Tag Archives: Carousel

Finally! Forest Park Carousel reopens


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Forest Park Carousel

After nearly four years, children — and adults — were able to rush the Forest Park Carousel, choose their favorite horse and take a spin on the historic ride.

The Forest Park Carousel, shuttered since 2008, held its grand reopening on Saturday, May 26, with hundreds of visitors turning out for the sun-filled event.

More than a dozen were able to take the maiden voyage on the century-old merry-go-round.

Jeff Watkins of Woodhaven brought his son, Joshua, who was among the carousel’s first riders.

“It’s a lot of fun and a great reason to get out of the house,” Watkins said. “The park is beautiful.”

“I really liked the ride a lot,” added Joshua, 8. “It went fast.”

The carousel will be open each weekend from 11 a.m. until sunset through late June. After that, it will be open every day until Labor Day. Each Saturday the carousel will also feature clown shows.

Senator Joe Addabbo, who had a chance to hop on the carousel at a press event on May 24, said he was excited to bring his daughters, Alexis and Arianna, to the same ride he once visited with his father as a child.

“It brought back memories from when my father brought me,” he said. “It’s family memories, it’s community memories and just to see my kids smile and laugh, it beats shuttered doors and a closed carousel.”

NY Carousel, the ride’s operator, said it expects to add chairs and tables and open the food stand in the coming weeks.

Ed Wendell, who has advocated for reopening the carousel for years, twice visited the ride on its opening weekend.

“Just in that initial first couple of days, seeing a new generation coming in and having their first ride and having their first experience was wonderful,” said Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, of the more than 100-year-old ride.

“We’re just traveling through; the carousel will hopefully be here for a very long time.”

As the carousel turns: A history of the Forest Park Carousel


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Forest Park Carousel

When the Forest Park Carousel stopped spinning in 2008, it nevertheless continued its merry-go-round cycle that had become all too familiar over its history.

For decades, the carousel stood continuously in Forest Park as one of the many jewels of the 543-acre greenspace with locals and visitors flocking to the attraction each spring and summer.

“My cousin used to come from Brooklyn to take me to the carousel,” said Leonora Lavan, former president of the Woodhaven Cultural and Historical Society, of the ride that only cost a nickel when she rode it in the 40s. “I had a favorite horse; I used to wait until it was free to get on.”

During the summers in the late 1940s, St. John’s journalism professor Frank Brady was the guardian of the famed merry-go-round. Brady operated the carousel, remembering the festive, carnival-like atmosphere.

“On a really nice Saturday or Sunday the place was packed. Sometimes we couldn’t even accommodate all the kids,” Brady, 78, remembered. “Every pony was taken.”

The carousel’s music, Johann Strauss waltzes, stuck with him through the decades, transporting him back to his days as operator.

“The music was always the big thing,” said Ed Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Cultural and Historical Society.

The music stopped in late 1966 when a fire tore through the ride, leaving behind only ashes.

“The fire started at 8:40 p.m. and was fought by 67 firemen using 26 pieces of fire apparatus, according to the Fire Department, and totally destroyed the carousel,” reported a 1966 article in the Long Island Daily Press.

The article said the carousel had been “a landmark for 50 years,” though an exact date of its opening in the park could not be confirmed.

“After the carousel burnt down, I remember my father taking me up there and seeing the ashes,” Wendell recalled.

Six years passed with no carousel replacing the original.

A Daniel C. Muller-carved carousel that formerly spun at Lakeview Park in Dracut, Massachusetts was on sale in the early 1970s. For $30,000, according to a 1972 Daily News article, Forest Park got a new carousel.

“[The carousel] was in an interesting little park at the end of a dead-end road in nowhere Massachusetts,” said Roland Hopkins, editor of The Carousel News & Trader magazine, a monthly based in California for carousel enthusiasts.

“Muller was one of the special ones for sure; he had a distinct style,” Hopkins said. “He was a master of strong military horses — strong, but not intimidating.”

Only two of the master carver’s carousels remain in the country; Forest Park and the Midway Carousel in Sandusky, Ohio.

The park’s new carousel was built in 1903 and featured a menagerie of hand carved wooden animals.

Everyone was delighted when they brought a carousel back, Wendell said, but barely a decade passed before it again was shuttered.

It fell into disrepair after closing in 1985.

“It really hasn’t had a good history since they brought the new one in. It’s had a history of being neglected,” said Wendell, who also heads the Woodhaven Residents Block Association.

Mary Ann Carey, district manager of Community Board 9, and members of the board began to lobby for the piece of Queens history to be restored.

New operators were secured, the ride was restored and a new era was set to begin.

