Neigh it ain’t so! Sale of Kensington Stables to city collapses due to excessive animal-care expenses

Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

This deal fell off the horse.

The bankrupt owners of Kensington Stables will not sell the barn to the city, instead choosing to seek a more profitable deal at auction that could potentially spell the end of horseback riding in Prospect Park, according to their lawyer, who claimed the owners need to pay their creditors.

“My client has an obligation to pay her creditors, so she understands that selling the property at the best price at this point is in her best interest,” said Marc Yaverbaum.

The stables on Caton Place between E. Eighth Street and Coney Island Avenue are owned by the Blankenship family, with son Walker Blankenship managing their operations under his mother, who actually owns them.

The family planned to relieve debts accrued by Blankenship’s now-deceased father by selling the property to the city’s parks department, which would ensure it remained open to the community as a public riding facility. The long-time owners hoped to continue managing the barn by entering a bidding process that they assumed would take about a year, during which they were prepared to pay for the horses’ care — including $250,000 for food alone — according to the attorney.

But the deal crumbled after the family realized it could take as many as three years for a manager to be selected, which would require them to pay upwards of $1 million on horse care while the city determined the winning bid. Those expenses would be in addition to barn renovations required by whomever got the management contract, and the total sum became too costly for the cash-strapped family, Yaverbaum said.

“Financially it wasn’t going to work,” Yaverbaum said. “The debtor was not ready to spend in excess of $1 million to maintain the horses for three years, and then go into the facility and fix up the stables.”

The Blankenships now plan to bring the facility to auction in bankruptcy court on Nov. 8, although they remain in negotiations with other buyers, the lawyer said.

The parks department’s offer, meanwhile, is still on the table, according to a spokeswoman.

“Parks is disappointed in the outcome of this deal, given that we had a clear understanding with the owner to bring the stables under city ownership,” said Maeri Ferguson. “We want them to remain a useful public amenity and will continue to work toward that goal.”

Kensington Stables’ owners have trotted it toward the auction block before as part of the ongoing bankruptcy sale.

A February auction was called off at the last minute when a dark-horse buyer swooped in with an offer to buy the facility and develop it into a mixed-use residential building that preserved the stables.

The parks department then made its offer in April, but negotiations dragged on and a judge ruled in May the barn would return to the block if a deal was not reached before the end of June.

That auction was called off following news that the Blankenships and the city were getting close to the deal that was abandoned this week.

Blankenship did not return a request for comment by press time.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:55 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

ty from pps says:
they could turn this into a bicycle garage.
Sept. 1, 2017, 8:14 am
GFYS from The bottom of my heart says:
make it a glue factory now!
Sept. 1, 2017, 10:04 am
Florence Weintraub from Windsor Terrace says:
Just being able to SEE horses in Prospect Park is a major privilege. Major loss for Brooklyn if the stables close.
Sept. 1, 2017, 11:51 am
Dock Oscar from Kensington says:
Starbucks!!!! And a sushi joint. Artisanal marmalade. A cat hotel! Overpriced condos. The list is endless. Then it will be like the rest of NYC.
Sept. 1, 2017, 12:48 pm
SCR from Realityville says:
This is really no loss. Who the hell,other than tourists,or a rare,completely clueless NYC new-comer;have any desire -for a Horse and Carriage-ride,through the choatic streets of NYC? True NY'ers,never rates distances in highway-miles,shun dining in national restaurant-chains(especially anywhere near,Time's-Square)-and we DO NOT board Horse-Drawn carraiages.
Sept. 1, 2017, 1:05 pm
Stanley from Carroll Gardens says:
SCR, you seem unaware that the horses rented by Kensington Stables are for riding. They do not pull carriages. You don't seem familiar at all with Prospect Park where you can see people on horseback. To see horse drawn carriages, you have to go to Manhattan, midtown and Central Park.
Sept. 1, 2017, 1:13 pm
Steven Rosner from Realityville says:
I am really sorry to be misinformed. Actually,I very vaguely remember this,from the time my aunt and uncle lived near,the Parkside Avenue/Subway Station. They moved down to Sheepshead Bay,in 1966. I had no idea,it still existed,as it did then. I never rode the Prospect Park horses,but,my cousin-probably did.
Sept. 1, 2017, 1:36 pm
Old time Brooklyn from Slope says:
Not uncommon at all to see horseback riding in pp and along the bridle path on ocean parkway. Once saw someone riding on newkirk ave
Was always a great source for fertilizer

Oh and there is nothing wrong at all with a carriage ride and I know more than a few native ny'rs who have
Sept. 1, 2017, 1:54 pm
Charles from Bklyn says:
The deal fell through because the city is making way for this property to be sold to luxury condo developers. Only a stupid person would believe otherwise.
Sept. 1, 2017, 10:26 pm
samir kabir from downtown says:
I guess Charles from Bklyn is speaking from experience.
Sept. 3, 2017, 6:37 am
bklyn20 from Brooklyn says:
Many, many kids have learned to ride at Kensington Stables. Many little kids have their first ride their on one of the ponies. Therapeutic riding is there, too, with disabled children who cannot move their bodies experience, and then at the stable can feel movement while riding.

My daughter's first paying job was
helping little kids know how to hold on to the pommel and stick with it. I actually grew very attached to an elderly horse there, and groomed him during my daughter's lessons in beautiful Prospect Park.

If Kensington closes, its children will have to go to very expensive facilities much farther away, move to the suburbs, or just ride a merry-go-round in Prospect Park.

Why is this invaluable resource for people of all ages on the block? Many beloved horses will go to ... where? Teachers who work there, and the staff as well? You can build an ugly condo anywhere. We can't replace Kensington Stables.
Sept. 3, 2017, 10:16 pm
Mustafa Khant from Atlantic ave says:
Many beloved horses will go to the Alpo factory
Sept. 3, 2017, 11:16 pm
Martha from Brooklyn says:
This is just an obvious deal between Mayor Dumb Blasio and those who want the property, and are willing to BRIBE him for it. The Mayor's office is operating purely on the basis of personal financial gain, at the expense of the city. He uses his power to extract money into his own pockets!
Sept. 4, 2017, 5:21 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
And yet Martha, the fools will re elect him because Democrat! you know.
Sept. 4, 2017, 10:56 am
Matt from Greenpoint says:
I heard its going to be a homeless shelter.
Sept. 5, 2017, 11:47 am
GFYS from The bottom of my heart says:
i like to sneak in there at night and have the horses penetrate me deeply.
Sept. 6, 2017, 9:12 am
Peggy says:
North Carolina- just looking for a place my 12 year old granddaughter could ride when we are visiting NYC in a few days. Birthday in May , thought it would be a surprise. Thank you
May 6, 11:37 pm

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

MetroPlus Roosevelt Savings Bank Coney Island Hospital Brookdale VillageCareMax

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: