our industry is the safest equine pursuit. With only three deaths in 30 years, it’s not a good record. It’s an extraordinary record.”

Avella must understand that if it gets passed, his bill will put people out of work.

That is not the kind of help the city needs from Albany.

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