City dignitaries, including then-Mayor Ed Koch, attended the carousel’s 1989 grand re-opening.

Eager to enjoy the first trip on the carousel, the crowd rushed to get on.

It didn’t move.

“I guess it was the weight of all the people,” laughed Carey.

A minor tweak, and the carousel was up and running again after a four-year absence.

For the next two decades, the carousel ran with relatively few problems.

In 2008, New York One, the carousel vendor, did not renew its contract, setting off another stagnant era for the ride.

While the carousel has stood still, local officials and residents have worked behind the scenes to get the historic ride spinning again.

Facebook groups were started, T-shirts were sold and four Requests for Proposals were issued.

Good news was received in March when the Parks Department announced a new vendor was chosen and the ride would be ready by spring.

But as March and April passed, even the staunchest supporters thought another year would pass with no carousel.

Fears were erased when the Parks Department announced New York Carousel Entertainment would operate the carousel and the public would once again be able to enjoy the attraction beginning Memorial Day weekend.

“We hope now people are more appreciative. We’ve come close to losing it before,” said Wendell.

Even from across the country, carousel enthusiasts realize the attraction of the Forest Park ride.

“You guys have a nice machine there. I hope these guys pay attention,” said Hopkins. “It will be great to have it up and running; it’s a great machine.”

A new era will begin on Saturday, May 26 at 11 a.m.

The Forest Park Carousel rides again


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Forest Park Carousel

After nearly four years, children — and adults — were able to rush the Forest Park Carousel, choose their favorite horse and take a spin on the historic ride.

The Forest Park Carousel, shuttered since 2008, hosted St. John Evangelical Lutheran School students, politicians and civic leaders who fought to save the carousel to enjoy the first ride before it reopens to the public this weekend.

“It went real fast,” said Jason, 6. “It was a lot of fun.”

It wasn’t just the youngsters that enjoyed themselves.

Mary Ann Carey, district manager of Community Board 9, who had ridden the carousel as a child and fought to have it reopened in the late 80s hopped on board with the kids.

“It was great,” Carey said. “I enjoyed it very much. The children loved it.”

After years of civic groups campaigning, the Parks Department announced earlier this month that New York Carousel would operate and reopen the 109-year-old ride.

“When a community speaks out in one voice and they are heard and the result of their speaking out is seen, that’s a perfect snapshot of how government should work,” said Senator Joe Addabbo.

Addabbo added he is excited to bring his daughters, Alexis and Arianna, to the same ride he once visited with his father as a child.

“I cannot wait for this weekend to be here with my two girls and be standing beside them riding this carousel.”

The carousel will be open to the public on Saturday, May 26 at 11 a.m.

 

Forest Park Carousel gets new operator; will soon reopen


| brennison@queenscourier.com

12w

After three dormant years, the Forest Park Carousel will spin once again.

The Parks Department has selected an operator — New York Carousel Entertainment — for the famed ride.

Though final terms of the licensing agreement have not yet been finalized, the company has a work permit to begin cleaning and conducting necessary maintenance work at the sight, according to a Parks Department spokesperson.

In February, the department announced that the carousel would be ready for the spring or summer.

New York Carousel Entertainment will also operate the carousel in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

The ride has not been operated since 2009 when its vendor, New York One, did not renew its contract.

The carousel — built in 1903 — features figures carved by master sculptor Daniel Muller.

 

Queens Teacher Charged With Raping 13-Year-Old Student


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens Teacher Charged With Raping 13-Year-Old Student

A Queens teacher is facing charges including rape after authorities say he had an inappropriate relationship with a 13-year-old student. Special Commissioner of Investigation Richard Condon says Charles Oross, 44, a teacher at IS 238, had a sexual relationship with the girl while she attended the school in 2009. Officials say the two also exchanged inappropriate emails and Facebook communications. Oross was removed from the school last month. Read More: NY1

 

Boyfriend of Young & Rubicam elevator victim Suzanne Hart calls her ‘bright spot’ 


The heartbroken boyfriend of elevator accident victim Suzanne Hart said Thursday “she was the bright spot in my life.” “I don’t have the words for this,” Chris Dickson said outside the couple’s Brooklyn Heights home. “I can’t process this.” Dickson, who said he and Hart “were together for five-and-a-half years,” was with her father, Alex Hart, and step-mother, Mary, when he spoke. Read More: New York Post

 

Man Accused Of Beating Jets Fan Faces New Charges

Charges were upgraded Wednesday against the man accused of attacking a Jets fan after Sunday’s game. Merle Lee, 35, is now being charged with aggravated assault. He was previously charged with simple assault. Police say Lee punched James Mohr of Queens in the face after an argument ended with a group of men. Mohr, 23, has been taken out of intensive care and is listed in fair condition. Investigators say the dispute wasn’t about the game. Read More: NY1

