In many families, several generations have fond memories of riding on the carousel as children, and have passed along the tradition by taking their own children or grandchildren for their first ride.
The Forest Park Carousel is still going strong and is open for 2017 on weekends until Memorial Day, after which it will be open seven days a week throughout the summer, with free clown and magic shows scheduled every Saturday at 2 and 4 p.m.
The addition of the Woodhaven Express Train two summers ago created additional excitement around the Forest Park Carousel, giving kids an extra ride to go on. Well, get prepared for a bit more excitement as one more ride is about to debut: The Frog Hopper.
This is going to be very popular with kids. According to the carousel operator's website, “after being pulled gently to the top, guests are sent for a ride that is just one giggle-inducing jump after another.”
Having witnessed this ride firsthand at the carousel’s sister park in Flushing, we can attest that kids will absolutely love this ride.
The Frog Hopper should be up and jumping by the end of June, just in time for the start of summer, and is going to transform our carousel into an exciting mini-amusement park.
This will make it an even more popular spot for children’s birthday parties. Call (718) 788-2676 for more information on holding your party there.
We were very fortunate the day that New York Carousel Entertainment was selected to be the stewards of our historic carousel’s future.
They have been committed to the growth and well-being of the carousel site while, at the same time, completely reverent of the carousel’s past and the feelings that the people of Woodhaven have for it.
Artistically, the Forest Park Carousel is particularly notable, as it was the handiwork of the legendary master carver Daniel Muller.
Muller came to the United States from Germany as a child in the 1880s, and as a young man he and his brother worked for Gustav Dentzel, a renowned carousel builder in his own right.
Dentzel’s father built carousels in Germany going back to the mid-18th century. Muller took advantage of the opportunity to learn all of these old-world skills from Dentzel and blended it with his own realistic style to carve out a name for himself, and in 1903, D.C. Muller and Bro. Company was founded.
Muller’s carvings were notable not only for being very beautiful and realistic, but in some cases the carvings were militaristic with horses sporting bugles, swords and canteens.
Over 14 years, D.C. Muller and Bro. created over a dozen carousels but, sadly, today only two remain: one in Cedar Point, Ohio, and the one right here in Forest Park.
The Forest Park Carousel contains three rows of carvings. The outer row contains 13 standing horses, three menagerie animals and two chariots. The inner two rows each contain 18 jumping horses for a total of 36.
While the Forest Park Carousel is often referred to as a Muller carousel, you will also find a few carvings from Dentzel and Charles Carmel, another notable carousel artist of the same era, on the inner two rows.
Two years ago the Forest Park Carousel underwent a major overhaul, with many of the century-old gears and bearings replaced, a repair job that took months and required that the carousel be taken completely apart, piece by piece.
“We did this so it can run for another 100 years in this very spot,” says David Galst, managing director of New York Carousel. “We know that people are very protective of this carousel and we want it to last forever.”
The Forest Park Carousel has also established themselves as a friendly partner in the community, working with several charitable groups and organizations, including the Woodhaven Cultural & Historical Society.
We came so close to losing this carousel a few years ago, it’s mind-boggling to think how lucky we’ve been and how good this has turned out.
Make sure you visit the landmarked Forest Park Carousel this summer to see the great work they’ve done in not only bringing our carousel back to life, but transforming it into an amazing place for the entire family to visit.