Magical memories have been made on the Carousel for 100 years!

To celebrate our 1922-2022 centennial, we are inviting all former and current Carousel riders to contribute their favorite memories. We are particularly excited to hear about Idora Park, the original home of the Carousel.

We can't wait to hear your memories!

Sign Jane's Memory Book
Having grown up in Youngstown, Ohio, visiting Idora Park was a treat during the summer months. I have many fond memories of all of my trips to Idora but especially enjoyed the magical ride of the carousel, AKA the Idora Merry-G-Round. I hope it remains at this park for years to come.

Thom George

Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315

My fathers steel mill annual employees appreciation day was held once a summer at Idora Park circa 1960. We traveled an hour to get there. The carousel was one of my favorite rides. I remember being so happy every single time I rode the horses. The music, the colors and the different poses of all the horses. It was so exciting waiting in line and watching and picking out the horse I wanted to ride when my turn came. Finally the horses slowed down, stopped and it was my turn. I remember running on the carousel to get to the horse I wanted. My memories are truly unforgettable. I’m so happy to learn children are still able to ride the horses; I’m positive they are loving it as much as I did and making their own memories

Cindy Little

Youngstown, Oh

I grew up in Youngstown, Oho. My first amusement park was Idora. So many memories from there but by far the best was always riding the Carousel. It was a wonderland ride. A trip to Fairyland. Such a beautiful ride that surpassed all others. I was well past my teens when the park burned down but the thing I missed most and still do is the carousel. I rode it every year several times till it was no longer there. New York will never really know what a true timeless treasure they have. I pray that one day I will see it again.

Debbe Tkach Paskowski

Madison, Ohio

I grew up in Struthers Ohio and my parents would take my sister and I to Idora Park. The highlight … besides the french fries and the Wildcat … was riding the carousel when we first got there and the last thing we rode before going home. The most beautiful carousel 🎠! So glad that it was saved and giving so much more love and joy to more children of all ages!! ❤️❤️❤️

Beverly Rine

Minerva, Ohio

I was born and raised in Ohio. My maternal grandparents would take my brother, cousins, and I to Idora Park during opening week every year when we were young. I was the only girl and my favorite ride was this Carousel. I loved it and would ride it over and over again. I’m so happy that it has been restored and continues to make happy memories for children.

Melinda Van Wye

Orlando, Florida

My wife and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary with a long weekend in NYC in October of 2014. One of the highlights of our weekend was a visit to Jane’s carousel! We both rode the carousel as kids at Idora Park in Youngstown. It brought back wonderful memories. We couldn’t believe how beautiful it looked and the incredible restoration effort Jane had accomplished. It looked exactly the way we remembered it! Thank you for the great memories. We hope to go back soon someday!

Tim and Diane Garthwaite

Youngstown, OH

The carousel was our weekly spot for several years, when our kids were in preschool. We celebrated many birthdays there. My daughter loved loved being at Jane’s Carousel. I on the other hand loved seeing the process over the years, from when it was being restored. I remember as far back as 2000 seeing these very cool gals in zip up jumpsuits splotched with paint. They were then working on restoring the carousel horses before putting it together. Another memory where I realized it’s importance was when I was traveling in India and super storm Sandy hit, I was watching the news but couldn’t quite get the full picture of how Dumbo was doing till I scrolled on Facebook and saw the carousel posted on a friend’s account . It was shocking to see it emersed in water and I was so relieved to see it survive the flooding. It became a landmark piece for me. I loved reading how the encasement would be a designed by architect Jean Novel adding Dumbo to the map as a tourist destination. It was a perfect addition to Dumbo. Above all, It is truly special to see Jane’s passion live on and be enjoyed by so many. It’s a great example of improving our neighborhood with something that creates so much Joy!

Monica

Dumbo

I rode this very special carousel as a young child in the early 1960’s at Idora Park. While visiting my daughter, Jane, in NYC, I happily rode it again. Best surprise of all was that the tiny horses on the inside circle were still there. I had forgotten all about them! So special and I am looking forward to riding with my grandchildren some time soon.

