NEW YORK — Todd Strier is one of 30 members in New York City’s Parks Mounted Auxiliary.
“It’s the best volunteer job ever. For me to get on a horse in Central Park for free and help people and give back to the city is an amazing opportunity,” Strier said.
The nonprofit organization provides riding partners for mounted parks officers. Together, the foursome patrols our parks and makes friends along the way. They often stop and talk with residents and visitors to the city’s parks in all five boroughs.
“What we do is we supplement our time we give them our resources and our hours and make the park safer by helping them patrol the parks,” Strier said.
New York City residents and visitors can see the auxiliary in action at large events like parades. And when it comes time to clean the stables, they’re there as well.
Edwin Rodriguez, the assistant commissioner of New York City Parks, said the volunteers are important to his department.
“It means a lot to us,” Rodriguez said. “They're very well organized, very generous, always willing to help. They play a big role in our day-to-day operation citywide. So they’re pretty much awesome.”
This year, the auxiliary marks its 25th year of service to the city. To celebrate, it provided a new transport trailer for their equine friends.
“The trailers are out, they get rusted. So our organization donated money and purchased a trailer for the Parks Department so they can use it," Strier said.
Native New Yorker Rachel Fishbein is president of the mounted auxiliary. She said they volunteer their time, and give money for the horses and the city.
“We love horses and we love New York City," Fishbein said. "There’s nothing better than riding around on horseback and having somebody, particularly somebody from another place, come over and go, 'I didn't know that there were horses,' and then, 'Can you tell me where the bathroom is?'”