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Posts Tagged ‘B & B Carousell’

Illions Horse on the B&B Carousell, Coney Island

Illions Horse on the B&B Carousell, Coney Island Photo via Luna Park NYC Facebook

The lead horse on the beautifully restored and just reopened B&B Carousell is a rare steed. Sumptuous detailing on its trappings includes a relief of Abe Lincoln and the Coney Island carver‘s signature “Built by MC Illions.” According to carousel historian Marianne Stevens, the horse was carved in 1909, the same year the Lincoln penny was issued, in honor of the Centennial of Lincoln’s birth. It was one of four Lincoln horses carved by Illions for various carousels and the only one remaining on a working carousel. Stevens says the other jumper is on display at the New England Carousel Museum and the whereabouts of the two standers is unknown.

Lead Horse B & B Carousell

Lead Horse ‘Built by MC Illions’ on the B&B Carousell, Coney Island. May 24,2013. Photo © Bruce Handy via Coney Island Photo Diary

The horse is the only one of the B&B’s 50 horses carved by Illions, who developed the Coney Island style of carving. The rest are the work of Charles Carmel, another master carousel carver who also emigrated from Russia and worked in Brooklyn. How did the Illions horse come to be part of the B&B Carousell? It is thanks to Jimmy McCullough, whose family operated four historic carousels in Coney Island which are now in New York City’s parks.

One of them was the Stubbmann Carousel, known as the Steeplechase Carousel when the McCulloughs operated it at 16th Street and the Boardwalk. It was sent to the New York World’s Fair in 1964 along with some horses from Feltman’s and still operates in Flushing Meadows Park. When the Stubbman closed, James McCullough and his son Jimmy each chose a horse to keep, according to Stevens. Jimmy chose the Lincoln jumper which is now on the B&B, a carousel that he operated since the 1970s and sold to the City in 2005 after the death of his business partner Mike Saltzstein.

Illions Horse on the B&B Carousell

Illions Horse on the B&B Carousell, Coney Island Photo via Luna Park NYC Facebook

The other Coney Island carousels that are part of the McCullough legacy are the 1908 Stein and Goldstein Carousel brought to Central Park from the trolley terminal at W 5th and Surf Avenue and the 1912 Charles Carmel Carousel in Prospect Park that operated at 8th Street and Surf. Last year, McCullough’s Kiddie Park, the family’s last remaining business in Coney Island, closed after a 50 year run.

Thanks to Coney Island photographer Bruce Handy, and Luna Park, which operates the B&B Carousell in the new Steeplechase Plaza, for their photos of the MC Illions horse.

Lead Horse on B&B Carousell

Lead Horse ‘Built by MC Illions’ on the B&B Carousell, Coney Island. May 24, 2013. Photo © Bruce Handy via Coney Island Photo Diary

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B&B Carousell Letter

B&B Carousell Letter Being Raised Into Place. May 23, 2013. Photo © Charles Denson via Coney Island History Project flickr

The large-scale neon letters spelling B & B CAROUSELL with a double L, of course, went up on the historic ride’s new pavilion on the Boardwalk today. Charles Denson of the Coney Island History Project happened to be there to take this spectacular series of photographs. On Friday morning, the grand opening of Steeplechase Plaza and the return of the 1919 carousel to Coney Island will be celebrated by Mayor Bloomberg and other elected officials, local residents and invited guests. The carousel was saved from the auction block in 2005, when the Mayor came to Coney Island for a hastily arranged press conference to announce the City would purchase the ride for $1.8 million.

B&B Carousell Letter

B&B Carousell Letter Being Raised Into Place. May 23, 2013. Photo © Charles Denson via Coney Island History Project flickr

“Dozens of carousels have left Coney Island forever but the B&B Carousell is the only one to actually leave and come back,” said Denson, when the first restored horse was exhibited last May at the Coney Island History Project. 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 except for the lead horse by M.C. Illions. Jimmy McCullough and Mike Saltzstein owned and operated the ride since the 1970s. Welcome home to the B&B!

B&B Carousell Pavilion

B&B Carousell Pavilion. May 23, 2013. Photo © Charles Denson via Coney Island History Project flickr

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May 26, 2013: A Portrait of Abe Lincoln on Coney Island’s B&B Carousell

April 24, 2013: Photo Album: Coney Island April 2013 Construction Update

December 4, 2011: Brass Ring Dept: Coney Island “Carousell” RFP Up for Grabs

February 1, 2011: Bring Back the Whip! A Birthday Gift for William F Mangels

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B&B Carousell

The B&B Carousell’s first restored horse returns to Coney Island! Photo © Coney Island History Project via flickr

This sweet pony, the first restored horse from the B&B Carousell, looks happy to be back in Coney Island! What’s his or her name? That will be up to the popular vote on Facebook. At the moment “Cotton Candy” and “Ravishing Ruby” are the front runners. “Home Sweet Home,” “Thunderbolt,” “Tornado,” and “In Memory of Mike Saltzstein,” who operated the carousel for decades, are some of the other suggested names.

