Spooky spirits spin at famed carousels

The Forest Park Carousel will host a Halloween celebration featuring a clown and a costume contest this weekend.
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Residents are encouraged to visit two recently reopened Queens carousels for some scary fun this weekend.

New York Carousel Entertainment plans to celebrate Halloween and the completion of its first season of operating two of the city’s historic carousels by hosting “Cido’s Birthday Spooktacular” Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Forest Park Carousel in Woodhaven and Sunday, Oct. 28, at the Flushing Meadows Carousel.

Both afternoons will feature free magic shows from Cido the Clown, a costume contest for kids and a buy one ride, get one ride free ticket special for all guests in costume.

Little more than a summer has passed since New York Carousel was awarded the rights to operate the historic carousels, which had not spun in years. Ami Abramson, director of New York Carousel, said they have make a lot of progress since the work began to refurbish the carousels.

“It really is amazing how far we have come in such a short period of time,” said Abramson. “I feel like not long ago we had to open with only two weeks to get ready. We are thrilled that we got everything finished and it has been a great summer.”

The historic carousel dates back to more than 100 years ago, when its colorful menagerie was hand-carved by artist Daniel Carl Muller. Originally situated in Dracut, Mass., the carousel was moved to Forest Park, on Forest Park Drive, in 1972. The carousel in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, at 11th St. and 55th Ave., was originally designed for the 1964 World’s Fair and was created by Marcus Charles Illions.

According to Abramson, the Forest Park Carousel posed the largest challenge as it had not been in operation since 2009.

“The communities that surround both carousels have been very supportive of us and only reinforced our decision to pursue the opportunity to operate these carousels,” said Abramson.

David Galst, director of operations at New York Carousel, said the Halloween celebration is just one event planned for the two carousels and revelers can expect many more opportunities to enjoy the rides as well as some other improvements.

“We have not revealed everything we are doing, but we can promise that both the Flushing Meadows and Forest Park carousels will see significant investments next year,” he said. “Our goal is for both of these historic rides to become anchors of their respective communities and we plan on working with the New York City Parks Department and the people of Queens for decades to come.”

Ed Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Block Association, said he is still amazed that the carousel reopened and is spinning to delight area children — and their parents, too.

“The fact that it was open at all was a small miracle,” he said. “And after nearly four years of silent inactivity, the sight of 40 or 50 men, women and children at our carousel was very welcome.”

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4546.

Updated 11:24 pm, October 24, 2012
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