The Little Carousel That Could

Nov 1 2012 @ 7:45pm

Janes

John Seabrook explains the significance of the above image:

Few pictures of Hurricane Sandy captured both the enormity of the disaster and the unquenchable spirit buried deep in the city’s core better than the image of Jane’s Carousel, the glass-enclosed merry-go-round on the waterfront near the Brooklyn Bridge, taken at the height of the storm. The photo shows the dark water lapping at the horses’ hooves, with the eerie blacked-out lower-Manhattan skyline in the background, and the festive riderless ponies twinkling merrily in the bright yellow light. Originally posted on Instagram and picked up by CNN, the picture was seen all around the world; at one point that night it was at the top of Twitter’s trends. 

See a wider shot here. Matthew DeLuca dives into the carousel's history:

The 48 horses and four chariots that make up what’s now called Jane’s Carousel—after [owner Jane] Walentas—brought delight to children at Idora Park in Youngstown, Ohio—then a prospering steel town—in 1922. After the city declined along with the steel industry in the 1970s, a fire consumed the park, but spared the historic carousel—in 1974, it became the first one ever listed on the National Register of Historic Places—which went up for auction in 1984.

After she and her husband purchased the ride, Walentas spent parts of three decades restoring it, and in 2011 they installed it on the waterfront as part of a $3.45 million gift to the park. The good news:

It may take a couple days to pump the water out of the basement, but apart from some warping of the carousel’s floor, the carnival ride looks to have mostly made it through unscathed, Walentas said. If all goes well, she said she might have it up and running again for birthdays in a couple of months.

(Photo by Brian Morrissey, via Ana Andjelic on Instagram)