Jean dark! Nouvel’s carousel ‘lantern’ is not working

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

The most-ballyhooed feature of Jane’s Carousel — a “lantern”-like, galloping horse projection envisioned by designer Jean Nouvel — has been scratched.

Jane Walentas, the wife of mega-developer David Walentas and artist who lovingly restored the 1920s-era carnival ride, said the kleig lights needed to create the “magic lantern” effect are too hot for all her pretty acrylic-painted horses — so Nouvel will have to wait.

“Most people say, ‘Who cares?’ It looks beautiful without the shadows, ” said Walentas, who spent 22 years restoring the horses. “We still believe in Jean Nouvel’s concept. We’re looking for other ways to do it. We just don’t want to burn up the carousel.”

For now, the $9-million, starchitect-designed glass pavilion remains a pretty glowing box after hours, sitting near Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1.

Walentas unveiled the carousel and its fancy home on Sept. 15 at a bash featuring the city’s elite. Back then, Nouvel boasted about the curtains that would come down at night and project shadows of the prancing horses.

“It’s like a magic lantern, like a musical box, and you have the dance of the horses in the middle of these two bridges,” he told international culture magazine Artinfo. “It’s an alive little monument, very fragile.”

The illuminated perimeter of the ride is not what Nouvel envisioned, but DUMBO residents don’t seem to mind.

“I like it anyway,” said Michael Thomas. “It’s like the Empire State Building — I don’t care what color it is. The most important thing is that it keeps kids happy during the day.”

Once called the Idora Park Merry-Go-Round, the carousel remained in an Ohio amusement park until the Walentases bought it for $385,000 at an auction in 1984.

The couple hired a team that toiled for 12 years, scraping away many layers of varnish to reveal the horses’ original carvings and colors. Jane Walentas later added gold leaf and even hired a Mercedes detailer to draw decorations on the reigns and saddles.

The carousel has averaged 4,000 rides per week, at $2 a pop.

Jane’s Carousel at Brooklyn Bridge Park [Dock and Water streets in DUMBO, (718) 222-2502]. Thur–Sun, 11 am–6 pm. For info, visit

Reach Kate Briquelet at or by calling her at (718) 260-2511.
Updated 5:27 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

al pankin from downtown says:
it is a great public service to the community. parents and kids alike.
Nov. 15, 2011, 2 pm
Narrator from Dumbo says:
They need to take a look at LED Lighting. With their long lifetime and nearly heatless light output this would be a great opportunity to "go green" and fulfill the beautiful "Magic Lantern" effect.
Nov. 15, 2011, 3:10 pm

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: