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Forest Park carousel gets landmark designation

By Bianca Fortis

The Forest Park Carousel spun its way onto the prestigious list of New York City landmarks after the city Landmarks Preservation Commission announced Tuesday that it would give the special designation to the attraction.

“This is tremendous news,” Ed Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, said in a statement. “The Forest Park Carousel means so much to countless residents in Woodhaven and across the city. This designation is long overdue, but now that it’s here, we’re thrilled. With the carousel landmarked, we know it will be around for posterity, which is exactly how it should be.”

According to the commission, a landmark designation means a property has special historical, cultural or aesthetic value and is an important part of the city’s heritage. The new status also means the carousel is required to be kept in good condition and the commission must approve any alteration, reconstruction, demolition or new construction that could affect it.

The decision comes after a long campaign by community members who wanted to save their childhood carousel when they thought they might lose it after it was shuttered in 2009.

Three years later, a new operator, New York Carousel, agreed to run the attraction. But the campaign for landmark status continued, and after two public hearings the commission voted unanimously to grant designation to the ride.

Borough President Helen Marshall also applauded the decision.

“Designating the Forest Park Carousel as a landmark will help preserve this unique and historic children’s ride for future generations,” she said in a statement. “I commend the Landmarks Preservation Commission for making the right decision to bestow landmark status on this beautiful treasure.”

The merry-go-round, originally located in Dracut, Mass., was hand-carved by famed artist and carousel maker D.C. Muller in 1903. In 1972 it was moved to Woodhaven. It is one of only two D.C. Muller carousels in the country intact and still spinning.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission also voted to landmark the 1896 Dutch Revival style Jamaica Learning Center, formerly the original Jamaica High School in Jamaica.

Reach reporter Bianca Fortis by email at bfortis@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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