It doesn’t happen very often that you come home from an auction… with a carousel! It sure happened to Jane Walentas. It all fitted well in the plan her husband had for Dumbo’s park. (Dumbo: Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass)
The carousel was built in 1922 and stood in Youngstown, Ohio. It barely escaped a fire and finally was put up for auction in 1984. In a very bad state.
Jane was able to buy the carousel as a whole, preventing its dismanteling and dispersion in pieces.
A timeconsuming and precise labor of restoration began in her workplace in Dumbo.
Layers and layers of paint had to be scraped off, untill the first and original layer came to the surface. The exquisitely carved wooden horses have been restored to their heyday splendor. Surely, the motor and electrical wiring have been replaced to meet with today’s standards.
Nearly 25 years after the auction, the organ is playing again.
Renowned architect Jean Nouvel designed an acrylic pavilion to protect the horses from the elements. It’s like a simple cristal box that holds a treasure. It opens completely on two sides and allows views in all directions.
Jane’s Carousel is a wonderful century-old piece of popular entertainment that speaks to everybody’s imagination. Jean Nouvel’s jewelry box is a fine example of modern day design.
But what makes the carousel so special is, whithout any doubt, its location.
Freestanding on the Dumbo waterfront! Right between Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges! A ride on Jane’s Carousel offers unbeatable views! All that for 2 dollars!