Thursday, February 10, 2011

Forest Park Carousel May Get Good Turn by Lisa L. Colangelo - NY Daily News

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CITY PARKS officials have a new plan that could help the long-dormant Forest Park carousel spin again.
It is looking for a vendor to operate both the historic wooden carousel as well as a busier one in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
A new request for proposals linking the two carousels is currently being drafted and will be released next month, the Daily News has learned. But it is unclear whether that contract for both will be awarded this year.
The 100-year-old Forest Park carousel, crafted by master woodcarver Daniel Carl Muller, was shuttered in 2008. Efforts to find a new concessionaire have come up short, partly because it is not viewed as a money-maker.
The Flushing Meadows carousel, brought to the park from Coney Island for the 1964-65 World's Fair, enjoys brisk business and lots of foot traffic due to its proximity to the Queens Zoo and other attractions.
"We're pleased with the idea," said Ivan Mrakovcic, chairman of Community Board 9. "We want it open and landmarked. We want people to discover it."
The Forest Park carousel was previously operated by New York One LLC, a vendor that has several city concessions. Civic leaders complained that the company allowed the carousel to deteriorate.
Last year, the city ended New York One's pact to run the Central Park carousel for failing to properly maintain it.
That company currently operates the carousel in Flushing Meadows. But that contract expires next year.
"We're happy that the Parks Department is taking a new approach to this problem and we're hopeful they can get this done," said Ed Wendell of the Woodhaven Residents' Block Association.
Wendell started a Facebook page called Save the Forest Park Carousel.
The carousel was brought to Forest Park from Massachusetts in the early 1970s to replace one that burned down nearly 10 years earlier. It had an extensive renovation in 1989.