Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, David and Jane Walentas, Speaker Christine Quinn, Borough President Marty Markowitz and Jean Nouvel Open Jane’s Carousel at Newly Refurbished Portion of Brooklyn Bridge Park
Gift by David and Jane Walentas will be a year-round attraction for children of all ages
Today, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, David and Jane Walentas, Speaker Christine Quinn, Borough President Marty Markowitz and Jean Nouvel will preside at the ribbon cutting for Jane’s Carousel, a beautifully restored 1922 carousel housed in a specially commissioned all-weather acrylic and steel pavilion designed by Mr. Nouvel, the renowned French architect. The carousel and its pavilion are the gift of David and Jane Walentas to Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Today’s ceremony also marks the re-opening of the Empire Fulton Ferry section of Brooklyn Bridge Park. The extensive renovation includes a spacious new picnic grove, new lighting, an expanded lawn, innovative sustainability measures, additional plantings and trees, a new entrance at Dock Street and a connection to the Main Street section of the park.
“Jane’s Carousel adds a year-round, family attraction to Brooklyn Bridge Park, already one of New York City’s most popular destinations,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The growth of the area around the park has been driven to a large degree by Jane and David Walentas’ vision, and the permanent installation of the vintage carousel is a testament to their generosity.”
“Jane’s Carousel will add yet another jewel to what is quickly becoming one of New York City’s greatest treasures,” said Speaker Christine Quinn. “The City Council is proud to be a longtime supporter of Brooklyn Bridge Park, and I’m very excited for this new attraction to be available to families from all over the city. Thanks to David and Jane Walentas, and everyone who helped make Jane’s carousel a reality.”
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said “Since the mid-eighties, so many individuals have poured their hearts into Brooklyn Bridge Park. We’ve all had a dream of creating a public space that would do justice to this historic waterfront - an Eden on the East River that honors Brooklyn’s past, celebrates its present and anticipates its exciting future. And I can’t think of anything that represents all three more beautifully than Jane’s Carousel, a gorgeous gem from 1922, now housed in this stunning pavilion of acrylic and steel. We owe a big debt of gratitude to Jane and David Walentas, for donating this iconic carousel. I know finding and restoring this priceless piece of Americana has been Jane’s passion. So thank you for sharing that passion by giving this wonderful treasure to all of Brooklyn and New York City.”
Assemblywoman Joan L. Millman said “Jane’s Carousel will be a magnificent addition to Brooklyn Bridge Park and children of all ages will be able to enjoy a ride with sensational views.”
Jane Walentas said “My hope is that every child, whether from Brooklyn, across the river, or visiting from around the globe, will have the opportunity to experience this vintage Carousel in this extraordinary building set within this beautiful park. Imagine riding your favorite horse, with the Brooklyn Bridge towering overhead, as tug boats pass by. It doesn’t get much better!”
The carousel was built in 1922 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company and known as PTC #61. After the demise of the Idora Amusement Park in Youngstown, Ohio, David and Jane Walentas purchased the intact carousel at auction in 1984 and shipped it to Brooklyn, beginning a 25-year restoration that has culminated in today’s ribbon-cutting.
The carousel is a three row machine with 48 horses (30 jumpers and 18 standers) and two chariots. Scenery panels, rounding boards, crests, the center pole and platform are all original to the carousel.
The carousel will be maintained and operated by Friends of Jane’s Carousel, a not-for-profit entity, which is guaranteeing the carousel’s upkeep for a period of up to thirty years. Jane’s Carousel will be open daily (closed Tuesday) from 11am to 7pm. Tickets are $2 per ride; children under three years of age or under 42 inches in height ride for free with a paying adult. For more information on ticket packages and party arrangements, go to www.janescarousel.com.
The carousel pavilion was specially commissioned by Jane and David Walentas to allow the carousel to operate year-round. This elegant transparent cube, featuring retractable doors, showcases the historic carousel and makes the most of its spectacular setting on a bluff overlooking the East River, the skyline of Lower Manhattan, and the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. The carousel pavilion is designed by Jean Nouvel Ateliers, led by its namesake founder. The Pritzker Prize-winning architect and internationally renowned designer’s best known work includes the Cartier Foundation in Paris, the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and most recently, 100 Eleventh Avenue, an acclaimed residential building adjacent to the High Line. Mr. Nouvel is also the designer for a proposed residential tower for the Museum of Modern Art in Midtown.
The gift by David and Jane Walentas also includes a thorough landscape renovation of the 4.5 acre Empire Fulton Ferry section of Brooklyn Bridge Park. The most important feature of this renovation is the new pedestrian connection between this section and the Main Street portion of Brooklyn Bridge Park to the north, allowing a more seamless route for visitors.
Designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc., the refurbished landscape features 124 new trees, including species of Catalpa, Gingko, Honeylocust, Tupelo, Linden, Sweetgum, and various species of Oak, including Shingle, Pin, Scarlet, English and Chestnut, in addition to the retained Cottonwood tree. In addition, 289 shrubs were planted, including Inkberry, Winterberry, Bayberry, Summersweet, Winterhazel and Shore Rose. The regraded lawns have been increased by nearly 20,000 square feet.
The refurbishment includes lighting in the park for the first time, enabling this section of the park to remain open until 1:00am, consistent with other sections of Brooklyn Bridge Park. In addition, underground tanks have been installed to retain 60,000 gallons of stormwater to irrigate park plantings. These tanks reduce the park’s dependence on city water and conserve stormwater for future use.
“I thank Jane and David Walentas for their extraordinary vision and generosity to Brooklyn Bridge Park and to children worldwide. Starting tomorrow, Jane’s Carousel will become one of the most joyful and beloved destinations in the park and in the city. I also want to thank New York State Department Parks, the former steward of this location, for their close partnership and for helping us to knit together a seamless Brooklyn Bridge Park” said Regina Myer, President of Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, known as Brooklyn Bridge Park, is the not-for-profit entity responsible for the planning, construction, maintenance and operation of Brooklyn Bridge Park, an 85-acre sustainable waterfront park stretching 1.3 miles along Brooklyn’s East River shoreline. The park was designed by the award-winning firm of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. More information is available on the park’s website: www.brooklynbridgeparknyc.org.
Ellen Ryan, Brooklyn Bridge Park, firstname.lastname@example.org 718-222-9216
Adam Abdalla, Jane’s Carousel, email@example.com 212-228-5555