For three summers, the carousel at Forest Park sat shuttered behind a cyclone fence and tree overgrowth. The ornate merry-go-round sat as a sad reminder of what parkgoers were missing. But this summer, the rustic horses and mules are spinning once more.
The carousel opened in May and last week, as schools let out for summer, it went from just being open on weekends to spinning daily.
The new operators, New York Carousel, have finally brought food vendors to the site, as well as more seating and entertainment for kids, including magic shows.
“They seem to be making a lot of the really good, smart moves,” said Ed Wendell, President of the Woodhaven Residents Block Association.“That gives me the confidence that they’re going to be there long term.”
He said he has noticed a regular clientele visiting the attraction. “Weekends seemed to settle into a nice routine. It was a constant stream of kids and parents going up there.”
The carousel closes at sundown, but stayed open later a few times when plays were being performed in the nearby Seuffert Bandshell.
Wendell said the carousel is especially popular with Woodhaven reisdents he talked to. “Everybody we talked to went up there, making it a regular or semi-regular thing.” he said.
Wendell was front and center in the years-long fight to reopen the carousel after its previous operator let its contract with the Parks Dept. lapse. He also made note of the new gate that surrounds the hilltop the carousel sits on.
“It really defines the area,” he said, noting the old cyclone fence was not very appealing.
As for the future, Wendell suggested there is “a lot of potential” in the grassy hill area east of the carousel that slopes down to Woodhaven Boulevard. He said the hoped to see more rides and entertainment in that area.