The city Parks Department announced Friday that it has selected New York Carousel Entertainment to operate the Forest Park merry-go-round, thrilling residents who have been working for years to get the famed facility up and running again.
New York Carousel Entertainment will also run the Flushing Meadows Corona Park carousel.
A Parks spokesman said the department is "negotiating the final terms of the license agreement" and that the city has given the company a work permit allowing them to clean the sites and conduct maintenance work.
"The carousel is part of our community's identity," Woodhaven Residents Block Association President Ed Wendell said. "We couldn't be happier that the Parks Department has done the right thing, something we've requested for years, and gotten a deal done so that our community can enjoy it again. The ride is a beautiful work of art, an historic specimen that embodies our community's heritage, and a form of entertainment that has amused generations of Woodhaven residents. We're overjoyed to have it back."
The Woodhaven carousel has been closed since 2008, and the city has since issued four requests for proposals for the operation of the two merry-go-rounds.
The structure holds some of the last surviving creations of master wood-carver Daniel Carl Muller, including 49 sculpted horses, a lion, a tiger, a deer and two chariots. There is also a carousel band organ.
"For a long time, I've said that our carousel is the jewel of Forest Park and a treasure that deserves better than the treatment it has received the last few years," said Maria Thomson, executive director of the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation. "Finally, we have a concessionaire who promises to restore it to its former glory."