Monday, July 19, 2010

Residents Will Have to Wait to Ride Carousel by Justin Chan - The Queens Courier

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In addition to City Councilman Eric Ulrich, State Senator Joe Addabbo, Assemblyman Mike Miller and Community Boards 5 and 9 have sent letters to the Parks Dept citing the historical and cultural values of the carousel to their constituents and the community at large... I would urge all interested parties to join the Facebook "Save the Forest Park Carousel" page and share your memories of the carousel...

Hundreds of visitors to Forest Park are anxiously waiting for the restoration of its historic carousel, but they will have to wait a while longer.

Although local officials had hoped that the wooden carousel would be running this summer, plans to open it have been delayed for more than a year.

“Parks [the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation] is currently in negotiation with a concessionaire to run the Forest Park Carousel. In addition, the Parks Department is submitting an application for an EPF grant to help further fund the restoration the horses and other historic elements,” said Patricia Bertuccio, a Parks Department spokesperson.

The carousel is one of four that are operated by New York City parks. It is one of the few remaining works of master woodcarver Daniel Carl Muller. Known for his expertise in crafting fanciful figures for carousels, Muller carved the animals on the carousel in the early 1900s.

Despite being renovated several times, the carousel has gradually deteriorated and is in need of another restoration. Unfortunately, its previous vendor, New York One LLC, abandoned it two years ago.

“This isn’t just an amusement ride, it’s a thing of beauty – it’s art. It’s a unique classic wood carousel – there are only two like it in the United States,” said Ed Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Resident Block Association. “I think the message this sends to Woodhaven and the communities that surround Forest Park – Glendale, Ridgewood, Forest Hills, Richmond Hill – is that we don’t particularly respect our past, our history.”

Wendell has been working hard to round up community support for the carousel’s renovation in an effort to restore it to its former glory.

“We're hoping that if enough people speak up we can change this,” said Wendell.

City Councilmember Eric Ulrich has already appealed to Commissioner Carol Ash of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. In his letter to the commissioner, Ulrich noted that the park has been a “unique and exceptional recreational, historic and cultural icon that has enriched the lives of thousands of children from all across New York City.”

“It’s truly a one-of-a-kind historic centerpiece,” said Ulrich. “If we lose it, Forest Park is just going to be another city park. People travel across the country to visit it.”