In the season two episode of “Sex and the City”, “Ex and the City”, Carrie Bradshaw accompanies Charlotte York to a riding stable near Central Park so that Charlotte can attempt to overcome a fear of the saddle that was born in the equestrienne when she was thrown from a beloved horse in childhood. Carrie, ever the chic and stylish New Yorker, wears a pair of strappy $300 shoes to the stable and becomes furious when her feet get absorbed by the mud, hay and manure. She is then scolded by an employee of the stable for lighting up a cigarette near the horses. Charlotte, mid-mount, gives in to her fear and both she and Carrie flee the stable for the relative safety of the city’s streets.
The creators of “Sex and the City” don’t make it clear in the episode, which was first aired on HBO in October of 1999, what the name of the stable is, but considering its proximity to Central Park, it could only have been Claremont Stables, or Claremont Riding Academy. The stables, built in 1892 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was the last riding stable in Manhattan, located at 175 West 89th Street, between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues. Claremont closed its doors at the end of April, 2007.
At the end of “Ex and the City”, Charlotte has overcome her fear and is seen galloping along the bridle path on a horse from the stable named Pal. A jogger checks her out admiringly as she and the horse fly past. It is a very romantic and thoroughly nostalgic New York City scene, the sight of the elegant rider, clad in English riding gear, cantering along Central Park’s glorious reservoir. A sight missing from Central Park for 7 years, that has now returned, thanks to Chateau Stables, a broad range service that provides horses and carriages for weddings, funerals, parties, pony rides and assorted events. And now Central Park Horseback Rides is operated out of the stable as well.
Melissa Varcoe, and her father, Walter, run the service in Central Park, and all the rides are accompanied by Melissa. Riders meet their horses just near Tavern on the Green, at 65th Street, and head North on the bridle path for the hour and a quarter ride. There are also 2 hour rides available, as well as group rates. The 4.2 miles of bridle paths in Central Park wind through the rocks, under bridges, along the reservoir, and provide a unique way to experience Central Park for the tourist and local alike. Reservations are preferred at least one week in advance, to ensure requested date and time slot. There is a discount available for individuals who book 6 rides in advance, and regular riding days are Wednesday, Saturdays and Sundays 8 AM to 4 PM. No prior riding experience is necessary.
Central Park Horseback Rides
212 246 0520