Claremont Riding Academy
175 W. 89th Street New York, NY 10024

CLAREMONT IS CLOSING

 

It is with great regret we announce the closing of Claremont’s lesson and park rides, a 115 year old tradition.  Claremont has brought so much pleasure to riders over the years, and meant so much to so many people, it is truly heartbreaking to have to bring it to an end. 

Since the City condemned the property in 1961 as part of the 20-square-block West Side Urban Renewal Area, we have faced an increasingly difficult struggle to keep it going.  We fought to have the property listed on the National Register of Historic Sites to stave off the wrecker’s ball, and then to have it designated an official New York City Landmark.  We lived as month-to-month tenants for 37 years, sadly watching the building crumble around us, until we were finally successful in regaining title to the building in 1998, and only after fending off a baldly cynical attempt to give it to a political supporter of the Mayor at the time.

 

We spent over $2 million in a painstaking historic restoration - a source of great pride to us -- incurring hundreds of thousands of dollars of increased costs in debt service, real estate taxes, and property insurance.  We tried to cover these increased costs by leasing the vacant upper floors that used to house the carriages, and by creating an agency to broker animals for appearances in the media. 

 

 


 

 

But nothing we did was able to overcome the double whammy of the increased costs we had incurred, and the degradation of the Central Park Bridle Paths.  The magnificent Bridle Paths, whose deep cinder surface was once lovingly tended, was allowed to erode down to its bedrock sub-strata, making it impossible to canter or keep horses sound.  Formerly restricted to horses only, the public was now allowed to stroll, jog, push their strollers, walk their dogs, throw Frisbees and so on all over the Bridle Path, making what had once been a beautiful experience more like a fearful running of the gauntlet. 

 

Understandably, ridership declined.

 


So sadly, after going deeper and deeper into debt to sustain these wonderful horses of ours, and to keep this remarkable establishment going with all the pleasure it brought to so many people, we finally had to admit that what we were doing was unsustainable. 
 

 

Our remarkable horses are all going to good homes.  Some are being retired to green pastures after many years of hard work. Some are being sold to their loving riders.  Some are being donated to the equestrian program at Yale University.  And most will move down to Potomac Horse Center, a wonderful 60 acre facility with three indoor arenas (no poles there) that we operate. Hopefully you’ll be able to pay them a visit. 
 


Yes, it has been a struggle, but it has also been immensely satisfying to sustain these magnificent animals and to make the pleasures of riding and the camaraderie of this unique institution available to you.   

Thank you for the opportunity, thank you for your thanks and appreciation, and thank you for all the wonderful memories that we have shared.

Paul Novograd, Owner