Dear Racehorses: Please PLEASE Visit New York City and Our Fine International Airports 


Remember the lavish, modern pet palace for animal travelers that opened at New York’s Kennedy Airport in early 2017? Well, apparently it’s damn near empty. International racehorses, pampered pooches, exotic breeds of cats—surely there is some way we can convince you to visit our fair city? I mean, it’s not like you’re gonna have to get on the subway. Please?

As recently as August, the New York Times was visiting the state-of-the-art Ark, painting a whimsical picture: “One recent sunny morning, two house cats bound for London and a Chihuahua headed to Paris waited in their pens in the Ark’s cavernous Pet Oasis, down the aisle from a pair of military explosives-sniffing dogs being redeployed to the Middle East after a stateside R & R trip.” But now the Times says that “The animals are not coming to the Ark at Kennedy International Airport. Not one by one. Not two by two.” Come on—what if we got you into a matinee of Hamilton?

Indeed, owner John J. Cuticelli, Jr. has filed suit in state court against the Port Authority, which owns the airport. According to Crain’s New York Business:

The Ark contends it was granted the exclusive right to provide shelter and veterinary services to all pets, livestock and birds passing through JFK in return for investing $65 million to transform a vacant cargo building into a state-of-the-art, 178,000-square-foot animal hotel.
However, the suit says, the Port Authority has steered most animal traffic to another facility it owns two hours north, in Newburgh, that is leased to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
A Port Authority spokesman did not reply to a request for comment.

The longer story in the New York Times makes the whole thing sound like a nightmare snarl of competing parties and logistical headaches, much like everything else to do with the city’s airports and indeed the Port Authority generally. All together now, locals: “New York, Neewwwww Yooooooooooooork!”

Look, we get it—JFK’s handling of the recent winter storm was not impressive and frankly it’s not my favorite place to spend a Saturday afternoon, either. But it’s not like you racehorses are having to trot through the human terminals at LaGuardia, where at least once I’ve seen a giant plastic tarp collecting moisture from the ceiling, directing it via tube into a bucket. I’m sure we could find an artisanal gourmet hay vendor somewhere in Brooklyn.

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