Joy

Florida

HOW MANY TIMES, GROWING UP, I RODE THIS MAGICAL CAROUSEL! IDORA PARK WAS ONE OF THE BEST PLACES TO BE IN THE SUMMER: THE RIDES, THE FOOD, THE PEOPLE! SUCH WONDERFUL MEMORIES! THEN THAT FATEFUL FIRE BACK IN 1984 THAT SNUFFED OUT OUR BEAUTIFUL IDORA PARK. THANK GOD FOR PEOPLE LIKE JANE, WHO HAD THE FORESIGHT TO SAVE AND RESTORE OUR BEAUTIFUL CAROUSEL! I HOPE TO GET TO BROOKLYN TO ONCE AGAIN SAVOR THE ENJOYMENT OF GOING IN CIRCLES, UP AND DOWN, AND GET LOST IN THE MUSIC AND MY MEMORIES! THANK YOU JANE!!

ANITA K WILLIAMSON

YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO

To A future memory, I look at you lovingly my daughter and my son, your green eyes glistening as you look to me and your pop whose eyes you got. I wave you wave back, and there are so many people watching and waving at you too, a burden of fame, but so much love nonetheless.. I root for you my sweethearts, the whole world is yours

Priya Chowdhury

Hells kitchen, new york.

My sister and I were born in Brooklyn but raised in Youngstown, Ohio, home of Idora Park where we spent many a summer riding what is now Jane’s Carousel. A few years ago we took our boys to the carousel. We hopped on and squealed with delight to find our favorite horses while our millennial sons rolled their eyes. I was so moved by the experience, it made a brief appearance in a personal essay I wrote for Belt Publishing’s From Car Bombs to Cookie Tables: The Youngstown Anthology. I love that the carousel has lived, like me, in both of my hometowns.

Christine McBurney

New York, NY

Idora Park. Idora Park!! Just hearing the name brings a rush of memories full enough to bring a smile to this aging grandfather. Growing up in Youngstown in the 50’s and 60’s meant begging your parents to take you for a day at Idora Park. The Penny Arcade, the Wildcat and Jackrabbit, the Old Mill and, of course, the Carousel. I was so impressed with Jane’s attention to detail and dedication to bringing the Carousel back to life in as “good as new” condition. And how my heart swelled to watch my wife, daughter and granddaughters delight in a sunny day in Brooklyn sharing in a piece of my childhood.

Growing up in Struthers, a Youngstown suburb, the highlight of summer was always going to Idora Park. I had no less than 20 cousins, and their parents, and my wonderful grandparents, who joined me, my mom, dad, and four siblings for a full day of rides, rollercoasters, cotton candy, French fries (with vinegar, of course!), and the merry-go-round! I vividly remember that Carousel and was overjoyed when I learned it had been saved, restored, and positioned on Brooklyn’s Dumbo/East River waterfront. I knew I had to go visit –and ride– “my” merry-go-round. My daughter, who was born in 1985 and never got to see Idora, lives in Brooklyn and made sure we went to Jane’s Carousel! I did ride it-and made sure I got the horse that went up and down! I felt so joyful with the connection to Idora, my family and childhood, and happy that my daughter got to experience it too. A favorite event was Idora’s Tee Ross Day, which culminated with live music in the Idora Ballroom. Yes, the historic Ballroom that had presented performers from John Philip Sousa to the Eagles. We’d crisscross the park the entire day and wind up there for the show. My brother worked at Tee Ross-our local music store-and he always got us good seats! Cities, large and small, were crushed when Idora Park caught fire in 1984 and ultimately closed. It was as if a part of our childhood and teen years was ripped away. I’m forever grateful to Jane & David Walentas for purchasing this beautiful Carousel at auction in 1984.

M. Peggy Quattro

Savannah

While living in Dumbo for 5 years, I loved having Jane’s Carousel in my own “backyard.” Morning runs taking me past the horses, quietly waiting to be ridden along the waterfront will always be magical to me. Happy Birthday. Photo: @jenepiphanyphoto

Jenny Bates

New York, NY

I grew up around the carousel but its the Ps307 kids for me trips and many Graduations pre-k and kindergarten went there and I was bless to be one of the Parents /Volunteer to always help the teachers to visit the carousel. thank you for lots of fun.

