The $16 million SeaGlass carousel — which will immerse visitors in the sights and sounds of the ocean as riders glide on 30 custom-made fish — was delayed by rough winter weather, along with the lingering effects of Hurricane Sandy, which heavily damaged Battery Park, said Warrie Price, president of the park's conservancy.
The massive, whimsical carousel was also extremely complicated to build, which led to delays, Price added.
“None of the exciting features have been changed,” Price said. “We’re getting there, it’s on budget, but it’s a big, complicated project and it's taking time.”
The domed silver structure, dreamed up by George Tsypin, the designer of Broadway’s “The Little Mermaid” and "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," will house 30 9-foot-tall fish that will whirl around on interior turntables.
The idea is to give visitors the sense of freely gliding through the ocean, rather than just rotating on a typical carousel. Projections of fish swimming in New York Harbor will surround riders, and music resembling underwater sounds will echo throughout the three-minute ride.
The conservancy is in the process of choosing an operator for the ride, which is meant to evoke the original New York Aquarium that opened in Battery Park's Castle Clinton in 1896 and drew millions of visitors before closing in 1941.
The project, which was most recently slated to open this fall, is funded by both government and privately raised money.
Price said the conservancy hopes to complete construction on the ride by the end of the year, then spend a few months testing out the carousel, to make sure it works smoothly for visitors in the spring.
The custom-made fish are set to arrive this fall from Montreal, where they are being built, Price said.
“We want to make sure this is a wonderful experience for visitors,” Price said. “As soon as we're confident it's all working smoothly, we'll have it open for the public.”