With spring comes renewal and the Forest Park Carousel recently received news that it has been given new life by the city’s Parks Department.
After three years, the revived Forest Park Carousel is expected to be up and running by the spring or summer, according to a Parks Department spokesperson.
While the carousel has stood still, local officials and residents have worked behind the scenes to get the historic ride spinning again.
“We’re very happy to hear some long overdue good news. It’s very encouraging.” said Ed Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Resident’s Block Association, who has trumped up community support with “Save the Forest Park Carousel” T-shirts and a Facebook page with more than 1,150 likes.
The ride has not been operated since 2009 when its vendor, New York One, did not renew its contract.
A Request for Proposal for vendors — the fourth the Department issued — was announced in mid-December. All proposals had to be submitted by January 27. The Parks Department has yet to make a decision on a proposal, but plans to make an announcement in March.
Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley said she is “extremely pleased” that a new concessionaire will be operating the ride.
“With a proven vendor in place, I’m confident the carousel can once again become a great centerpiece and attraction for the park and neighborhood residents,” the councilmember said.
The carousel and the surrounding area of the park provides a tremendous opportunity for a new operator, Wendell believes.
“We’re anxious to hear the other plans the vendor has,” Wendell said. “It can become a real destination.”
The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission is also currently in the process of reviewing the eligibility of the carousel as a New York City landmark, said an agency spokesperson.
“It’s so priceless,” Wendell said. “You’re not going to get hand-carved wood carousels anymore. When these [works of art] are gone they’re gone forever.”
The carousel — built in 1903 — features figures carved by master sculptor Daniel Muller.
“This is something special,” Wendell said. “We’ve spent a lot of time keeping it alive in people’s consciousness. Once that thing finally opens, it’s going to be a great feeling.”