Ebony Richardson

111Bridge st

I had so much fun riding in 2021 as a teen, just as I did when I was much younger, 3 or 4yrs old. And I will see you when I’m….and so on!!😊 Happy Birthday J🎉

Yasmeen R

Brooklyn

Here I am celebrating my 60th birthday riding one of Jane’s lovingly restored horses in DUMBO, just as I had done 50+ years before on my birthdays at Idora Park. I rode the very same horse! For the several yrs I worked in DUMBO at 10 Jay Street, I felt like I was home, especially when I glanced out our 10th floor window and saw the Carousel. And, it was always a treat to greet Jane in town. She called me Youngstown.

Diane Wondisford

NYC (1980- ; Youngstown, OH 1952-1962

I have so many strong memories of this carousel from when it was at Idora Park in Ohio. My parents were divorced and my dad enlisted in the Army when I was young. So when he was home on leave, he would take me to Idora Park and I can recall waiting in line and we would be picking our horses as it spun in front of us with other riders. I always wanted a brown horse with a black mane and tail and he liked the black horse. When it would be our turn to go, he would pretend to knock me out of the way to get to his horse. The anticipation was so great! We had a lot of fun. So today when I see random photos of couples in front of the carousel for their engagement, or see Jane’s Carpusel posting photos on social media it brings me right back to that snapshot in time. Those were the days!

Melanie Parker

NAPERVILLE, IL

My wife and I renewed our vows in Brooklyn on 20/08/2018. To celebrate we rode Jane’s Carousel and had a ball. It was one of the great highlights of a really memorable and precious day! Thank you for being part of it.

Rob and Gemma Wainwright

West Midlands, United Kingdom

16 March 2019 Fulton Ferry State park with Anne, Joanna & Ted!

Vincent Neads

United Kingdom

Celebrated a reunion with high school friends from 1965 by taking a ride on Jane’s Carousel

Clayton Rawson

Brooklyn, NY

*The Best Day of my life* The first time I went to Jane’s Carousel was back in 2013 and i felt in love inmediatly. In 2017 my boyfriend and I back and that day was the most special day of my life because my boyfriend propose to me. Without of doubt, Jane’s Carousel is Pure magic.

Gabriela Olguín

Monterrey, N.L México

I grew up in Youngstown, Ohio and Idora Park was one of my favorite places to go. I was (and am) obsessed with horses Cinderella and to me the carousel was magic, pure magic. It made me feel like I was a fairy princess. I always skipped all other options and always picked a white horse that moved up and down. It gave me butterflies and I thought those magic ponies came alive when I rode one. One of my most treasured childhood memories. When I see the pictures of Jane’s Carousel, it floods my mind with warm and happy memories and a butterfly or two still to this day. I hope I get to visit it in person someday soon.

Mari Lappin

Carmel Indiana

I grew up in Youngstown. We weren’t frequent visitors to Idora Park, so when we went it was a real treat. The carousel was, even for a kid, a trip back in time. The last time I rode it (in Youngstown) was when I was a high school senior in 1973. Then, there was the fateful day when the fast coaster, The Wildcat, situated just behind the Carousel, burnt. The news flash arrived during lunch hour. We could see the smoke rise from our workplaces. But what everyone wanted to know was ‘What about the Carousel?’ It was front page news for days. I suppose it was inevitable in a town whose glory days were in the far past, that the crown jewel would be sold to the highest bidder and moved to a new home. But, how lucky we are that the person who won the prize was a loving conservator and meant to restore it to its original beauty and share it with the rest of the world! I’m thankful for Jane, for the sensitivity she showed to Youngstowners who came (and STILL come) to see their childhood. She did our city and our lost Carousel a great service. Her restoration is a masterpiece.

Lynn Williamson

Parker, CO

Growing up in Australia and having steaming hot Christmases during Summer, I always dreamed about having a white Christmas in New York, just like in the movies. That dream came true for me during Christmas 2013. And, as an avid fan of carousels, visiting Jane’s Carousel was an absolute must. Staring at the Manhattan skyline, while it was blanketed in snow, from my carousel horse was a dream come true. Thank you for providing this amazing opportunity for me and so many others. I can’t wait to get back and experience it again one day.

