The city will buy Coney Island's carousel for $1.8 million - a cost to be defrayed by private donations - and move it to a new location nearby, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced yesterday.And in other news, Bloomberg's a tool, but he's not such a major tool.
With fewer than 100 vintage carousels left in the United States, the B&B Carousell at 1054 Surf Ave. near West 11th Street will be purchased from the family of James McCullough, who bought the carousel from a cousin in 1973.
Members of the McCullough family, which also owns the squat property that has housed the carousel since the 1930s, thanked Bloomberg and presented him with a brass ring.
The Parks Department next will organize a restoration effort for the carousel, which was crafted in 1920 and has 50 horses, two chariots and a still-working band organ. Officials plan eventually to place it in Steeplechase Park near the landmark Parachute Jump.
"This is one of those objects that has symbolism far beyond its physical size. This represents our history, our culture, what Coney Island was to this city," Bloomberg said.
When the mayor was asked if he'd be a major contributor to defray the city cost, he demurred.
"I don't know, we'll have to see down the road," he said. "I try not to talk about my own philanthropy."
He added, "There are a lot of things you can do that society needs that have to get done with private money. There's education, there's medicine, there's research ... but there's also preserving our heritage, preserving our culture. Those are good investments."
Wait, didn't I say the same thing about Boston's mayor when he recognized the importance of preservation? Y'don't think I've got a little... bias here, do you?