The Last Horsemen of New York is a documentary feature that follows leaders of New York’s historic horse carriage industry as they fight Mayor Bill De Blasio, who had vowed to eliminate them on day one of his term. Director Mary Haverstick’s cameras captured the struggle for two years, with the working-class carriage drivers (and their working-class equine charges) under assault from animal rights activists on one side and politicos funded by billionaire real estate developers with an eye on the horsemen’s West Side stables on the other.
Christina Hansen and Stephen Malone, the two industry spokespeople, are thrust by necessity into the limelight and find themselves in a bare-knuckle brawl in a city known for political hardball. The ongoing saga frequently captures the headlines of every New York newspaper and has even launched investigations into the mayoral election and financing surrounding this issue—with revelations continuing to this month. Di Blasio himself has retreated from the issue, claiming the City Council won’t back a horse ban. With a political stay of execution and joined by Liam Neeson, the carriage drivers and their horses remain on the street, but in a changing world, the question remains: For how long? The film’s exploration of money and influence in elections is even more timely now than when filming began.
Featuring extensive interviews with Oscar-nominated actor Liam Neeson, The Last Horsemen of New York was written and directed by Mary Haverstick, and produced by Mary Haverstick, Michele Mercure, and Sarah Chase.