I recently blogged about the beautiful new Brooklyn Bridge Park, in Brooklyn, New York, which you can read at this link. A brand new edition to the park that opened last week on September 16, 2011, is a wonderful vintage carousel, called Jane's Carousel. If you look closely at the photo above, nestled on the end of a peninsular portion of the park, in front of the Brooklyn Bridge from this perspective, is the acrylic building that houses the carousel. Let's walk closer....
Now you can see how the carousel is situated in the park between the Brooklyn Bridge to the left....
....and the Manhattan Bridge to the right.
The charming Jane's Carousel is housed in a spectacular Pavilion designed by Pritzker Prize winning French architect Jean Nouvel. According to the website: "Jane's Carousel is a completely restored historic Carousel made by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company (PTC #61) in 1922. It is a classic 3-row machine with 48 exquisitely carved horses, and 2 superb chariots. The wood carvings, often attributed to John Zalar and Frank Carretta, are among the finest of their kind. In addition, the scenery panels, rounding boards, crests, center pole and platform are all original to the Carousel. It was the first Carousel to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places."
"In 1983, as the designated developer of Empire Fulton Ferry State Park, David Walentas had commissioned a Master Plan for the park that called for an historic carousel to be installed. Jane and David Walentas purchased the Carousel at auction on October 21, 1984.
When purchased, the Carousel was in poor condition. Jane Walentas began its restoration at her studio here in Dumbo in 1984. Her initial tasks included making necessary carpentry repairs and hand-scraping away 62 years of "Park Paint" with an X-acto knife to reveal the original 1922 carvings, color palette, and designs. The discoveries were carefully recorded with photographs, color matches, and detailed drawings that guided the repainting of the Carousel. The horses were rendered in faithful detail. The highly decorative carved trappings were newly painted and re-leafed. Missing embellishments such as faceted jewels, small beveled mirrors on the bridles, and delicate pinstriping were restored."
"The Carousel's rounding boards, scenery panels and structural pieces were also repainted, stenciled, and re-leafed. Blackened varnish was removed from original paintings to reveal their true colors. Dozens of old beveled mirrors were reglazed. Mechanical systems were updated with new gears, motor and an electronic controller. Totally rewired, the Carousel now dazzles with 1200 brilliant lights."
The entire story of Jane's Carousel is inscribed on this mirrored monument at the site. The Carousel and the Nouvel commissioned Pavilion are a gift from the Walentas family to the people of the City of New York. It was truly a labor of love by Jane Walentas, and now, after years of restoration and storage, the carousel is finally a wonderful reality!
The day I was there to see it there were lines of happy children waiting to take a ride for a modest price of $2. I think the children's parents were just as excited to see and ride the carousel.
Who wouldn't love to be a child again, even it is for just a few minutes of a carousel ride? I know I enjoyed my ride!
You can watch a minute of the carousel ride on my video above or at this link.
You can watch a minute of the ride on my video above or at this link.
The carousel is open everyday except Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. More information about hours and directions can be seen at this link.
I'm linking this post to the following blog events:
Whistlestop Cafe Cooking's "Traveling Tuesday"
"Alphabe Thursday" -- the letter this week is "W" and I can't think of many more things more Wonderful than a carousel
"Pink Saturday" for all the color pink in the painted horses
Click on the links to go to the events -- many thanks to all the blog hosts!