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Parks says carousel will open by Memorial Day

The hand-carved works of a renowned artist are set to resume rotating after city Parks announced an operator for the Forest Park Carousel. Photo courtesy Woodhaven Residents Block Association
TimesLedger Newspapers

A long-shuttered feature of Forest Park will spin again.

The city Parks Department has selected a new operator for the Forest Park Carousel in Woodhaven and the famed attraction will be welcoming riders again by Memorial Day, according to the Woodhaven Resident’s Block Association.

“The carousel is part of our community’s identity,” said WRBA President Ed Wendell. “We couldn’t be happier that the Parks Department has done the right thing — something we’ve requested for years — and gotten a deal done so that our community can enjoy it again.”

New York Carousel Entertainment, which was also chosen by Parks to run the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Carousel, could not be reached for comment.

Final terms of the licensing agreement have not yet been finalized, but the company has a work permit to begin cleaning and conducting necessary maintenance work at the site, according to a Parks Department representative.

The historic carousel dates back to more than 100 years ago, when its colorful menagerie was hand-carved by artist Daniel Carl Muller. Originally situated in Dracut, Mass., the carousel was moved to Forest Park in 1972. The carousel in Flushing Meadows was originally designed for the 1964 World’s Fair and was created by Marcus Charles Illions.

The block association took on the task of rallying to save the carousel after it closed when the former operator, New York One, let its contract with Parks expire. Since then the association has engaged in letter-writing campaigns and organized rallies with elected officials to make the carousel operational again.

“The ride is a beautiful work of art, a historic specimen that embodies our community’s heritage, and a form of entertainment that has amused generations of Woodhaven residents,” said Wendell. “We’re overjoyed to have it back.”

Maria Thomson, executive director of the Greater Woodhaven Development Corp., said the carousel deserves much better than the treatment it has received over the last few years.

“Finally, we have a concessionaire who promises to restore it to its former glory,” Thomson said. “This is a real victory — not just for the people of Woodhaven, but for all of New York City. Our Forest Park Carousel is back for everyone to enjoy.”

Workers from the new carousel operator are expected to begin prepping the ride in the next couple of days, according to Parks.

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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