Some eight or nine years ago I used to help in the community garden on the Upper West Side and we were spoiled to have fresh horse manure from next door neighbour to boost our compost for the garden.
That's right, a "high-rise" horse stable was right next door on 89th street, the Claremont Riding Academy. You - and the horses - entered directly from the street on a ramp which led directly to the manège, where all the riding lessons took place. A ramp up on one side of the manège led to the stables where the horses were. Outside the building, the food and manure was hoisted up and down in large buckets on chains. I loved that place, as it reminded me of my childhood in the countryside, but also because I had never imagined such a small cosy local stable in the middle of New York Metropolitan.
At the same time, it also reminded me of one of my favorite films: "Hair". As teenager, I always wondered from where the horse-back riding women came in Central Park. This stable is my answer.
But, as often with all things good, they come to an end; the stable closed in 2007. And how I find that this particular place is a great shame to loose.
Brussels in Belgium has learnt from their disaster of demolishing beautiful Art Nouveau and Art Deco buildings in the sixties and seventies. New York should learn the same and protect such iconic buildings built for special purposes, just like this stable which was such a great surprise to stumble upon in the streets of New York, and in fact the very last existing one of its kind in Manhattan.
Unfortunately, this stable was not to be saved, but I hope other buildings will.
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