041108carouselbryantpark.jpgPhoto of Marvin Sylvor's Bryant Park Carousel courtesy WallyG.

World renowned merry-go-round designer Marvin Sylvor has saddled up for the great carousel in the sky following a kidney failure. He was 75. The Bronx-born Sylvor’s love for the fanciful rides dated back to his childhood, when his father, hell-bent to get to Rockaway beach, would always refuse to stop so the young Sylvor could ride a carousel near the Marine Park Bridge.

Sylvor found his career by accident when, having no artistic experience whatsoever, he volunteered to decorate an officer’s club as a way escaping menial labor during his 1950s army service. After leaving the army and getting a degree from the Pratt Institute, he went into the window-display and decorating business. But his fascination with merry-go-rounds never dissipated, and membership in the National Carousel Association eventually helped him with his first carousel gig for Herald Center.

In the ‘60s, Sylvor dropped the decorating business and devoted himself to populating the globe with carousels from Chicago to Saudi Arabia. Three years ago he sold the company and relocated to Miami; the new owner moved the operation to Greenpoint, where it folded and the warehouse became LuLu’s bar – now Lost & Found. As for Sylvor, his New York legacy lives on in merry-go-rounds that can be enjoyed in Riverbank State Park in Manhattan, Forest Park in Queens and in Bryant Park, where his 2002 carousel is beloved for its elegant French-inspired design.