There’s also “William,” for the carousel’s builder William F Mangels, and “Marcus,” for Marcus Illions, the carver of the lead horse. This horse, as well as the others, was carved by Charles Carmel.

The name “Ravishing Ruby” is being championed by Brooklyn-born actress Annabella Sciorra, who writes on her Facebook page: “They’re looking to name the first restored carousel horse in Coney Island. If you like my page please vote for the name ‘Ravishing Ruby’ after one of my best friends who grew up on the beaches of Coney Island!!” Ravishing Ruby is also the title of a country song from the ’70s! Our guess is that some who are voting for the name are associating it with Coney’s beloved Ruby’s Bar and Grill.

“Cotton Candy” is a cute choice, but please be advised if it wins that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to bring actual cotton candy on the ride.

Inspired by the creative names of the horses at the Kentucky Derby, which was run yesterday, ATZ’s choice is “Home Sweet Home.” We think it’s the perfect name since this B&B horse is the first to come home to Coney from Ohio, where the carousel has been undergoing restoration, after an absence of seven years. Go, Go, Go, Home Sweet Home!

As for “Mikey” or “In Memory of Mike Saltzstein,” we agree with a commenter on the voting page who writes: “May the last horse in be named ‘In Memory of Mike Saltzstein.’ Mike kept those horses going … God rest his soul.”

Today is the second and final day of the B&B Carousell Open House presented by the City’s Economic Development Corporation at the Coney Island History Project, where you can get your picture taken with the horse and cast your vote in person. If you live too far away to visit, you can still vote on Facebook to name the horse.

The B&B Carousell is also in a very competitive online horse race with 40 historic properties for a share of $3 million from Partners in Preservation. New Yorkers as well as anyone who loves New York may cast one vote daily on the Partners in Preservation New York City website or via Facebook, smartphone or tablet.

UPDATE May 7, 2012:

Congratulations to Dano Panariello, who suggested the name “Ravishing Ruby” in honor of his mother! The Open House and the naming contest are over, but everybody please remember to vote for the B&B Carousell every day thru May 21 at Partners in Preservation, where it is in a horse race to win a grant.

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B & B Carousell

B & B Carousell, Coney Island. August 2005. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Last night the Empire State Building was lit up blue and white in honor of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It was a prelude to this morning’s announcement that New York City has been selected as the location for Partners in Preservation 2012. American Express, in partnership with the National Trust, will award $3 million to preserve historic places in New York City. Coney Island’s B & B Carousell is one of 40 competitors vying for your online vote.

From April 26 through May 21, New Yorkers as well as anyone who loves New York may cast one vote daily on the Partners in Preservation New York City website or via Facebook, smartphone or tablet. According to the initiative’s press release, the top four vote-getters, to be announced May 22, are guaranteed to receive grants for their preservation projects. A Partners in Preservation advisory committee of community and preservation leaders will select sites that will receive the rest of the $3 million in grants.

On May 5 and 6, the Coney Island History Project is hosting a “B & B Carousell Open House” where the first restored horse will be on display along with photos of the restoration process and archival images of the carousel. The historic carousel was saved from auction in 2005 when the City purchased it for $1.8 million. The 1919 ride was packed up and moved from its longtime location on the north side of Surf Avenue and sent to Carousels & Carvings in Ohio for restoration.

The Partners in Preservation grant would fund transport and assembly from the restoration in Ohio back to New York. In 2013, the B & B will reopen in a new pavilion next to the Parachute Jump.

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December 4, 2011: Brass Ring Dept: Coney Island “Carousell” RFP Up for Grabs

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

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Nathan's Coney Island

Nathan's under construction on the Coney Island Boardwalk. March 10, 2012. Photo © Bruce Handy/Coney Island Photo Diary via flickr

These photos taken on Saturday by photographer Bruce Handy show the first signs of new construction as Coney Island begins to awaken from winter hibernation. Coney’s 62 amusement rides and diverse attractions are ready to open with the usual fanfare on Palm Sunday, which is April 1st. The renovation of the Boardwalk stores is still underway and by the looks of the construction, most store owners won’t be ready till May. Construction hasn’t started yet on Zamperla’s new Speed Zone, featuring go karts and a Sky Coaster, but it is not slated to open till Memorial Day.

Nathan's Coney Island

Nathan's Famous under construction on the Boardwalk. March 10, 2012. Photo © Bruce Handy/Coney Island Photo Diary via flickr

At the corner of West 12th Street, Nathan’s Famous new Boardwalk outpost is quickly taking shape and is likely to be the first of the new stores to finish construction. At the moment a coat of yellow paint covers the side of the red storefront formerly occupied by Gyro Corner Clam Bar. The “Hey Joey!” mural by gents of desire is already history. Like the Nathan’s satellite previously at the corner of the Boardwalk and Stillwell, this store will have a walk-up counter and no indoor seating. In the slide show below, you can see photos of the construction at Ruby’s Bar and Paul’s Daughter, the BK Festival lot, Thor Equities new plywood-encased building at Surf and Stillwell and the still-closed Henderson Walk.