Debbie Kahl

Brisbane, Australia

This carousel means everything to me. My earliest memories of Idora Park revolve around this carousel. From my parents holding me up on a stationary horse before I could walk, to finally being able to ride alone, when I was old enough, on the coveted white or black stallion. I remember it all as if it were yesterday. As our feet hit the wooden boards, we raced to grab our favorite horse. Every horse and chariot was beautiful and exquisite. The carousel would start moving and music would start playing. It was so magical with the lights reflected in the mirrors. As I spun around I especially loved looking at the different paintings displayed across the top. I have not been to New York to see your work and am so happy that a new generation will be able to share in the wonder and magic this carousel brings. I rode this carousel for over 20 years and my parents and grandparents rode it before me. I am forever grateful to you for preserving my carousel and my memories. Can’t wait to see and experience this carousel again!!!

Kimberly Collett

Bluffton, SC

In 2016 we were lucky enough to get married at Jane’s Carousel. The magic of the Carousel, East River, Brooklyn Bridge and the New York City skyline at sunset was unforgettable. Whenever possible we love to return to Jane’s Carousel to recapture the feelings of that night and create new memories. Congratulations on 100 years and here’s to many more!

Amy & Marisa

Mill Valley, California

When I was in grade school, I lived with my grandparents on Reel Ave which was three blocks from Idora Park. At that time in the 1950’s there was no entrance fee to get in. Consequently, we would walk there a lot with the coins we had in our pockets. I remember the carousel very well. We ran on when it was our turn to get our favorite horse, whether it be because of the color or of the position. I was fortunate to go to DUMBO and ride Jane’s Carousel with one of my daughters and a granddaughter in December 2011, experiencing unusually warm weather. What joy it was to enjoy the carousel again ! Then again !

Judy Armeni

North Lima, Ohio

As a wee little girl…oh the excitement to know Idora Park was on our agenda for the day. I loved the horses and wanted ALWAYS to ride the Up and Down horses. Alas…I was allowed to ride the sleighs because Mom thought I would fall off the horses. As I grew…what joy to ride the horse of my choice. Great memories become alive again when I visit NYC and Jane’s Carousel!! I am so grateful this beautiful piece of childhood is preserved so others can also make memories! Thank You, Jane!

Mary Ellen Smith

From Struthers, Ohio Current Augusta, GA

The local Youngstown Vindicator Newspaper wrote an article about The Idora Park Merry Go Round that was bought by a New York couple, when it was being auctioned in Youngstown. I was so excited to learn that the Merry Go Round, I rode as a child, was being restored in Brooklyn, NY by Jane Walentas. Our son now lived in Brooklyn and I hoped that some day I’d be able to show our Grandson’s a memory from my childhood. During one of my trips to Brooklyn I read in a local paper that the now refurbished Carousel was being displayed, on certain days, in a warehouse in DUMBO. Well I found a phone number and called to see when I could stop by to see it, to my surprise, a few day’s later, Jane called back to say that I could stop by that afternoon. Unfortunately I was flying back to Youngstown that afternoon and missed the chance to see it. A year or so later Jane’s Carousel found it’s home at Brooklyn Bridge Park. What a site to see, it took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes the first time I rode. God Bless Jane, the carousel has never looked so beautiful. Her vision has brought the once Idora Park Merry Go Round to a place for all those who travel to Brooklyn Bridge Park to see and enjoy. During one of my visits, to the Carousel, a couple from New Hampshire heard me tell the attendant I was from Youngstown and they wanted to take a picture with me, knowing I rode the carousel as a child, one of the highlights of my day!!! Thank you for keeping the memory alive ❤️

Charlotte Davolio

Campbell, OH

This carousel brings back such sweet childhood memories. Going to Idora Park with my family in the 60’s and riding this carousel. My parents passed away over 10 years now and my only sibling died of lung cancer in 2019. So, when I heard the carousel was restored in Brooklyn NY it made me smile. I hope this ride gives other little children the grand memories I hold so dear in my heart. Thanks for saving it

Maryann Sudol Hill

Ohio

1922-2022

Magical memories have been made on the Carousel for 100 years!

In celebration of our 1922-2022 centennial we are inviting all riders to write in our new Memory Book.

We are particularly excited to hear about Idora Park, the former home of the Carousel.

We can't wait to hear your memories.

Sign Jane's Memory Book