According to the Parks Department, the Forest Park Carousel is close to getting a new concessionaire.
The Parks Department said that they were happy with the potential concessionaires they met with after a February viewing of the carousel. A spokesperson said that the department anticipates announcing the new concessionaire as early as March.
The concessionaire will also be responsible for the Flushing Meadows Corona Park carousel. Both carousels were operated by New York One LLC, but the company abandoned the Forest Park carousel in 2008. However, it remained operating the Flushing Meadows carousel.
“This is wonderful news,” said Maria Thomson, executive director of the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation. “We’ve been waiting so long for this, it’s a dream come true.”
Some insiders are saying that Central Amusement International LLC, the company which runs Coney Island’s Luna Park, might get the nod to run the historic carousels, but the department did not confirm whether that was true.
Thomson has been fighting to get the carousel landmarked for 20 years.
“As soon as we get a concessionaire, then we have to get it landmarked,” she said.
She, along with the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association and some members of Community Board 9, made a huge push last year to get the carousel landmarked so that it could be protected in the future.
But they backed off fighting for it because they did not want to scare off any potential concessionaires.
“Once you get it landmarked, it’s hard to change things,” said Ed Wendell, president of the WRBA.
The department said that the chosen operator will be in place in time for the spring/summer season.
“This is very exciting,” Wendell said. “It’s been a long time coming.”
Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley also expressed her excitement.
“I’m extremely pleased the Parks Department said it is ready to pick a new concessionaire to operate the Forest Park Carousel by this spring,” she said in a statement. “With a proven vendor in place, I’m confident the carousel can once again become a great centerpiece and attraction for the park and neighborhood residents.”