Saturday, July 24, 2010

Community Fights to Reopen Forest Park Carousel

A beloved century-old carousel in Woodhaven's Forest Park is shuttered and the community is working hard to open its gates before summer's end.(Image: NY1 VIDEO)


The historic Forest Park Carousel, shuttered for over a year, may spin again this summer, according to the New York Daily News.

The city Parks Department said it is in negotiations with a new concessionaire to operate the carousel, a hand-carved treasure that dates back to the early 1900s.

City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village), who has been pushing Parks officials to find a new vendor, said it is slated to reopen by mid-July.

The carousel fell silent after the previous vendor, New York One LLC, let its contract expire last year. Civic leaders complained that the company allowed the carousel and the surrounding grounds to deteriorate.

Earlier this year, the Parks Department dismissed New York One as the vendor of the Central Park Carousel for failing to maintain and clean that famous attraction.

Local residents are hoping a new vendor will return the Forest Park Carousel to its former glory.

"I hope they are really vetting them well because we don't want another vendor coming in and abusing the area," said Maria Thomson of the Greater Woodhaven Development Corp. "It should be a destination and a place where people can go and enjoy the park."

The carousel was crafted by Daniel Carl Muller, considered by experts to be a master woodcarver of the genre. It's one of two Muller carousels still in operation. The other is in Ohio.

"It's priceless," said Patrick Wentzel, who keeps a census of carousels for the National Carousel Association. "The carvings are exquisite. They are so lifelike."

The carousel was brought to Forest Park from Massachusetts in the early 1970s to replace one that burned down nearly 10 years earlier.

The beloved carousel in forrest Park Queens has been closed for three years. The metal security gate is closed in the background. (Photo By Manny)

A Facebook page has been created to help save the carousel.

Read/View More:

Devotees Seek To Reopen Queens Carousel
NY1 - July 17, 2010 - By Shushannah Walshe
New York Daily News - June 7, 2010 - By Lisa L. Colangelo

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