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Le Carrousel at Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Horses and Menagerie Animals Grace the Carousel at Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

As we left Bryant Park Cafe the other night, the lights of Le Carrousel beckoned us. By the time we arrived, Gabriel the carousel operator was getting ready to close for the night. The ride was silent and motionless, though its lights were still blazing. The horses and menagerie animals looked like part of a magical stage set. But the players had gone home. Eight o’clock is closing time in October. We hurriedly took a few photos of the hand-painted ticket booth against the backdrop of illuminated skyscrapers. We promised ourselves that we’d come back to take more photos of the carousel when the Ice Skating Pond and the Shops at Bryant Park open in November. Oh, and we want to go for a spin on the rabbit, which we like to imagine is a coney from Coney Island! There’s plenty of time because Le Carrousel has extended hours and activities through the holidays according to the Bryant Park blog:

Tricks and Treats at Le Carrousel in Bryant Park
Saturday, October 31
2:00pm – 3:00pm
Le Carrousel, 40th St. side of the park
Halloween party will be cancelled in case of rain.

Daily Hours at Le Carrousel
October, 11:00am – 8:00pm
November 1 – January 24, 2010, 11:00am – 9:00pm

Special Holiday Hours at Le Carrousel
Thanksgiving, 8:00am – 10:00pm
Christmas Eve & Christmas Day, 10:00pm – 6:00pm
December 26 – December 30, 10:00am – 10:00pm
New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day, 10:00am – 6:00pm

In addition to the rabbit, the French inspired carousel has 10 horses, a frog, a cat and a deer. It was designed and built for Bryant Park by Marvin Sylvor (1937-2008) of Brooklyn’s Fabricon Carousel Company. A commemorative plaque on the ticket booth notes that Le Carrousel was Sylvor’s favorite of the more than 60 carousels he designed and constructed worldwide. As the carousel maker once told the New York Times, he loved merry-go-rounds because “they touch some spiritual part of your soul somewhere. They make you smile.”

Bryant Park Carousel Ticket Booth at Closing Time. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Bryant Park Carousel Ticket Booth at Closing Time--8 pm in October, 9 pm from Nov through January 24. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Bryant Park is behind the New York Public Library in midtown Manhattan, between 40th and 42nd Streets & Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Le Carrousel is on the 40th Street side. $2 per ride. 212-768-4212.

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McCulloughs Kiddie Park on Bowery @ 12th Street has 12 rides including this cute tug boat and classic carousel. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

McCullough's Kiddie Park on Bowery @ 12th Street has 12 rides including this cute tug boat and classic carousel. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

photo via me-myself-i, flickr

Coney Island’s much photographed Bumblebee ride and the kiddie rides surrounding it are part of McCullough’s Kiddie Park. Located on the Bowery at 12th Street, the park has 12 kiddie rides and is open for the 2009 season. The rides are the Bumblebeez, Ferris Wheel, Carousel, Swings, Motorcycles, Yellow Submarine, Dizzy Dragons, Himalaya, Ladybug, Frog Hopper, Circus Train and Tug Boat. The McCullough family is related to the Tilyous and has owned and operated rides in Coney Island for many years and we hope many years to come!

Although Astroland closed in 2008, Coney Island still has 52 rides up and running in the 2009 season.

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