The carousel officially opened to the public on Friday, September 16, but on Thursday a ribbon-cutting was held and attended by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, and others.
“My hope is that every child, whether from Brooklyn, across the river, or visiting from around the globe, will have the opportunity to experience this vintage carousel in this extraordinary building set within this beautiful park,” said Jane Walentas. “Imagine riding your favorite horse, with the Brooklyn Bridge towering overhead, as tug boats pass by. It doesn't get much better.”The carousel was built in 1922 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, based in Hatfield Pennsylvania.
It was used in Idora Park, a private amusement park in Youngston, Ohio, until the early 1980s. In 1984, Walentas, a New Jersey native, traveled to Ohio to save the carousel from being taken apart and sold off in pieces.
She and her husband purchased it for $385,000.
Todd Goings, who specializes in carousel restorations, put the carousel back together for its opening. It is a three-row machine with 48 horses and two chariots.
Two Trees Management Company, LLC, a company her husband David Walentas founded, constructed the building in which the carousel is now housed on Water and Old Dock streets in DUMBO. The construction of the building cost $8 million.
The Walentases commissioned Pritzker Prize-winning architect, Jean Nouvel, to design the building, which is essentially an encasement that allows the carousel to operate year-round.
The 72x72-foot acrylic building provides framed views of the nearby bridges as well as the Manhattan skyline.
Kathleen Gilrain of Williamsburg couldn’t wait for the carousel’s opening.
She brought her three-year-old son, Atlas, and four-year-old daughter, Nathalie, for a ride on the horses.
“It’s wonderful, we’re going to keep coming back,” Gilrain said. “We’ve been looking forward to it.”
Eight-year-old John Ceccarelli could hardly contain his excitement after the ride. “It was great,” he said.
For his mother, Bertina Ceccarelli, the carousel is a nostalgic piece. “This is an exquisite addition to DUMBO, we will be here many, many times in the coming years,” said the Carroll Gardens resident. “When you look at DUMBO, it’s such a new, impressive place; it’s great to have a piece of nostalgia.”
For $2, children can take a ride on the carousel. The carousel is open everyday except Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For more information, visit the website.