January 27, 2016

Gillibrand Urges National Park Service to Place B&B Carousell on the National Register of Historic Places

B&B Carousell Has 84 Year History in NYC; Holds the Distinction of Being the Last Operating Carousel on Coney Island

New York, N.Y. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today wrote to the National Park Service urging for B&B Carousell to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The B&B Carousel has a history spanning over 110 years, spending 84 years on Coney Island in New York City. This designation would expand opportunities for federal historic tax credits and other resources to support future preservation and development initiatives.

“B&B Carousell has been a staple of Coney Island since the 1930’s and shaped much of the history of the amusement park,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I am pushing for this important designation because B&B Carousell is a staple in the community and has stood the test of time. Inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places will highlight this historic ride, which holds the distinction of being the last operating carousel on Coney Island today.”

Gillibrand explained in her letter to the National Park Service that although the current location is new, the current site at the old Steeplechase Park grounds is still historically symbolic and appropriate. Steeplechase Park being the first and longest lasting amusement park on Coney Island currently houses the last operating carousel on Coney Island today.

 

Constructed in 1906, the carousel has had multiple locations since its construction. Upon its completion, the carousel was first located in New Jersey until moving to Coney Island in 1932. It remained at the site until 2005, when it was acquired by the City of New York. After being temporarily stored in the Brooklyn Army Terminal, the carousel was shipped to Marion, Ohio, for restoration in 2008 and reopened to the public in 2013. The carousel is now part of the new Steeplechase Plaza, which occupies the site of the historic Steeplechase Amusement Park which had operated from 1897 to 1964.

 

The full text of Senator Gillibrand’s letter to the National Park Service Director included below.

 

Jonathan B. Jarvis

Director

National Park Service

1849 C Street NW

Washington, DC 20240

 

Dear Director Jarvis,

I write in support of the nomination of Coney Island’s B & B Carousell for placement on the National Register of Historic Places.  Constructed in 1906, the B&B has been a staple of Brooklyn’s Coney Island and has played a significant role in shaping much of its distinctive amusement park culture.

A masterpiece by pioneers of the Coney Island style of carving, the B&B features one of four rare horses by artist Marcus Illion.  This horse was added to the carousel in 1909 to commemorate the centennial of President Abraham Lincoln’s birth.  Further celebrations of American iconography can be found on the carousel’s rounding boards in the form of bald eagles, presidential portraits, the American flag, and the Statue of Liberty.  These were painted by renowned artist August Wolfinger, who was known as the “Michelangelo of the Midway.” 

After a detailed restoration, the B&B has resumed operation at Coney Island’s old Steeplechase Park grounds. This return is symbolic of the rebirth of Coney Island after the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy and is historically appropriate, as Steeplechase Park was the area’s first and longest lasting amusement park. Inclusion of this nationally significant resource on the National Register of Historic Places will solidify this ride’s great place in the history of Coney Island. Further, this much-deserved distinction will ensure that this treasured site can be eligible for critical preservation support so it can remain a staple of the region’s tourism economy for many years to come.

 

Sincerely,

 

Kirsten Gillibrand

United States Senator