BROOKLYN, NEW YORK –
The clip-clop of hooves echoed through pandemic-stricken Brooklyn streets as horses carted valuable supplies and food. It’s not a scene from the 1918 influenza – perhaps the last pandemic during the “horse and buggy” era. No, this is happened on a gorgeous spring Friday in the midst of coronavirus keeping New Yorkers cooped up. “I’m sure it happened in the last pandemic,” said John Quadrozzi, Jr. with a laugh. To keep up to date with coronavirus developments in Prospect Park, sign up for Patch’s news alerts and newsletter. Quadrozzi runs Prospect Park Stables, which put its 21 horses to work pulling carts of food and supplies to Red Hook Houses and other places across Brooklyn. On Friday, the team of horses made six stops over the course of a couple hours,
providing a sight that Red Hook West President Lillie Marshall said brought smiles to residents of all ages.
After starting at GBX Gowanus Bay Terminal just after 10 a.m., the delivery trail included six stops starting with Red Hook Farm at 560 Columbia Street before the journey ended at the Joseph Miccio Community Center in Red Hook East. “It was cool,” Marshall said Friday. “It went very well. It was very well organized and it went well.” The ride is an intended “smile” for Brooklynites, a way to keep up their spirits, Quadrozzi said.
Marshall, who is helping to provide food to those in her neighborhood on a daily basis, said Friday’s ride is helping community members work toward a common good. “It’s tough, but what we’re doing is making sure that they all have something to eat,” Marshall said. “It’s just some thing we do. It’s not that hard on us.”
But there’s another purpose – people aren’t the only ones cooped up during coronavirus. The horses are cooped up too because Prospect Park’s stables fall under same statewide shut down order that closed business es and forced people to stay at home. They’ve been inside for weeks, risking to grow increasingly ornery with every day they’re not ridden, Quadrozzi said. “They need exercise for their health and well-being,” Quadrozzi said. Quadrozzi has spent weeks trying to get the stables classified as an essential business and get the horses out more. Beyond that, he has long hoped for dedicated “turnout” space within Prospect Park for the horses to roam and stretch out – an effort that continues even through the pandemic. But until then he’s just happy they’re getting out and helping out – a win-win for horse and human alike. “It’s just another means of facilitating the deliveries in a happy way,” he said.