FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 9, 2005
MAYOR BLOOMBERG ANNOUNCES AGREEMENT TO KEEP HISTORIC CAROUSEL IN CONEY ISLAND
City is Successful in Its Bid to Acquire B & B Carousell
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced today that the owners of the historic Bishoff & Brienstein (B & B) Carousell have agreed to sell the carousel to the City of New York so that it will remain in Coney Island. The magnificent 50-horse amusement attraction, complete with four chariots, band organ and detailed trappings, has been a fixture on Surf Avenue in Coney Island for over 70 years. The agreement calls for the City to acquire the carousel for $1.8 million and, after restoration, return it to Coney Island for public use. The $1.8 million purchase price will come from City funds; however the City in discussions with potential private donors to defray some of the cost. The agreement averted the carousel’s sale at auction and the possibility it being relocated, probably piece-meal, to other parts of the United States.
“The agreement reached with the McCullough family ensures that this remarkable part of Coney Island’s rich history will remain where it belongs for the enjoyment of future generations,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “As we move forward with our economic development projects to revitalize the area, we must not lose sight of its unique past. I want to thank the Coney Island Development Corporation, the City Carousel Conservancy and the McCullough family for helping us to reach this important agreement.”
“The B & B Carousell is a vital part of Coney Island’s rich history,” said Councilmember Domenic M. Recchia, Jr. “I am pleased that through the efforts of the City Council and Mayor Bloomberg we will be able to preserve this legendary and beloved piece of Brooklyn's history.”
The B & B Carousell which dates from 1919 is 45 feet wide and 20 feet tall. Forty-nine of its horses were hand-carved by Brooklynite Charles Carmel. Its lead horse, a fully armored horse with the image of Abraham Lincoln in its trappings, was produced by another legendary Brooklyn carving shop, the studio of Marcus Charles Illions. Although it was originally located in New Jersey, it has been in Coney Island and owned by the McCullough family since 1932. In the early twentieth century, Coney Island had as many as 25 carousels, of which only the B & B remains.
“Coney Island is the ultimate in American character and funk – the whole world knows it,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. “I’ve promised Brooklynites that as Coney Island grows to meet 21st century tastes and expectations, we will preserve its character and honor its characters – present and past. I want to thank Josh Sirefman and EDC’s Kate Collignon and, of course, the Mayor, for helping me keep my word. Every great city embraces the future while celebrating its own unique history. By ensuring a permanent place for the carousel here in Coney Island, Brooklyn has grabbed the brass ring!”
“This a great day for Coney Island,” said Joshua Sirefman, CEO of the Coney Island Development Corporation (CIDC). “We are all pleased that the carousel will remain in Coney Island, along with the Parachute Jump and the famed Cyclone roller coaster. It is of paramount importance that as we move forward with plans for the future of Coney Island, we also build on its rich heritage.”
Recent City investments in Coney Island include the $39 million construction of the highly successful baseball stadium, KeySpan Park, and the $18 million restoration of the Riegleman Boardwalk with the construction of new comfort and lifeguard stations. In addition, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has completed a $240 million dollar renovation of the Stillwell Avenue subway station. In addition, the New York Aquarium is currently undergoing a $45 million renovation.
In the fall, the Mayor will be presenting the Coney Island Redevelopment Plan. The plan is the result of a year and a half collaboration among City and State agencies, local elected officials, community members and business leaders.
Edward Skyler / Robert Lawson (212) 788-2958
Michael Sherman (Economic Development Corporation)
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