Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Jane's Carousal

This September, a fully restored vintage carousal opened down in DUMBO and I have been dying to go check it out! It was originally built in 1922 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company for Idora Park in Youngstown, Ohio. It's named after Jane Walentas, who rescued it at auction in 1983. She and her husband have been scraping off layers of amusement park paint and repainting the entire carousal since 1984.  It sits in the Brooklyn Bridge Park in a beautiful Plexiglas pavilion designed by Jean Nouvel so you can even ride in the rain.

Tickets are $2 per ride, and the staff is very friendly. In the row of 3 horses only the two on the inside "jump" and the larger horse on the outside is stationary. If all the jumping horse are full, they'll run the carousal with the empty outer horses so everyone can get a chance to ride.

It was marvelous! I felt like I was back in time, enjoying some fresh air from the back of my steed (except no one was making me ride sidesaddle in a floor length skirt).

Once they had scraped all the layers of paint down to the original coat, they recorded the original color and where it was on the horse. Then each horse was painstakingly sanded and repainted so the entire carousal isn't just restored, but it looks almost like it did in 1922.
Here's a view from the carousal looking out the pavilion. The bridge you see is the Manhattan Bridge. The steel and Plexiglas structure seems like it would be at odds with the carousal, but DUMBO is so industrial that it works with the surrounding architecture and acts as a frame to the carousal.  If you're in the area, it's definitely worth a visit!

1 comment:

  1. This is so awesome! I remember a few years ago I was wandering through DUMBO at night on a walk with a friend, and we passed by this storefront that had this old carousel inside of it. We wondered what it would be used for... glad to see it was put to good use.