With the first model originally installed in 1871, the Carousel is one of Central Park’s most popular and famous attractions. Since the first carousel arrived, there have been a total of four distinct models with the original model being powered by a horse or mule which walked in a concealed compartment underground below the attraction. The animals were taught to start and stop with the sound of a foot tap from the ride’s operator above.
The carousel installed at Central Park today –the Friedsam Memorial Carousel –is considered one of New York City’s finest examples of American folk art. Crafted in 1908 by artisans Solomon Stein and Harry Goldstein, the carousel features 57 hand-carved brightly caparisoned horses, two ornately embellished chariots, and a mechanical organ. The structure was found in an old BMT trolley terminal at Coney Island. It was donated to the Central Park by the Michael Friedsam Foundation in 1951. A ceremonial marker was placed on the exterior wall of the carousel building on the carousel’s dedication day on July 2, 1951. The Friedsam Memorial Carousel is one of the nation’s largest merry-go-rounds and a beloved year-round attraction for New Yorkers and tourists alike.
In addition to the many memories the carousel holds for children across the globe, the Central Park Carousel was notably mentioned in J. D. Salinger’s novel “The Catcher in the Rye” and is featured in the Marvel TV series “The Punisher” (though filming took place at the Forest Park carousel in Queens).
Located mid-park at 64th Street at the south end of Central Park, the Central Park Carousel is one of several attractions that make up the Children’s District an area designed for children and their caregivers. It has been cherished by the children, families for over 150 years and continues to be a cherished amusement to this day.
The Central Park Carousel will be open daily from 11AM-5PM.