Luxurious living for NY horses

City police's mounted unit is set to move its HQ to upscale Mercedes House, where 1,000 people already live, reports MATT A V CHABAN

Published Wed, Apr 16, 2014 · 10:00 PM
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[NEW YORK] THE newest residences at Mercedes House, a ziggurat of luxury rentals on Manhattan's Far West Side, provide tenants with creature comforts found nowhere else in the city. Special flooring soothes legs weary from a long day's work. Ten-foot-high doors offer easy passage between spacious rooms. A high-tech ventilation system eliminates even the worst odours. Most crucially, there's a state-of-the-art hayloft.

"It's definitely high-end accommodations," said Barry Gelbman, deputy inspector and commander of the New York Police Department's mounted unit. "They're some of the nicest stables I've ever seen." This summer, Mr Gelbman will move the unit's headquarters and a dozen of its horses and 20 officers into their new home on the ground floor of Mercedes House, which since 2011 has been home to about 1,000 humans.

After a decade, the mounted unit is leaving behind its stables at Pier 76, now a part of Hudson River Park. While there are a handful of stable-centric subdivisions in places such as Colorado, Montana and Florida, Mercedes House appears to be the only corral in the United States inside an apartment building. Even in crowded Manhattan, it is an unusual arrangement. Officers on horseback may seem quaint, but they play an important crowd-control function in Times Square, during parades and at other major events. But the community has been eager for some time to have the police department vacate Pier 76. As part of the Hudson River Park Act of 1998, the horses, along with a police impound lot, were to relocate so the pier behind the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center could become public open space.

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