One of my longest-lived life goals is to learn how to ride a horse. With every year, I become more convinced this will probably never happen. Still, my heart leaps up a bit whenever I see someone who's good in the saddle.
Living in New York, I only have two opportunities to view such beings. One group is the mounted police, the sight of one of whom is enough to restore my respect for the uniform. The others are found in Central Park, elegant equestrians riding steeds from the Claremont Riding Academy. My parents used to thrill when they spied riders and horses resting through the glass walls of Tavern on the Green's Crystal Room. I did, too.
Well, the thrill is gone. Claremont, Manhattan's last public riding stable, closed for good yesterday. The owner, Paul Novograd, who has said he's gone into debut supporting the place, finally gave up the fight. He will not tell folks what will be done with the landmark property, but, according to the New York Sun, "it has been widely rumored that he is selling it to a real estate developer who will build condominiums atop the four-story building." Swell.
As for the homeless riders, seems they'll have to go and canter in The Bronx or Brooklyn (gasp!), where there are yet public stables.
What of the horse? Well, the owner said "some would be sold, while others would go to his home Upstate, to his other riding academy in Gaithersburg, Md., and to a riding program at Yale University, his daughter's alma mater." Hm. Home Upstate? Other riding academy? Yale? Dude seems to have some money.