By Nicole Breskin
CHELSEA —A carousel featuring a harbor seal with black spots, a green-scaled Atlantic sturgeon and a white unicorn covered in pastel butterflies was unveiled Monday as part of a $50-million facelift to the Hudson River Park at Piers 62 and 63.
Final touches were being done on the carousel’s concession stand and the 36-seat merry-go-round is scheduled to begin taking customers at the end of the week for $2 per ride, according to the Hudson River Park Trust.
“We wanted the carousel to be unique and special to the park,” the Trust's president, Connie Fishman, said. “We picked mammals, fish, birds and wildlife native to the Hudson River Valley for that reason. But we also threw in the unicorn for a bit of magic.”
The carousel, located at Pier 62 near 23rd Street and the Hudson River, is part of “Chelsea Cove,” a nine-acre addition to the park.
A lawn filled with geese and a skate park, which was tested by Tony Hawk prior to its unveiling, also opened as part of the revamped Hudson River Park space.
“This is a pretty awesome news for skateboarders,” said longtime skateboarder Diego Voglino, who turned out from Brooklyn on opening day to check out the free ramps. “I don’t know of any skate parks that comes close to touching this in Manhattan.”
Gov. David Paterson said at the opening: “It [the park addition] has led the way to a revitalized far west side and created a new model for public-private collaboration in waterfront development."
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said the park space was beyond her “wildest dreams of how wonderful the park could be.”
Manhattan Borough president Scott Stringer, Hudson River Park Trust chair Diana Taylor and Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe were also at the opening to launch the park.
The Trust estimates the next extension of the park, located in TriBeCa, will open in October with a boathouse and café.