 

One last spin for land marking Forest Park Carousel

Forest Park Carousel is getting one more spin at landmark status. Area residents and leaders hope to have the historic local landmark officially recognized as one by the city’s Landmark Preservation Commission. The carousel — which last spun in 2008 — is currently being reviewed by the commission to see whether it meets the eligibility for landmarking. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Queens Courier Exclusive – What Would Judy Say?™ – Judge Judy Sheindlin answers your questions about problems that trouble you most. Read: Queens Courier

 

Facebook Timeline now available to all users

Facebook’s 800 million users can now access the site’s Timeline feature, which turns their profile pages into a virtual scrapbook of big photos, memorable posts and life events. For many users, turning on Timeline will likely serve as a trip down memory lane as they rediscover photos and updates they shared months and years ago. All that’s been stored on Facebook. Read More: New York Post

One last spin for land marking Forest Park Carousel


| brennison@queenscourier.com

12w

Forest Park Carousel is getting one more spin at landmark status.

Area residents and leaders hope to have the historic local landmark officially recognized as one by the city’s Landmark Preservation Commission.

The carousel — which last spun in 2008 — is currently being reviewed by the commission to see whether it meets the eligibility for landmarking.

For the merry-go-round to be considered, it must have official historical or aesthetic interest or value as part of the development, heritage or cultural characteristics of the city, state or nation, as well as be at least 30 years old, said a spokesperson for the commission.

The carousel — built in 1903 and featuring figures carved by master sculptor Daniel Muller — passes the age criteria and many area residents would attest to its heritage and cultural importance.

“I think landmarking would be a fantastic way of preserving it,” said Ed Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Resident’s Block Association, who is pursuing the landmarking. “It’s part of our shared history. It’s part of our community.”

The fact that there are already two carousels landmarked in the city — the Central Park and Prospect Park carousels — has not escaped Wendell’s attention. Those Manhattan carousels are part of larger scenic landmarks, something Wendell feels Forest Park can qualify for, offering the George Seuffert, Sr. Bandshell, the greenhouse and carousel as just a few examples of the park’s historical significance.

The city’s landmarking commission gave no timetable for when a decision on the carousel’s eligibility will be determined. If the commission grants it is eligible, the carousel will then face a hearing and the proposal will go to a vote after which it will be reviewed by the city planning commission and city council.

“This is going to be a long process. Nothing moves fast in this city,” said Wendell, adding that despite not having a timetable, he is confident. “I think we have an excellent chance. Everyone would be happy about it. It’s got to happen.”

He attributed his positive feelings to the combined good will of the local residents. The Save the Forest Park Carousel Facebook page has over 1,100 likes. And those that want to wear their support for the carousel on their sleeve can still purchase “Save the Forest Park Carousel” T-shirts from the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association’s web site.

The carousel has not been operated since its vendor, New York One, did not renew its contract in 2008. Three requests for proposals (RFPs) have been issued since the carousel last operated and the Parks Department announced a fourth RFP on Tuesday, December 13. The Parks Department said it will conduct “extensive outreach” to find a suitable vendor.

Dr. Conrad Murray gets 4 years in jail for Michael Jackson death


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Comedian Patrice O’Neal Dead at 41

Comedian Patrice O’Neal died Tuesday morning … as a result of a stroke he suffered back in October…This according to his friends at the “Opie and Anthony” radio show. O’Neal had been a staple in the comedy world for years — and performed at the “Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen” back in September. O’Neal was a regular guest on the “Opie and Anthony” radio show – and appeared on several TV shows such as “Chappelle Show,” “The Office,” and “Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn.” Opie just tweeted, “Yes it’s true that our pal Patrice O’Neal has passed away. The funniest and best thinker I’ve ever known PERIOD.” Read More: TMZ

American Airlines Has Normal Flights After Parent Company Files For Bankruptcy

American Airlines says its normal flight schedule will go on after filing for bankruptcy protection. AMR, the struggling carrier’s parent company, filed for Chapter 11 protection today. It also replaced American Airlines CEO Gerard Arpey with the company’s president, Thomas Horton. The airline says the move will help cut debt caused by high-jet fuel prices and labor problems. Travelers should not be affected for now, but the reorganization could lead to a reduced flight schedule and job cuts. American is the the third largest airline in the country and is the first major airline to file for bankruptcy since Delta in 2005. Read More: NY1

