Stable-ized! Kensington Stables owners working on deal to sell barn to city

Saved: The owners of Kensington Stables, which was set to go to auction on June 22, instead are working out a deal with the city to purchase the barn, which will continue to operate as a public horseback riding facility once the negotiations complete.
Brooklyn Paper
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They’re riding high!

The Parks Department is hammering out a deal to buy Kensington Stables, which it will continue to operate as a public horseback riding amenity for Brooklyn equestrians, according to a councilman who secured funding for the city to purchase the privately-owned facility.

“I’m thrilled about this next step in the city’s effort to buy Kensington Stables and preserve horseback riding in Prospect Park for many years to come,” said Councilman Brad Lander (D–Kensington). “This would be a great win for our community, and I’m very hopeful we can make it work.”

The Blankenship family — which has run the Caton Place barn between E. Eighth Street and Coney Island Avenue as a horse stable for decades — is selling it to satisfy outstanding debts after manager Walter Blankenship’s father failed to keep up with property tax payments in the years before he died.

The barn was first set to go to auction in February, but a potential unnamed buyer postponed it from hitting the block. Multiple suitors approached the Blankenships after that — including the city — and a judge ordered the sale head to auction again on June 22, effectively setting a finish line for the hotly contested race.

But the Blankenships decided to sell the barn to the city at well below market value instead, to insure it remains in the horse business, according to the family’s real estate agent.

“It’s a good thing for the city, for the community, for Prospect Park — and the creditors,” said Marc Yaverbaum. “The only people who lose out are my clients.”

Judge Elizabeth Stong approved the liquidation plan in Federal Bankruptcy Court on Tuesday, Yaverbaum said, and while the family has not settled on a final price with the Parks Department, he said it stands to lose up to $1 million by selling to the city instead of a private buyer.

The realtor said the deal is not a sure thing yet, but that it seems a safe bet at this stage, despite negotiation points in addition to the purchase price that he refused to discuss.

“At this point I’m pretty confident,” he said.

The city — if and when it takes possession of the stables — will select an operator through a competitive bidding process, which Blankenship said he plans to enter, despite a requirement that the new operator invest in renovating the barn after a 2013 engineering study found it in serious need of repair.

Blankenship could not be reached for comment before deadline.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:57 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

any deal to save the stable is a good one from Brooklyn says:
What ever it takes, the stable should be saved!

Brooklyn won't be the same without it.
June 29, 2017, 10:03 am
Charles from Bklyn says:
I'm sure there are many disappointed developers that hoped to grab this property for luxury housing the borough doesn't need. My respect for the city just went up a notch. Horses are an important part of our history and culture. Further, we should not eat them in light of their work throught the centuries in combat, farm and sport. Can a horse get some respect! Yes.
June 29, 2017, 2:14 pm
Save the Horses from Kensington says:
I'm all for Saving the Horses and Stable as we all are.

Nevertheless, government should not be the owner unless the land becomes designated Park Land and provided the Stable operations get licensed out to a capable operator with a proven track record for horse care (with emphasis on horse care first and foremost).

Government should not own land or operate business for profit. Such is in direct conflict with our free enterprise system. The private sector should not and cannot compete with its own government which has inexhaustible funds taken from the tax payer.

A better option other than designating it as Park Land, would be to rezone it special for a Horse Stable only on the first two floors (one level would be for a riding ring and the other for the stabeling of horses and related supplies) with no FAR, and then move the FAR up to a 3rd and 4th floor for residential overlay that would ensure profitability to the owner. Then sell it at public auction to the highest bidder with a proven track record for horse care.

This would be a win-win as the tax payer would not be footing the bill for reconstruction and free enterprise would be in the hands of the public rather than the government.
June 30, 2017, 8:12 am
Diane Salino from Various says:
Conflicted, Conflicted, Conflicted.
Many sweet memories as a "passenger," mounted on horses rented out for weekend riders. Good for me -- bad for horses.
Even as a child, I knew that Kensington was a derelict, deteriorated stable facility -- loaded with hazardous conditions, lacking sufficient space(s) for equine health and comfort, etc. .

Far worse, the fate of horses subjected to uneducated, unskilled weekend riders -- voted most likely to jerk the reins, hang hard on the bit, use the saddle as a trampoline for lack of balance... and worse, run the horse into lathered sweat without a clue about how to execute maneuvers rooted in training and skilled horsemanship.

And as for the facility -- Where, exactly, are the horses turned out for rider-free exercise, play, relaxation, grazing? Cannot recall any such accommodation for these animals -- hence, they are either stall-bound, bored, sour and stale... or, mounted by a yahoo weekend cowboy wannabe who is more likely to resemble a monkey on a football than a rider with the proper touch.

Nothing here "jives" with all the rhetoric about Brooklyn's "history," "tradition" and "culture." Nothing good can be said for the "history, traditions and culture" that resulted in the mistreatment, servitude, and abuses to which we've subjected these beautiful, patient, gentle, abiding, vulnerable animals.
The message re: saving Kensington reads like something out of 'The Godfather, Part I " -- i.e., "Leave the horses (gun)... Take the Cannoli (profits)."
July 3, 2017, 10:14 am
Rider from Brooklyn says:
Kensington Stables offer trail rides and riding lessons. In trail rides, the horses walk through Prospect Park guided.

You can take riding lessons to learn to trot and eventually canter. Horsemanship is not something you can expect everyone to excel without first being a riding novice.

The horses get turned out in the indoor ring. Yes, they have their own stalls.
July 26, 2017, 11:09 pm
Sam from Windsor Terrace says:
This place needs a major overhaul. Knock down the whole building and get some air ventilation and bigger stalls for those poor horses. Plus how about turnouts. Being “turned out” in an “indoor” isn’t enough. My horses had all day in a field being a horse. That place stinks so bad because they don’t properly bank the stalls or use enough shavings. Please get some real horse experts to renovate this place and take care of those horses the way they should be.
Aug. 22, 2017, 4:06 pm
Sam from Windsor Terrace says:
Diane you couldn’t be more correct. Weekend riders are the ones “caring” for those horses. It kills me to talk by that place everyday with a bunch of kids and not a skilled horse person overseeing it. For the love of god they don’t even pick the horses hooves. Put good emphasis on horse care if you want to be respected. Those horses are not care for the proper way.
Aug. 22, 2017, 4:10 pm

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