NYC expected to buy Coney Island carousel

Posted Tuesday, August 9, 2005 10:54 AM | Contributed by Jeff

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to make a major announcement at Coney Island Tuesday, and sources say it might be about his plans to buy the Coney Island Carousel.

Read more from NY1.

Tuesday, August 9, 2005 12:26 PM
Excellent news! Coney w/o the B&B carousel is like Coney w/o Nathans.
Tuesday, August 9, 2005 2:55 PM
very cool. it will keep the park in the family...
Tuesday, August 9, 2005 3:35 PM
huh? what park in what family?
Tuesday, August 9, 2005 4:53 PM
Sounds painful.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005 9:29 AM
The taxpayers got screwed again. The auction house will get a major chunk of money as a buy out, and what ever back taxes or delinquent bills that family owned are now gone.

If anyone wanted to keep that ride in Coney Island, then it should have been Astroland, Deno's, Nathon's, or the operators of Key Span Park, where the baseball stadium is.

NYC has bids out 12 months a year for concession operators at every facility imaginable. I can only dream what kind of people will win the bid to operate the ride. I bet it will be that family, who now have pushed all of their maintenence costs off onto the city, and now they get a new building. They must have gotten tired of not reinvesting back into their business,

Wednesday, August 10, 2005 9:59 AM
I agree with you Agent J, that machine is worth about half that. Gurnseys' should be prosecuted for extortion. It's going to take at least another $500,000 to bring it up to snuff mechanically, not counting the cosmetics. I glad that it was saved and staying on the Island, but McCullough probably could have gotten more if he would have sold it directly to the city in the first place.Gurnseys' is taking a hefty commission out of the sale, leaving the family much less than the stated amount.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005 10:37 AM
Firstly - yes the carousell is probably only worth about $700,000 - BUT to me and many NYC residents it's priceless - I pay taxes here and I don't feel screwed.

I am no fan of Ettinger or Guerney's Auction house and their track record with carousels is wretched and painful. They pulled a lot of antics in the last few months that really eft me really po'd; unfortunately I'm not sure any of them are illegal. The McCulloughs felt somewhat trapped in the Spring when the CIDC announced their initial plans and they felt that the carousell and building were going to be taken by emminent domain laws - I'm not sure if they felt they were in a position to deal with the city at that point and if you're familiar with Coney Island politics and business it's pure insanity to say the least.

The McCulloghs are good people and if they could reinstate the two women that ran the carousell I'd be thrilled. The McCulloughs are trying to get out of Coney Island - James is probably is in his late 80's at this point and Carol's involvement in the business has become less and less over the years. I am pretty sure that they sold the land that their kiddieland is on (W12th St and Bowery) to Thor Equities. After Mike Saltzman died in 2002 (co-owner of the B&B) everyone thought it was over, but the McCullough's kept the machine open and running well. The McCulloughs are the last of the Tilyou clan (Steeplechase Park) left at Coney so I'm sad to see them fade away. If Agent J knows something more about back taxes or deliquent bills on the part of the B&B please share as this the first I'm hearing of it.

In regards to the maintanance costs, firstly the mechanics of the machine may be ancient but they are in great shape. The horses do need a lot of work and the city has already taken donations to offset this cost and the cost of the purchase (and will continue to do so). Also, a number of carousel conservancy groups have stepped forward to volunter their services to do much of this work. If you look at the deal they NYC has with Astroland and the Cyclone - Astroland is responsible for all maintence and operations of the Cyclone and that for one seems to work more than well.

My 2 cents!

Jim 'jimvid' McDonnell

Wednesday, August 10, 2005 1:49 PM
You may think that the mechanics are in great shape, but trust me, a machine that age has a multiude of problems that are just waiting to surface. Crankshfts, gears, bearings, the metal that was used in these components does not age well when they get up into the 50-75 year bracket. These are not quite off the shelf components, as Brass Ring's Amusement Gear & Bearing specializes these. I can tell you from first hand experience that this stuff is not cheap.

I do hope that the Parks Dept. does something other than what they do with the other machines they own, putting the operation out to bid. Most of the concessionaires that have them use it soely to hawk hot dogs and popcorn, and the operation of the ride is an adjunct. They run them into the ground until it's no longer safe to run and then bail out. This has happened a couple of times to the Central Park machine.

As far as the McCullough's I knew Edo fairly well. He had sold his last two machines to the city back in the early 1960's. They combined them (the former Stubbman and McCullough machines) into one machine, and it's the one out at Flushing Meadows now.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005 8:09 PM

I'm totally not dismissing your point - as I've had a many a conversation with the mechanics on the Cyclone speaking/complaining about all of the custom-machined parts they have to get on an annual basis to keep the trains going. There is also most likely (*sniff*) some updating that will have to be done to the B&B to keep it 'up to code'. Mike Saltzman who operated and maintained the carousel was super-insane about the maintenance of the machine and at the time of his death had about 4-5 spare/back-up pieces of every working part in the carousel. So whoever gets handed the carousell for it's move across the street should hopefully have quite of cache of components to work with.

I, along with you, hope that the city will find right concessionaire for the machine and operate as closely to how it did up til this May.


Jim 'jimvid' McDonnell


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