Wanna grab the brass ring in the new Coney Island? New York City is seeking an operator for Coney’s historic B & B Carousell, which was saved from auction in 2005 when the City purchased the ride for $1.8 million. If you fancy the idea of running it, there’s a proposers meeting on Tuesday at 11 am at the Arsenal in Central Park that you shouldn’t miss. Last month the City’s Parks Department issued an RFP (Request for Proposals) to operate and maintain the restored 1919 carousel at the new Steeplechase Plaza next to the landmark Parachute Jump. Proposals to operate the B & B are due on January 17, 2012. (December 30, 2011 Update: Parks sent out an addendum today to provide a website where available plans may be downloaded and extended the deadline to January 30th)
In the RFP, the $2.00 ticket price for a whirl on the Central Park Carousel is cited as a point of reference for proposers. In 2009, the Central Park Carousel took in $188,123 and the concession fee there is $7,500 per month, according to the New York Post. You may not get rich selling tickets, but the ten-year lease for the B & B also includes a food service facility, merchandise kiosks, vending machines and a special event room, which is expected to be a popular spot for birthday parties.
The carousels in Central Park and Prospect Park as well as the horses on the Flushing Meadows Carousel were all relocated from Coney Island, which once had dozens of operating carousels. B & B is short for Bishoff and Brienstein, who brought the carousel back home to Coney Island from New Jersey’s Bertrand Island in 1932. The frame was the work of Coney’s William F. Mangels Carousell Works and the carvings were done by Charles Carmel. Jimmy McCullough and Mike Saltzstein owned and operated the ride since the 1970s.
These snapshots of the B & B were taken with a film camera in August 2005 after the City purchased the carousel. It was the last time that we saw the B & B. The ride was soon packed up and moved from its longtime location on the north side of Surf Avenue and sent to Ohio for restoration. A fairground art collector once told us that the scenic art gracing the B & B and its pavilion was the work of August Wolfinger, a German immigrant who worked closely with Mangels. As a banner painter he was known as “The Michelangelo of the Midway.” Some of the medallions and signs shown in the photos will be back on view when the B & B reopens in Steeplechase Plaza in 2013. The ride will be installed in a glass pavilion with large-scale neon lettering spelling B & B CAROUSELL with a double L, of course.
Related posts on ATZ…
February 1, 2011: Bring Back the Whip! A Birthday Gift for William F Mangels
December 8, 2010: Children’s Book Tells Coney Island Carousel Carver’s Story
February 26, 2010: Made in Brooklyn: The World’s Only Jet-Powered Merry-Go-Round