The famous Central Park Carousel has reopened after an 18-month Pandemic shutdown, a good time to remind everybody that every NYC borough has at least one carousel.
Carousels have been popular since the 1780s, when they were pulled by horses or mules, and they are still magical today for riders of any age.
Nearly all NYC carousels are historic gems with old-fashioned calliope music. There’s also a thoroughly modern one, SeaGlass Carousel, in Lower Manhattan, with fishes and seashells instead of horses and chariots.
Rides are anywhere from $1 to $4, nearly all are open year-round, and can be rented for birthday parties.
Carousels in Manhattan
Central Park Carousel:
The granddaddy of NYC carousels, also known as 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.
Take a trip in an underwater garden in this unique carousel, where you’ll float around tucked inside the “belly” of a fish.
SeaGlass Carousel is housed in a dramatic glass building shaped like a seashell. It’s Battery Park, so the views are pretty spectacular, too.
- See the New York Times review when the carousel opened in 2015.
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
- Closes for the season in early October
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
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..
With horses carved long ago by Charles Carmel, this is another vintage gem. Near the Willink entrance, at Flatbush Avenue and Empire Boulevard
- Open Thurs.-Sun. and Holidays
Dates from 1906, and a perennial Coney Island favorite, with 50 hand-carved horses and two grand chariots.
Carousels in Queens
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;
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
This is a turn-of-the-century, Victorian-style merry-go-round that opened in 1999. The carousel boasts 51 carved wooden figures of mythical beasts, endangered species, and traditional carousel horses. It also showcases twenty hand-painted renderings of Staten Island landmarks, past and present.
- Located in the Willowbook Park section of The Greenbelt.
Carousels in the Bronx
This is NYC’s only carousel featuring insects. Ride a giant grasshopper, firefly or a dung beetle at this ride inside 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, including in Oct. 2021.