As the Forest Park carousel whirred to life, the three prospective operators who are considering submitting proposals to operate the city-owned attraction stood next to the exit.
While the carousel looks about as it did in 2009, when the shutters came down and the motor went off, the prospective operators worried about whether or not it would be a money pit. The food concession was gutted—one of its few remaining appliances was a rotary pay phone—and the carousel itself needs restoration.
Additionally, if a bidder proposes running an additional amusement area, all the trees, grass and city benches south of the carousel toward Woodhaven Boulevard would be their responsibility, said Evan George, the Parks Department project manager in charge of finding a concessionaire for the carousel.
Sal Napolitano, who has managed carousels for more than 30 years, was at Wednesday Parks Department tour. Napolitano has spent his career at the Central Park carousel, and has stayed on through several vendors, including New York One LLC, which let its Forest Park contract lapse in 2009.
His son Michael was running the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park carousel for New York One. In 2009, Napolitano told The New York Times—referencing his work as a concessionaire—“If you find something you like and someone pays you—that’s the trick. Then you’re working and you’re happy.”
As he left the carousel, just before declining a full interview, Napolitano said, “It needs a lot of work.”
Proposals are due May 13.
by David J. Harvey