City might close Cypress Hills Collegiate Prep

Less than six years after opening its doors, a small school opened by Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration might be on its way to closure. Cypress Hills Collegiate Prep (CHCP), which shares space in the Franklin K. Lane building with three other schools on Jamaica Avenue in Brooklyn, received some bad news along with a “D” on its annual progress report – the city might move to close the school after only two graduating classes. Read More: Queens Courier

Iranian protesters storm British embassy

Dozens of hardline student protesters stormed the British Embassy and another British compound in Tehran Tuesday, destroying papers, reportedly setting the Union Jack flag afire and even carrying off a portrait of the Queen while staff fled to safety. Read More: New York Post

Richmond Hill family convicted of defrauding innocent victims

Three members of a Richmond Hill family have been convicted of defrauding 19 individuals, mostly members of the borough’s West Indies community, out of more than $1.8 million over a nearly six-year period by promising to assist them in obtaining “federally seized” properties in Florida and Queens at cheap prices or to assist them in gaining legal status in this country. Read More: Queens Courier

Dr. Conrad Murray gets 4 years in jail for Michael Jackson death
The disgraced doctor whose “medicine madness” killed Michael Jackson was sentenced to the maximum term of four years behind bars and a tongue-lashing Tuesday. Dr. Conrad Murray, 58, was branded a callous, reckless liar who violated his Hippocratic oath and left the King of Pop to die alone in his own bed by the judge. Read More: Daily News

Queens home sales & property values keep sliding at faster rate than rest of city
Queens homeowners are feeling the pain of the housing slump. The volume of home sales in the borough fell by 9% in the third quarter, compared with the same period last year, according to a report from NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. The decline exceeded the drop in home sales citywide, which measured 4%. Queens also stood out when it came to declining property values. Prices in the borough have depreciated 30% from their peak levels, which were reached in the fourth quarter of 2006. Read More: Daily News

War of words between Flushing Councilman and Police Department

Antoinette Carona buried her only son on what would have been his 22nd birthday earlier this month. Carona has lived in a self-described “hell” as she waits for the killer of her son, Alex Botero, to be caught. Botero was shot execution style in an elevator of the James A. Bland Houses in Flushing on Halloween night. More than 40 residents of the Bland Houses and nearby Latimer Gardens attended a community meeting on Nov. 15 to express their concerns over safety in the area. But there was one very important element missing: The police. Not a single representative from the 109th Precinct attended, City Councilman Peter Koo said, sparking a war of words between the lawmaker and NYPD. Read More: Daily News

Civic group starts new push to get historic Forest Park Carousel landmark status 

Concerned about the fate of the Forest Park Carousel, which has been shuttered since 2008, civic leaders have launched a new effort to win the historic amusement landmark status. The city has been unable to find an operator for the hand-carved wooden carousel, crafted by Daniel Carl Muller more than 100 years ago. Read More: Daily News

 

Residents and officials fight for Forest Park Carousel


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Woodhaven Resident's Block Association

Local residents and officials hope to save the Forest Park Carousel from the glue factory.

The Forest Park Carousel remains dark as the Parks Department has received no viable proposal from vendors to run the historic ride.

The Parks Department said it will conduct “extensive outreach” to find a suitable vendor and plans to re-release the Request for Proposal (RFP), though no date has been set.

The carousel has not been operated since 2009 when its vendor, New York One, did not renew its contract.

As local residents eagerly await a new vendor to operate the ride, they are making sure their message is not forgotten.

The 50 “Save the Forest Park Carousel” T-shirts, at $10 a piece, quickly sold out at the Woodhaven Street Fair on Sunday, October 16.

The hot item is a great way to allow the residents to help support the fight for the carousel, said Ed Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association.

Residents that were not able to purchase the shirts there can order them by calling the Woodhaven Resident’s Block Association’s office at 718-296-3735.

The money raised from the shirts will be funneled back into trying to get the carousel up and running.

“This is three full summers in a row that it has been closed. People are frustrated now that another year has gone by and there is still no closure,” Wendell said.

Assemblymember Mike Miller is working on a plan that would allow a nonprofit take over the concessions. He has scheduled a meeting with the Parks Department to discuss the plan.

“People within the community have fond memories of the carousel and they want to see it put to good use,” the assemblymember said. “It’s disappointing that we can’t find someone to run the carousel.”

Wendell would like to see the carousel running – even if it is just once a month.

“Turn it on once a month; pick a Saturday,” he said. “We can get volunteers that will work for the carousel. The community will support it.

“It’s part of our shared history; it’s part of our community,” Wendell said. “We’ve come close to losing it permanently twice and people are scared that this is going to be it. Could this be the last we see of [the carousel]?”