Well, it has been awhile since I rode on the World's Best Carousel. But Spouse and I went for a spin over the weekend, and I was crushed when the ever-cordial Lucio (the longtime master of this painted stable, and one of its restorer-craftsmen) reluctantly informed us of a new rule: Jumpers for adults only.
Lucio explained that three people had piled onto a single horse and busted the turning mechanism up top. Idiots. And after what must have been a costly repair to this priceless, meticulously restored gem, I guess "legal" decided that the only guarantee against a repeat was this draconian rule. But...damn.
My suave stag is just one of many excellent stationary guys on the Prospect Park Carousel, and there is still so much to love: the way the green park outside flies by in a blur, the gorgeous decorations, and of course the mighty Wurlitzer band organ* thumping away. (Plenty of carousels use awful recorded music or worse yet, none.) The melody that greeted us on start-up? "Welcome Back," followed by a slightly wonky rendition of "Lara's Theme." (See below for why band organs have that delightfully off-kilter sound.)
But here's a big Brooklyn raspberry to the idiots who spoiled the jumpers for the "grown-ups," a term we must use loosely.
* From the park's sign outside the Carousel: The Malkin Band Organ is a Wurlitzer Model 153 Band Organ. The organ was originally manufactured circa 1916 by the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company in North Tonawanda, New York, and completely restored by the Prospect Park Alliance in 1990. Expert craftsman Tim Westman rebuilt the internal mechanism, while the series of paintings on the outside of the organ were rediscovered and completely restored by artist Will Morton VIII. The Malkin Band Organ has a duplex roll mechanism, 16 bells, 141 pipes, 2 drums, and a cymbal. The organ functions via a pressure pump, which supplies air, and a vacuum pump, which turns the roll. The original Wurlitzer music rolls were made of cardboard and covered by a unique wax craft paper that is no longer manufactured. A distinctive feature of these band organs is that they are non-chromatic and lack certain notes, such as D sharp. Experts estimate that there are about 50 Model 153's remaining in the world.