Carousels have been popular since the 1780s, when they were pulled by horses, and they are still magical today for riders of any age. New York City has a collection of historic gems riding around parks in all five boroughs, plus SeaGlass Carousel, a modern one with fishes and seashells instead of horses. Rides are anywhere from $1 to $3.
Here are the best carousels in all 5 boroughs of NYC:
Carousels in Manhattan
Central Park Carousel: The granddaddy of New York City merry-go-rounds. When it opened in 1873, it was powered by a mule, and always powered by happy kids.
- Midpark at 64th Street; centralparknyc.org.
SeaGlass Carousel: Take a trip in an underwater garden in this unique carousel, where you’ll float around on fishes and seashells. SeaGlass Carousel is housed in a mostly glass building, in Battery Park, so the views are pretty spectacular, too.
- See the New York Times review when the carousel opened in 2015.
Le Carousel: Enjoy French cabaret music with your ride at this Victorian style carousel in Bryant Park.
- Sixth Avenue at 40th Street.
Totally Kid Carousel: Children’s drawings are carved into fanciful carousel creatures in Harlem. Riverbank State Park,
- 679 Riverside Drive, at West 145th Street; nysparks.com; .
Pier 62 Carousel: 33 hand-carved animals native to Manhattan and the rest of NYC, all twirling under a “living” green roof.
- Hudson River Park, at 23rd St. hudsonriverpark.org,
Carousels in Brooklyn
Jane’s Carousel: It’s hard to match the views from seaside ride in Dumbo, in a Jean Nouvel pavilion. This classic carousel was built in the 1920s, duringthe heydey of carousel popularity, and moved here from its original location in Youngstown, Ohio, and fully restored.
- Located in Brooklyn Bridge Park between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges..
Prospect Park Carousel: With horses carved long ago by Charles Carmel, this is another vintage gem. Near the Willink entrance, at Flatbush Avenue and Empire Boulevard; prospectpark.org.
- Note that the Prospect Park Carousel is closed from mid-November to mid-April.
B&B Carousel in Luna Park: Dates from 1906, and a perennial Coney Island favorite, with 50 hand-carved horses and two grand chariots.
Carousels in Queens
Flushing Meadows Carousel: Cobbled from two old Coney Island carousels for the 1964-65 World’s Fair.
- In the Fantasy Forest Amusement Park in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, at 111th Street and 55th Avenue;
Forest Park Carousel: Another vintage gem, dating from 1903, has 36 jumping horses and another dozen standing ones. It’s been in Forest Park since 1975.
- The carousel is on the northwest corner of the park, at Woodhaven Blvd. and Forest Park Drive.
Carousels in Staten Island
Conservation Carousel: Ride models of hand-carved endangered species, like a poison dart frog or a giant panda, at the Staten Island Zoo;
- 614 Broadway, on the north shore of Staten Island.
Carousels in the Bronx
Bug Carousel: Ride a dung beetle at the Bronx Zoo (but adults will need to pay the $30-$34 zoo admission).
- Bronx River Parkway and Fordham Road
This merry go round-up of NYC carousels was published originally in 2015 and is updated periodically.