Ride on! Bridge ‘Park’ directors accept Jane’s Carousel

The Brooklyn Paper
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A DUMBO real-estate titan and his wife’s dream of donating her lovingly restored, 1920s-era carousel to the Brooklyn Bridge Park waterfront development was finally realized on Thursday when state officials finally accepted the gift.

The directors of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation approved David and Jane Walentases’ gift of the so-called “Jane’s Carousel” and $3.45 million to landscape and operate it past the park’s closing time — and agreed to house it in a pavilion designed by French architect Jean Nouvel.

The Walentases have long sought to get the refurbished carousel into Brooklyn Bridge Park, which is slated to run along the entire waterfront of gentrifying DUMBO — a neighborhood they largely own.

The couple have been fans of Nouvel since at least 1999, when he designed a glass-sided hotel for a site inside the current footprint of the 1.3-mile waterfront park and development stretching from the Manhattan Bridge to Atlantic Avenue.

That project died amid community opposition, though there is a hotel slated for roughly the same location inside the park.

The Walentases’ reached out to Nouvel again two years ago, commissioning an all-weather facility for the carousel that Jane Walentas has been restoring since 1984.

For the last few years, it’s been something of a museum piece in a storefront on Water Street that’s too small to actually allow anyone to ride the painted ponies as they creepily go up and down.

Jennifer Klein, the project director, couldn’t say exactly when kids would finally be able to get in the saddle inside the park, whose first permanent section is slated to open next month.

But she did announce that the Walentases are donating $3.45 million for improvements to the $350-million park and development, money that will allow the tourist-friendly carousel’s hours to be extended past the park’s closing time, possibly until 1 am.

Maintenance and operations will be covered by a humble ticket price that will “most likely” follow that of the Central Park Carousel ($2 per three-minute ride).

Excess dough will go into the park’s $15-million annual maintenance budget, Klein said.

Updated 5:16 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Eric McClure from Park Slope says:
Thank you, Brooklyn Paper, for continuing to place quotation marks around Brooklyn Bridge 'Park.'
Dec. 18, 2009, 12:46 am
Bill from Cobble Hill says:
I've thought the quotation marks thing over and I think that it's silly and biased. If there isn't going to be a public park there at all, I could see why it would be necessary to keep this up. In light of the fact that there will be acres and acres and acres of park there, it doesn't really fly. Maybe the Brooklyn Paper should do a story on what their tipping point for Park is versus "Park" - is ten acres of public open space enough to call something a park? Is twenty, forty, sixty, etc? There may be a lot of people in the city who thought they were happy with their neighborhood park, only to find out they've been downgraded to "park".
Dec. 18, 2009, 1:49 am
Bob from Brooklyn Heights says:
Quotation marks certainly made sense during the years when the so-called "park" was a real-estate development masquerading as a park. Now, because real-estate development is [temporarily] impossible, some actual park is underway; what happens in the future is anyone's guess.

Whether the Brooklyn Paper continues to use quote marks will presumably be decided based on its level of optimism and trust of those who, until recently, had shown themselves to not be proper "park" stewards.

Perhaps the Brooklyn Paper deserves some credit, quotation marks and all, for having relentlessly focused attention on what had been shaping up to be nothing short of waterfront malfeasance.
Dec. 18, 2009, 11:10 am
Joe from Greenpoint says:
Is it going to be officially mapped park land owned by NYC DPR? If not, I see the reason for calling it a "park".
Dec. 18, 2009, 12:07 pm
Bill from Cobble Hill says:
Joe, that's a good question. I don't know how they do it at other places that weren't built and aren't operated by the Parks Department - like Hudson River Park and the parks in Battery Park City. It would be interesting to hear how the definition of mapped park land applies when public places like these are not run or directly owned by city parks. (Brooklyn Paper - here's a good idea for a story).

It had been my understanding that once the park was built that there would be no going back and changing the park/development boundaries after the fact. In other words, the park that gets built will be a park and the area that has been set aside for development will be a "park".
Dec. 18, 2009, 1:08 pm
Publius from Bklyn Heights says:
Due to its lack of journalism standards, I put quotations marks around the so-called Brooklyn "Paper".
Dec. 19, 2009, 4:32 pm
Leon from Brooklyn Heights says:
Publius is exactly right. The Brooklyn "Paper" it is!!
Dec. 21, 2009, 5:42 pm

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