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Historic Central Park Carousel just one of the attractions in New York City’s celebrated urban park

September 2022

The Central Park Carousel, known officially the Michael Friedsam Memorial Carousel, is a vintage carousel built by Solomon Stein and Harry Goldstein in 1908. It’s one of the largest merry-go-rounds in the United States, with 57 hand-carved horses (52 jumpers and 5 standers) and two chariots.

Originally inside the trolley terminal at Coney Island, the wood-carved carousel operated at that location until the 1940s.

In 1951, it was re-located to Central Park, replacing three preceding carousels dating back to 1871, two of which were destroyed by fires in 1924 and 1950. A new structure was built around it to protect it from the harsh New York winters.

The carousel was renovated in 1982 by the Central Park Conservancy, using a donation from the Alan and Katherine Stroock Fund, a private foundation, founded in New York City in 1960.

In 2010, when the city cancelled the contract with the company that managed the historic Carousel, a ten-year contract was signed with The Trump Organization, run by future President Donald Trump. As part of the contract, The Trump Organization agreed to $400,000 in renovations over ten years, along with the yearly leasing costs of $250,000, later scaled up to $325,000.

The contract with the Trump Organization was extended through 2021, but then abruptly cancelled on 13 January 2021, in response to the the former President’s alleged complicity in the storming of the Capital building in Washington, D.C., on 6 January 2021.

Central Amusement International, the operator of Victoria Gardens and Luna Park, was given a five-year contact in February 2021.

The music is provided by the Ruth & Sohn Model 33 band organ, which plays a variety of waltzes, marches and polkas. Originally converted to play Wurlitzer 150 rolls, it was upgraded to a a MIDI sequencer in August 2013, eliminating the need for the music rolls.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

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