Jane's Carousel is a classic 3-row machine with 48 exquisitely carved horses and two superb chariots. It was created in 1922, the heyday of the American Carousel, by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company (P.T.C.) Designated as PTC. No. 61, it was originally installed in Idora Park in Youngstown, Ohio, then a prosperous steel-making city.
In 1983, David Walentas, the designated developer of Empire Fulton Ferry State Park, included an historic Carousel in his Master Plan. Jane and David Walentas purchased the Carousel at auction on October 21, 1984. Their bid for the entire Carousel prevented it from being sold off piecemeal. The Carousel has been fully restored back to its original elegance.
When purchased, the Carousel was in poor condition. Jane Walentas began its restoration at her studio in DUMBO, Brooklyn in 1984. Her initial tasks included making necessary carpentry repairs and hand-scraping away 62 years of "Park Paint" with an X-acto knife.
Hand scraping revealed the original 1922 color palette and elegant wood carvings. The finest of their kind, the carvings are often attributed to John Zalar and Frank Carretta.
The discoveries were carefully recorded with detailed drawings, color matches and photographs that guided the repainting of the Carousel.
The horses were rendered in faithful detail. The highly decorative carved trappings were newly painted and re-leafed. Missing embellishments such as faceted jewels, small beveled mirrors on the bridles and delicate pinstriping were restored.
The Carousel's rounding boards, scenery panels and structural pieces, all original to the Carousel, were re-painted, stenciled, and re-leafed according to the 1922 findings.
Blackened varnish was removed from original paintings and dozens of old beveled mirrors were reglazed. Mechanical systems were updated with new gears, motor and an electronic controller. Totally rewired, the Carousel now dazzles with 1200 brilliant lights.
Jane's Carousel was installed in a spectacular Pavilion commissioned by the Walentas' and designed by Pritzker Prize winning architect, Jean Nouvel.
The Carousel, set on the East River in Brooklyn Bridge Park, opened to the public September 16, 2011.