RYE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Eighteen months ago, a fire damaged the historic carousel at Playland Park in Rye.
The hand-carved horses were damaged and the carousel building was at risk of collapse.
But now, the funding pieces are in place to get the carousel turning once more.
CBS2’s Tony Aiello got an exclusive look at what’s left of the historic carousel.
Playland has settled in for a long winter’s nap, but some are already looking ahead to spring – of 2020. That’s when a park treasure is set to return.
“It was hard to not start crying. To be honest with you it was kind of a shock,” said Deirdre Curran of Friends of Playland.
Curran says a piece of her heart and history reside at Playland. She worked a summer in the 1980’s operating the carousel.
It’s difficult for her to see the charred building and the mechanical works that turned the ride ruined by flames, smoke and water.
The building caught fire in July 2017 and damage was far more significant than it first appeared.
The 66 intricately hand-carved horses were singed and soaked.
Insurance is paying for their meticulous restoration by experts.
Playland visitors have felt their absence.
“Playland without the carousel is kind of like a hot fudge sundae without the whip cream and cherry on top,” said Curran.
The carousel is the most historic piece of this historic place, Aiello reported. It was built in 1915 in Connecticut and moved when Playland opened in 1928.
Now, funding to repair the 90-year-old Carousel building is nearly complete, thanks to a $450,000 grant from New York State.
“This is going to be its original design, and brought back to its original splendor, frankly. It will look like a new building but will still be the historic building that is has been all these years,” said Peter Tartaglia of Westchester County Parks & Recreation. “This is going to be its original design, and brought back to its original splendor, frankly. It will look like a new building but will still be the historic building that is has been all these years.”
So, after one more summer season, the carousel will return to work its colorful, whimsical and memorable magic.