By Brooklyn Eagle Staff
The Friends of Jane’s Carousel have announced that Saturday, May 7, will become Jane’s Carousel Day to commemorate the history, beauty and impact of the world-famous carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park on the Brooklyn waterfront.
Celebrating the carousel turning 100 this year and honoring the late artist Jane Walentas, who meticulously restored the carousel for 22 years, Friends of Jane’s Carousel will host a lively event with a proclamation from New York City Mayor Eric Adams and free rides for the community.
Built in 1922 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company for Idora Park in Youngstown, Ohio, the carousel (PTC #61) is a classic three-row machine with 48 horses and two chariots featuring artful carvings by Frank Caretta, one of the country’s best master carvers.
As the first carousel placed on the National Register of Historic Places, PTC #61’s horses and chariots are consid- ered among the finest ever made.
David and Jane Walentas purchased the historic carousel at the auction of Idora Park after the park closed in 1984, to place it at Brooklyn Bridge Park. An artist with a master’s degree in Fine Arts from NYU, Jane spent 22 years scrupulously restoring the carousel to its original grandeur.
With an xacto knife, decades of layers upon layers of paint were scraped off to reveal the original designs and colors. With many coats of paint removed, the extraordinary
carvings were unveiled and ornamentation was ex- posed; the early, untouched scenery panels and paintings were cleaned of their old blackened varnish; and many necessary carpentry repairs were made.
After years of working with local artists at a studio at 55 Washington St. in
DUMBO, and uncovering years of detailed photo- graphs, color matches and drawings, the carousel was revitalized to its original representation and detail.
In 2011, PTC #61 was named Jane’s Carousel and placed in Brooklyn Bridge Park, now welcoming over a million riders per year.
The one-of-a-kind carousel is housed inside a contemporary pavilion designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel.
“The Walentas family is tremendously proud to commemorate Jane’s Carousel in honor of Jane’s great dedication and restoration efforts of this historic structure into an iconic attraction in New York City,” said Jed and David Walentas. “Jane’s Carousel was truly the spark that made Brooklyn Bridge Park a destination around the world, making the area a desirable place to visit, live and work to this day.” David is a well- known real estate developer who is largely responsible for the transformation of DUMBO; Jed, his son, is a principal at Two Trees Management.
“Jane’s Carousel has be- come an iconic marker of New York City’s skyline around the world, welcoming New Yorkers and tourists alike to Brooklyn Bridge Park,” says Katie Roth, executive director of Friends of Jane’s Carousel. “This carousel is one of the most unique in the world due to its scrupulous restoration efforts by late artist Jane Walentas.”