Carousels, like ferris wheels and sunsets, are intrinsically photogenic—but, like ferris wheels and sunsets, tend to look alarmingly the same. Not so Jane’s Carousel, the beguilingly beautiful antique carousel that graces a stretch of Brooklyn Bridge Park along New York City’s East River.
Spared the baleful fate of being auctioned off in pieces, the hand-carved, lushly ornamental 1922 carousel, which began life in Youngstown, Ohio, was snapped up in its entirety by real estate developer David Walentas, and his wife Jane, who envisioned bigger things for the bruised and battered fleet of 48 lavishly embellished horses and two chariots. Jane Walentas, the merry-go-round’s namesake, spearheaded a painstaking restoration effort that spanned more than 2 decades, culminating in the carousel’s installation along the Brooklyn riverfront, and a rapturous public unveiling in 2011.
Fittingly encased like a precious jewel in a breathtakingly elegant steel and lucite pavilion—designed with admirable restraint by Jean Nouvel—Jane’s Carousel is, much like New York City itself, a singular visionary accomplishment, a dazzling juxtaposition of old and new, never to be mistaken for anything else.Images: Jane’s Carousel; Promila Shastri