Unveils restored B&B Carousell and Steeplechase Plaza
By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Surrounded by beaming officials and business owners, Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Friday officially opened Coney Island -- including the new Steeplechase Plaza and the restored B&B Carousell – seven months after Hurricane Sandy nearly swept it away.
The Mayor also announced the partial re-opening of the New York Aquarium, which was severely damaged by the super storm.
“Today marks the revival of the Coney Island amusement district that suffered during Hurricane Sandy,” said Mayor Bloomberg in a statement. “Coney Island isn’t just back – it’s better than ever, with the re-opening of beach and boardwalk, the return of the Aquarium, and the unveiling of the completely renovated, beautiful designed B&B Carousell anchoring the new Steeplechase Plaza.”
The 1906 B&B Carousell features 50 hand-carved horses that have been restored over the last six years, and features the Gebruder Bruder “Elite Orchestra Apollo” band organ, one of only three existing in the United States.
The carousel operated on Surf Avenue for seventy years until it was nearly sold -- in pieces -- at an auction in 2005. Instead, the City of New York bought it, and a team of restoration experts lovingly restored the historic carousel, including a new, custom-carved wheelchair-accessible chariot.
Other Coney attractions – like Deno's Wonder Wheel, Luna Park, Nathan’s, the Coney Island Circus Sideshow and classics like 'Brooklyn Babydoll's Tantastic Nudie Showcase of Class' -- are also open this Memorial Day weekend.
In addition to the new Steeplechase Plaza and restored Carousell, the city plans to continue investments, including moving forward on over $130 million in infrastructure upgrades, and other streetscape improvements which are planned for the next two summer seasons.
All eight city beaches are free to the public and will remain open through Labor Day, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.