Forest Park Carousel Restoration an 'Easy Fix,' Amusement Bigwig Says
By DNAinfo Staff on January 19, 2012 1:37pm
WOODHAVEN — Restoring the Forest Park carousel would be an "easy fix," the president of a prominent amusement company said — renewing hope the shuttered Queens attraction could be open by summer.
Valerio Ferrari, whose company helped create Luna Park in Coney Island, said the century-old landmark off Woodhaven Boulevard looked much better during a site visit last week than it had during previous trips.
"It's in much better condition," Ferrari told DNAinfo. "They did some work on the carousel itself."
Ferrari's remarks renewed hope the carousel, shuttered since 2008, could be rejuvenated and reopened by the summer.
Companies interested in operating the carousel and an adjacent snack bar must submit a proposal to the city Parks Department by 3 p.m. Jan. 27. The department expects to start interviewing applicants by mid-February.
The carousel includes some of the last surviving creations of master woodcarver Daniel Muller, who emigrated from Germany in the 1880s, settled in Philadelphia and went on to craft figures for 12 carousels. Only two of his merry-go-rounds remain.
The Forest Park carousel, now enclosed by drop-down and wrought-iron gates, includes 49 horses, a lion, a tiger, a deer and two chariots. It's also got a non-working organ.
City officials may also allow the carousel's operator to develop an amusement park with rides and games in the grassy space between the carousel and Woodhaven Boulevard.
"It'd also help increase the possible revenue generation" for the carousel's operator, said Evan George, a project manager for the Parks Department who led a recent site tour of the attraction.
Ferrari, of Central Amusement International, said his firm's proposal will likely include a plan to develop the adjacent land as an amusement area.
"It's a good possibility," Ferrari said last week. "It's what we do best, by the way."
Gross receipts from the previous concessionaire that ran the carousel and snack bar were $63,000 in 2004, $76,000 in 2005and $72,000 in 2008, city records show.
The Parks Department is also searching for an operator to run the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park carousel, which has 70 figures. The 7,000-square-foot site contains several benches, a paved area for tables and chairs, a ticket booth, and a small grassy patch.
The city, which previously approved a $2 admission to either the Forest Park or Flushing Meadows carousels, has final say over the rates and any increases.