Steeplechase Plaza under construction on the Boardwalk. March 10, 2012. Photo © Bruce Handy/Coney Island Photo Diary via flickr

The photo above shows construction progress at Steeplechase Plaza, which broke ground in November. When completed in 2013, the oceanfront plaza on the site of the former Steeplechase Park will be home to the B & B — short for Bishoff and Brienstein — Coney Island’s last antique wooden carousel. Purchased by the City for $1.8 million in 2005, the ride will be installed in a glass pavilion with large-scale neon lettering spelling B & B CAROUSELL with a double L, of course.

Between the Parachute Jump and the carousel there will be a public plaza at grade with the Boardwalk. Additional features include a tree-shaded area with seating and a walkway beneath the Parachute Jump structure which will allow visitors to enjoy a spectacular view of the landmark. Construction of the 2.2 acre plaza is expected to cost approximately $29.5 million, according to the City.

Popeye's Chicken

Popeye's Chicken under construction on Surf Avenue. March 10, 2012. Photo © Bruce Handy/Coney Island Photo Diary via flickr

This new store will be the home of Popeyes Chicken. The popular fast-food restaurant is coming back to the south side of Coney Island’s Surf Avenue after more than a year’s absence. The location is the first floor of the Popper Building at 1220 Surf Avenue, just a few doors down from the restaurant’s previous spot. Popeyes owner had been in business year-round at this location in Coney Island for 27 years when he lost his lease in the now-demolished Henderson Building at the corner of Surf and Stillwell. Prior to Popeye’s, he operated Kennedy Fried Chicken. Ironically, the generic-looking new building that Thor Equities put up on the Henderson site remains vacant and was recently encased in plywood.

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February 27, 2012: Thor’s Coney Island: New Surf Ave Building Encased in Plywood

December 4, 2011: Brass Ring Dept: Coney Island “Carousell” RFP Up for Grabs

November 15, 2011: Coney Island 2012: What’s New on the Boardwalk

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B & B Carousell

Painting and signage at B & B Carousell, Coney Island. August 2005. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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.

B & B Carousell

B & B Carousell, Coney Island. August 2005. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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.

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May 26, 2013: A Portrait of Abe Lincoln on Coney Island’s B&B Carousell

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

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Sign for Lynn's Trapeze at Luna Park. October 10, 2010. Photo © Eric Kowalsky

Sign for Lynn's Trapeze at Luna Park. October 10, 2010. Photo © Eric Kowalsky

 

UPDATE… October 11,  9:20 am…Yes, Lynn’s Trapeze will remain Lynn Kelly’s even though she’s leaving Coney Island for Staten Island! We received word on Monday morning from Zamperla CEO Valerio Ferrari: “A customer broke the sign. It will be replaced once we decide to renew or not all safety signs.” The altered sign was the object of intense speculation over the weekend…

On Sunday, ATZ received a flurry of messages from the Coney Island Rumor Mill about the sign on Lynn’s Trapeze in Luna Park. Something had happened to it overnight: The name of the ride had been sawed off the top! Take a look at the photo of the Mermaid Parade Kiddie flume below, for an example of intact signage.

Lynn’s Trapeze is a Wave Swinger with a center pole graced with historic images of Coney Island. It was named after Lynn Kelly, the president of the Coney Island Development Corporation, when the park opened in May. Kelly oversaw the redevelopment of Coney Island and was fond of referring to Luna Park as her park. But last week she resigned to take the job of CEO with the Snug Harbor Cultural Center in Staten Island. Our sources wondered if Kelly lost the naming right to the ride when she left her job with the City?

 

Sign for Lynn's Trapeze at Luna Park. October 10, 2010. Photo © Eric Kowalsky

Sign for Lynn's Trapeze at Luna Park. October 10, 2010. Photo © Eric Kowalsky

 

ATZ contacted Luna Park CEO Valerio Ferrari to ask about the sign, but we haven’t heard back yet. We can only speculate that Luna Park is about to add a commemorative plaque thanking Lynn Kelly and the flying carousel is not about to be renamed for somebody we’ve never heard of.

Or should naming rights to Luna’s rides be put up for sale to generate revenue? After all, stadiums like Coney Island’s former Keyspan, now MCU Park, aren’t the only ones to sell naming rights. Westchester County- owned Rye Playland offers annual naming rights for the park’s Dragon Coaster and other rides. The new Luna Park is a partnership with the City of New York, which owns the land and receives annual rent plus a percentage of the gross; the arrangement represents a new model for government-owned amusement parks, which are a rarity.

This brings us to a related question on the minds of Coney Island Rumor Mill members. When the restored B & B Carousell is set up in the new Steeplechase Plaza next year, will it still be called the B & B Carousell? Or will naming rights be sold? The initials belonged to Bishoff and Brienstein, who owned and operated the carousel from the 1930’s through the early 1970s. The ride was sold to Jimmy McCullough, who sold it to the City of New York in 2005. Carousell with two “L’s” was the spelling favored by Coney Island ride designer and builder William F. Mangels.

 

Mermaid Parade Kiddie Ride Sign at Luna Park. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

Mermaid Parade Kiddie Ride Sign at Luna Park. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

 

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