The Byrne family has worked with horses in New York City for generations.
Our family's new york story begins in 1848.
This was the year our great-grandfather, Patrick Byrne, came from Ireland to New York. He settled in Far Rockaway, a beachside community in Queens popular with Irish immigrants. Patrick started his own business in the 1860s by providing horse and carriage services for local funeral processions, driving grieving customers to church services, burial sites, and boarding houses.
While Patrick's son, our grandfather, did not resume the family business, he certainly didn't stray far—he made his living by delivering pianos all over the city via horse and wagon. (Before automobiles, horses were the main mode of transport for New York City's busy, congested streets.)
Our father, Cornelius David Byrne, continued the family's horseman tradition by apprenticing with a carriage driver on Broadway in Manhattan when he was just a teenager. He supported our family as a carriage driver (in addition to a brief stint as a taxicab driver) all through the 1940s and 1950s. He passed away suddenly in 1964.
We were both young men (18 and 20 years old) when we took over our father's livelihood after his death. Through the 1960s and 1970s, we continued growing the business together by expanding our fleet of horses and carriages. In 1979, we established our current home here at 547 West 37th Street in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen. Back then, the surrounding neighborhood was very industrial and desolate, and not a particularly attractive area for residents and pedestrians.
Our building dates back to 1910, when urban horse stables were common sights throughout New York City. It was designed and built to house working horses, but it was also used by local unions to store theatrical props and stage equipment for a few years, thanks to its proximity to Times Square and the theater district. When we bought the building and set up shop as Central Park Carriages, we were happy to bring things full circle, and stay true to the building's original intentions: 547 West 37th Street was a working stable again.
As the neighborhood around us continues to grow and evolve at a breakneck pace, we will continue carrying on a longstanding local tradition New Yorkers have enjoyed since the 19th century. While we are excited for our city's future development, we are also proud to celebrate its rich history by offering a live, real-time glimpse of New York City's storied past.
Thank you for visiting our site. We hope to see you at Central Park!
— Pat & Neil Byrne