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 the 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, Fordham
This merry go round-up of NYC carousels was published originally in 2015 and is updated periodically.