To call the Forest Park Carousel a rare work of art is understatement. In an age when we’re so often attached to complex 21st century electronic devices, a simple ride on a carousel still enchants its young and young-at-heart riders, just as it did those who rode carousels a century ago. In the Golden Age of carousels, between 1880 and around 1930, artists and park owners created some 4,000 carousels in the United States, according to the International Museum of Carousel Art. Of those thousands, only 150 are intact today. The Forest Park Carousel is one of those survivors.
It’s not only a rarity numbers-wise, but in beauty, exquisiteness, and handmade artistry. The carousel in Woodhaven, Queens is one of just two remaining carousels that Daniel C. Muller carved by hand out of wood in elaborate, expressive detail just over 100 years ago. Among a group of master carvers during the Golden Age, Muller stood out for his ability to create horses and other animals that have lifelike features, power, and intricacy. Muller and his brother, Alfred, created some 12 carousels through their small company, D.C. Muller and Brother Co. This carousel in Queens and one in Cedar Point, Ohio, are the only two surviving, according to the National Carousel Association.
Given the Forest Park Carousel’s distinction, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) on Tuesday, June 25, designated it as a landmark. Capping an effort by fans, local groups, and Queens and neighborhood civic leaders, the landmark designation ensures the carousel’s preservation as a Woodhaven attraction for future generations. It is located just north of West Main Drive in this 538-acre park. The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation owns the carousel. [Read more →]