Concettina Died and Other Stories of the East Side

I went to Idora Park this weekend, posted July 1, 2008 at 10:11 PM


Well, actually, you know, Idora Park's been closed for a while. Like since the end of the 1984 season. The Wild Cat burned, and that was that--the rides, and the park, were over.

But after twenty years of painstaking restoration, the carousel from Idora Park has been quietly spinning for a couple years right here in ol' Brooklyn. Jane Walentas, wife of the DUMBO real estate king (DUMBO, for you non-NYers, is the obnoxious name realtors gave to the neighborhood Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). The Walentas bought the carousel from Idora in the original auction after that last tragic season. And then Jane got to work.

She debuted the restored ride in 2006. It sits in an old brick garage on Water Street--a stone's throw from the Brooklyn Bridge. The Walentas are trying to have the carousel placed in the Brooklyn Bridge Park, but plans for the park--like every other development in NYC right now--are fraught with political complexities (read political incompetence and lack of will). So while we wait for the park to get its infrastructure straight, the ride spins in its slow elegance in a garage. No passengers allowed.

The restoration is lovely. The carousel looks simply magnificent--fresh, rich, and perfect. When someone enters to view it, an attendant switches the ride on and voila--the music comes on, the horses gallup, and the carriages spin round and round. I hope I can ride it again someday....

A few more of my pix are here, and here--courtesy of the good folks at Gowanus Lounge--is a video of what's now called "Jane's Carousel"....

And just in case you want to know why Idora Park was so beloved--well, the Wild Cat was an amazing roller coaster:

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