Jane's Carousel

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Jane's Carousel (Formerly the Idora Park Merry-Go-Round)
Jane's Carousel, Dumbo Brooklyn in July 2017.jpg
Carousel in Brooklyn in July, 2017
Location Formerly at Idora Park near Canfield Road,
Youngstown, Ohio.
Currently at Brooklyn Bridge Park.[2]
Coordinates 40°42′16″N 73°59′33″W / 40.70442°N 73.99238°W / 40.70442; -73.99238Coordinates: 40°42′16″N 73°59′33″W / 40.70442°N 73.99238°W / 40.70442; -73.99238
Built 1922
Architect The carvings are attributed to John Zalar & Frank Carretta
NRHP reference # 75001482[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP February 6, 1975[3]
Removed from NRHP October 29, 1985[1]

Jane's Carousel (formerly Idora Park Merry-Go-Round) is a carved, wooden, 48-horse carousel that was built in 1922 for the Idora Park amusement park in Youngstown, Ohio by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company.[2] It was carved by John Zalar and Frank Carretta, each of whom are attributed with carvings on carousels constructed by PTC and other carousel companies like Looff.[4] Jane's Carousel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 6, 1975, the first carousel to receive such designation.[2][3]

When Idora Park closed to the public in 1984, the carousel was bought at auction by Jane and David Walentas and moved to Brooklyn, New York, for restoration.[2][5]

It was opened to the public at its new location in Brooklyn Bridge Park on the East River in Brooklyn on September 16, 2011.[2] The building commissioned by the Walentas' to house the carousel was designed by the French architect Jean Nouvel.

The merry-go-round is not currently listed in the National Register's database, having been delisted (having its listing status changed to "RN") on October 29, 1985.[6]

History of the ride[edit]

The wooden merry-go-round (or carousel), which was built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1922, features 48 carved horses attributed to John Zalar and Frank Carretta. The manufacturer designated it PTC #61.

There was an auction at Idora Park October 20–21. Mickey Rindin was running a refreshment stand at the auction, which he said was very crowded. Near the end of the auction, the auctioneers and the crowd came over to the refreshment stand and started taking bids on the equipment inside. The most poignant moment came with the auctioning of the carousel. First, bids were taken on each individual horse. Then, when each individual horse had a sale price, bids were taken for the whole carousel. The opening bid was the sum of the price for all the horses plus ten percent, which came to $385,000. A buyer was found, and a great cry went up from the crowd because the horses would stay together. 'They didn't want it to leave one horse at a time,' Rindin said.[7]

The Wurlitzer Style 153 Band Organ resides at DeBence Antique Music World in Franklin, Pennsylvania

At Idora's 1984 auction, the carousel was sold for $385,000 to Brooklyn, New York City, residents David and Jane Walentas (a former art director for Estee Lauder).[8] The carousel has 30 "jumpers," 18 "standers," two chariots, and a band organ facade. Walentas restored the merry-go-round over the ensuing 22 years, the culmination of which was revealed on October 13, 2006, when it was rechristened "Jane's Carousel." [9] Mrs. Walentas made it known that she wanted the carousel to be given a permanent place in Brooklyn Bridge Park, going so far as to pay a $500,000 fee for a pavilion to house it designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel.[10] Opinions differed at the time on whether the master plan for Brooklyn Bridge Park (which abuts Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park and borders the East River) could—or had ever been designed to—accommodate the carousel.

On June 20, 2009, New York Governor David Paterson announced:

Jane Walentas has agreed to donate her restored 1920s carousel, along with a pavilion and $3.45 million toward landscaping and improvements to the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation. The Carousel will be located on the western edge of the Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park inside the pavilion designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel. Ms. Walentas will also establish a non-profit entity, 'Friends of Jane’s Carousel,' responsible for carousel operations, expenses and revenue collection.[11]

On September 16, 2011, after 27 years of extensive renovation, Jane's Carousel opened in its new home in Brooklyn Bridge Park at 65 Water Street in Brooklyn. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg led the ribbon cutting ceremony. The carousel is housed in Nouvel's plexiglass "jewel box" structure. Once the carousel was fully operational, visitors could view, and sometimes ride it. In October 2012, the carousel suffered minor water damage due to Hurricane Sandy,[8] and the ride reopened a few months later.



  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b c d e http://janescarousel.com/
  3. ^ a b NRHP listings, 1966-1978
  4. ^ Morgan, Brian. "Major Carousel Builders and Carvers". Carousels.org. Retrieved 30 October 2015. 
  5. ^ Linonis, Linda M (October 14, 2005). "Merry-go-round leads to Idora ride". The Vindicator. Youngstown, OH. Retrieved April 27, 2009. 
  6. ^ The listing status change is reported within the downloadable version of the NRIS database. It should appear also in the printed NRHP listings, 1985 but is not readily found there.
  7. ^ Guerrieri, Vince. "Youngstown's Million Dollar Playground". NewColonist.com. Archived from the original on January 28, 2001. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  8. ^ a b DeLuca, Matthew (November 1, 2012). "Jane's Carousel Survives A Very Close Call With Hurricane Sandy". Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  9. ^ "History". janescarousel.com. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  10. ^ Robert (April 7, 2008). "As the Carousel Turns: Jean Nouvel or Bye Bye to Dubai?". Curbed.com. Archived from the original on April 11, 2008. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  11. ^ New York Governor Executive Chamber (June 20, 2009). "Governor Paterson Announces Major Step For Brooklyn Bridge Park". r8ny.com; Room Eight (Press release). Retrieved August 24, 2016. 

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