Monday, February 7, 2011

Forest Park Carousel Could Soon be Spinning Again by Lisa Fraser - Leader-Observer -

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It’s been a wild ride for the Forest Park Carousel. Spinning round and round on an uncertain future, it might soon be up and running again for the summer.

According to the Parks Department, the carousel will be tied to the 1903-08 Mangels-Illions Carousel at Flushing Meadows Corona Park and the vendor that is responsible for the Flushing carousel will also need to be responsible for the Forest Park carousel.

Linking the two carousels together through one vendor is a tactic that the Parks Department believes will help bring more people to the beloved Forest Park carousel and enable it to run again.

The carousel in Flushing Meadows Park is located in an area where traffic is heavy and it is near more attractions. One of the reasons why no vendors have claimed the Forest Park carousel is because it is situated in an area with no nearby attractions and far less foot traffic than Flushing.

The Parks Department has put the Mangels-Illions Carousel at Flushing Meadows Corona Park up for bid on the condition that the person who signs for it will be required to get the Forest Park carousel back in business by the end of the year.

“We’re very glad to hear the Parks Department is trying a new approach to get our carousel up and running again,” wrote Ed Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Residents Block Association, on the WRBA blog.

Members of the block association have been calling for restoration of the carousel for some time now.

“It is time for New York City Parks and Recreation to treat the Forest Park Carousel as the treasure it is," said Maria Thomson in a letter to this paper last month. "It is time to engage a professional artisan for its care and repair, and find someone with a passion for carousels to be the concessionaire.”

Thomson, executive director of the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation, said that they have also been trying for the last 15 years to have the carousel be designated as a historic landmark, although nothing has come out of their efforts yet.

The Parks Department has been searching for a vendor to run the carousel since its former operator, New York One LLC, let its contract expire while refusing to maintain it.