Jane’s Carousel, the beloved Brooklyn Bridge Park attraction, may have only been installed in 2011 at its current location, but the carousel itself is turning 100 years old this year.

As with any centennial celebration, there will be festivities — free carousel rides, face painting, and “balloon twisters” — on Saturday, May 7th, between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. (Tickets are usually $2.) Mayor Eric Adams, the former Brooklyn borough president, is among the attendees scheduled to attend.

The carousel was originally manufactured by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1922 and placed at was once Idora Park in Youngstown, Ohio.

From a 1935 postcard


After suffering a devastating fire, the amusement park shut down in 1984, and billionaires David and Jane Walentas bought the carousel in hopes of placing it in Brooklyn, as part of the Empire State Fulton Ferry Park. (David Walentas, the prolific developer who bought real estate in DUMBO before it was DUMBO, was in charge of the nascent park’s plans at the time.)

Jane Walentas painstakingly restored the 48 carousel horses, chariots and other features, removing years of paint with an X-ACTO knife over the decades, explaining to WNYC, “It’s not a labor of love. It’s an obsession.”

A horse on Jane's Carousel


Closer to completion, she enlisted others to help: WNYC reported that restorers from the Metropolitan Museum of Art “worked on the art on the carousel's inside panels, and Mercedes-Benz detail workers painted small details on bridles and saddles.”

By 2011, the carousel was ready for its debut, inside a glass “jewelbox” designed by world-renowned architect Jean Nouvel at the edge of the East River. The picturesque location became dramatic when Superstorm Sandy hit in 2012, submerging DUMBO and the carousel.

(The carousel was fine; the sublevel was flooded, affecting the electronics, but workers were able to pump the water out.)

Jane Walentas died in 2020; The New York Times noted in an obituary that her husband credited her as his partner in transforming the neighborhood. “There would be no Dumbo without Jane,” her husband said.

Jane's Carousel


“The Walentas family is tremendously proud to commemorate Jane’s Carousel in honor of Jane’s great dedication and restoration efforts of this historic structure into an iconic attraction in New York City,” Jane's husband David and their son Jed said in a statement. “Jane’s Carousel was truly the spark that made Brooklyn Bridge Park a destination around the world, making the area a desirable place to visit, live and work to this day.”