A long-time horse lover, trainer and owner in Pelham Parkway may soon need to find a new stable to support himself and his horse.
Buster Marengo, who has operated out of his stable on 1680 Pelham Parkway since 1996, will be forced to leave the location and bring his only horse with him before February 2015, when builder Mark Stagg plans to begin construction of an apartment complex at the same location.
Marengo’s stable – which he refers to as his “little piece of Heaven”, was originally built in 1962 along with numerous stables in Pelham Parkway. By the 1980s, the property had become a very successful horse academy, known as Cy’s Pelham Parkway Riding by late owner Peter Ciaffa.
After the passing of Ciaffa, Buster Marengo took over as the owner of the stable. Although at one point, the man dubbed the ‘urban cowboy’, owned and cared for more than 50 horses at the site, several bad breaks took their toll on Marengo, the stable and it’s property just after he purchased it in 1996.
According to Marengo, the first of these bad breaks was when local authorities removed the bridle path as a part of Pelham Parkway’s reconstruction projects. This bridle path was essential to the horses and to Buster, as this area would provide the horses with an area to stroll and trot.
Pelham Parkway resident Willie Hooks recalls when the dead end street was an action packed horse academy in full swing.
“I used to walk up Pelham Parkway South towards the stable, and all I remember seeing were people going horseback riding,” said Hooks, who was born and raised in the area.
“Anybody could rent a horse and the horse would take them on the bridle path, which was a really great sight. It’s just sad to see the shape it’s in now compared to how it used to be.”
Marengo also got into trouble when he began falling behind in his real estate taxes, another factor in the land being sold to real estate investor Louis Zazzarino for $451,000 in November 2013.
“All I want to do is live in New York City and be able to take care of horses at the same time,” said Buster, who currently lives with his only horse, Bronco, in the stable.
Marengo, who is also a pianist, said that he plays his electronic keyboard in the barn while his horse massages his shoulders, stating, “We have a special kind of relationship – I care for my horse and he cares for me.”
According to Marengo, it is because of his location and the opportunities it holds that it is such a sought after parcel by developers and politicians, who he believes are planning to build a homeless shelter/rehab center instead of the proposed apartment complex.
“This property used to be filled with stables, bridle paths and open farm land. It’s extremely upsetting to see the same property now and the plans for it’s future compared to how it was before, knowing that all of these important aspects have been taken away from my horse Bronco and I,” he said.