After four years of being practically abandoned, The Forest Park Carousel was given a second chance and people have come in droves to ride the merry-go-round.
Ami Abramson, who is from NY Carousel, the concessionaire that was ultimately selected to operate the carousels at both Forest Park and Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, said that the community has welcomed the carousel back with open arms.
“The response of the residents has been tremendous,” he said. “We’ve been happy to be a part of this community.”
According to Abramson, the carousel has received almost 20,000 rides since its Memorial Day reopening.
NY Carousel won the bid to take control of both carousels after a long search, which included five rounds of bidding as the Department of Parks and Recreation pursued a new concessionaire. The previous operator’s contract expired in 2008.
The contract was eventually tied to being in charge of both carousels and NY Carousel emerged as the operator.
Now the merry-go-round is in full steam and some additions have been included next to the carousel.
Picnic tables and tents are among the inclusions. Some tables are exclusively for the public, while others are set aside for reserved parties. Those seats can only be used by the public when the table is not under a reservation. The snack bar also opened at the beginning of July.
Ed Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, said that he has also heard a positive response from people in the neighborhood.
“A lot of people will tell us when they’ve been over there,” he said.
Wendell added that he think he’ll hear more stories of people visiting the carousel once they add more rides to the surrounding area.
Abramson said that it is considering adding one or two rides adjacent to the carousel within the area that it’s in.
As for when they would expand to rides outside of the gates of the carousel, he said that this is something that is still to be determined.
NY Carousel does have an agreement with the Parks Department, Abramson said, to expand outside of the carousel , but when that would actually happen depends on the demand the area gets.
He said that the two months that it has been open is not a big enough sample to see how much demand there is to add other rides and that he expects to take up to three years to fully determine that.
The Carousel will host its first fundraiser since reopening on Friday, August 17. It’s an event to benefit the New York City chapter of the Alzheimer’s association.
All carousel rides and concessions purchased during the two hour event will be donated to that association.
Abramson said that he’s always open to hosting fundraisers like that at the merry-go-round.
“Being able to use the carousel both for entertainment and for a worthy cause is exciting,”
By Luis Gronda