If I could travel back in time there are so many things I would love to see. I would love to see historical events and take part in New York City during the glam days when the streets were paved with mansions instead of the Lord and Taylors of the world. But most of all I wish I could see what my family members lives were like as children. Despite how much you know to be a fly on the wall is a whole other thing.
I have begun preserving and saving mementos from my grandmother, mother, and now my life journey in hopes of sharing them with my forthcoming children. I hope our rich personal history will add to the fabric of their lives.
Now I have now found a place that existed in the past, present, and hopefully future, that I can also bring those children to someday. It is the Forest Hills Carousel in Queens, New York.
When my mother was a child growing up in Ridgewood, Queens she used to go to the Forest Hills Carousel. For what seems like years she has been wanting to go back and visit since it is still around. After looking it up I realized it was a made a National Historic Landmark in 2013.
According to their website:
“It became the first carousel and the third amusement ride to be granted such a designation. (The Parachute Jump, which like the Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel is in Coney Island, also has landmark status but no longer functions as a ride).”
This sealed the deal for me and we picked out a day to visit.
We decided to go and take along my B.F.F. and her two small children. In effect these are my children and my mother’s grandchildren, especially for the time being. Besides what kid doesn’t like a carousel? Certainly not these two, they love a ride on the merry-go-round.
It is impressive to note that this carousel was first built in 1910 and has three rows to ride on and they include a total of thirty-six horses, thirteen standing horses, a deer, a tiger, and a lion. A ticket for one ride costs three dollars. In this day and age it is certainly worth that. It is one of the few things you can still afford to take children to unlike the movies which now costs a small fortune.
Daniel Muller first began carving these animals in 1903 and up until 1973 this particular carousel was in Lakeview Park, in Massachusetts. Muller was known for his artistic training and his background allowed for the depth of detail you see today. Even the horses that go up and down have “real” hair as opposed to just paint. The final row out of the three on this ride remains stationary. I suppose that is for those too little or too afraid to chance those in constant motion.
Back in 1966 the original carousel was completely lost in a fire. In 1971 this current carousel (carved by Muller) left Massachusetts and underwent two years of restoration. It opened in Queens in 1973. It is only one of two that Muller created that are still in existence today.
In 2009 it was closed down once more but reopened with great fanfare in 2012. It is supposed to be going under additional restoration that is expected to last several years but looked intact to me during my visit. When we were there I have to say I thought it looked pretty good. It had an old timey feeling to it but it did not look ragged it in any way. It was something you don’t see on every one in a typical amusement park setting. I loved that old fashioned feel as we waited on line with the throngs of kids excited to get on.
My niece and nephew were picking out their horses as soon as we got there. There was no line to purchase a ticket and if we haven’t been stuck in a mob of Girl Scouts we would have gotten right on. But oh well waiting for a few minutes was okay because this past weekend was a hot one.
Once on everyone was excited although the kids suddenly became camera shy. Yes I did go on but did not get on any animals. I had to say that I have been on this Historic site and didn’t just watch from the sidelines. That wouldn’t have made any sense to me. The ride last a few minutes and I was happy when it was over. It turns out migraines and merry-go-rounds equal intense dizziness. From there it was time to go back to my house for a play date, indoors.
It was so worth minor effort it took to get there especially when my nephew said it was the best part of his day. Sharing this special place with them was mine.
For More Information: