The classic old-fashioned locomotive sits to the side of the carousel and consists of four cars – an engine, two boxcars and caboose – and children and their parents can sit comfortably inside.
When New York Carousel signed on as caretakers of our beloved carousel, they made it clear that one of their priorities was to get more than one ride running at the site in Forest Park. But the organization had other priorities they needed to take care of first.
For starters, they needed to get the ride operational and they had less than three weeks from the date they signed the contract to do so. The first thing they did was to eliminate the floor-to-ceiling bars that blocked everyone’s view of the ride and replace it with a chest-high railing.
“We felt that it was important for everyone to see the ride,” said David Galst, managing director of New York Carousel. “People responded very positively to that change.”
Next, they set their sights on some major upgrades to the machinery, spending most of this past winter taking the entire carousel apart and putting it back together, resulting in a smoother ride.
The brand-new custom-crafted machine parts should last another 100 years, ensuring the future of this classic landmark.
So this summer the Forest Park Carousel was in a position to introduce their first new addition, a train ride they christened The Woodhaven Express. Now in addition to riding a beautiful New York City landmark, parents will also be able to take their children on an exciting train ride.
This past weekend the carousel hosted a few different birthday parties under the party tent making for a very festive environment, and The Woodhaven Express was an immediate hit.
“Wow, that was a lot of fun,” one parent said as she and her little boy exited the ride on their way back to the carousel again.
And this is just the beginning, as there will be more rides in the future at Forest Park. If you’d like an idea of what to expect, or you’d just like a fun day trip, take the kids over to Fantasy Forest in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
Highlighted by the Flushing Meadows Carousel, the rides and attractions are run by the same group that does such a great job operating our beloved landmark. In addition to the same train we now have, they also have four other rides.
The Fantasy Frog Hopper lifts the kids gently and proceeds to send them on a hopping ride, and the Corona Cobra Coaster is currently the only roller coaster in Queens and is fun for kids and adults.
The Queens Himalaya races around a circular track while sledding up and down small hills and the Queens Motor Speedway is a racecar-themed version of the classic ride The Whip.
These rides will whet your appetite for the things we can expect to see in the future at Forest Park. For now, we’ve got the most beautiful carousel right in our midst – a work of art and a New York City Landmark. And now we’ve got The Woodhaven Express.
The Forest Park Carousel is currently open seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends. Every Saturday at 2 and 4 p.m. there is either a clown or magic show. The carousel is available for birthday parties. Call them at (718) 788-2676 for more information.
In the meantime, if you go to one of the remaining shows at the band shell, remember that the Forest Park Carousel stays open until about 9:30 p.m. on concert nights. You’ve got A Ray of Elvis on August 6 and the Beatles Tribute on the 13th, make it a full, fun summer night out and cap it off with a moonlight ride at the Forest Park Carousel.