Two Chariots and 58 Painted Horses; Central Park Carousel Seeks A New Concessionaire

The Central Park Carousel is located mid-park at 64th Street. Photo via Wikipedia.

By Carol Tannenhauser

Here’s a chance for a change of career and a childhood fantasy rolled into one: run the carousel in Central Park. The concession is up for grabs, the Parks Department said, on Friday. Here’s the RFP:

NYC Parks today issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the operation and maintenance of the Friedsam Memorial Carousel in Central Park: Solicitation # M10-37-CL-C-2021. The concessionaire will be required to operate the carousel year-round daily and maintain the licensed premises, located in the center of the park, near 64th Street.

There have been several carousels in Central Park since the first one opened in 1871. The Friedsam Memorial Carousel was originally crafted in 1908 and features two chariots and 58 hand-carved painted horses, all on a turntable 50 feet in diameter. A Central Park highlight since the 1950s, the carousel is one of the largest and most popular in the country.

NYC Parks is seeking a concessionaire to operate the facility for a one (1) to five (5) year term. No longer term will be considered. Proposals should include a detailed operational plan; a timetable outlining all design, improvements and capital work; and a description of environmentally-friendly practices. Plans to operate a non-motorized pushcart for the sale of gifts and souvenirs and up to three non-motorized mobile food units for the sale of snack food items are encouraged.

All proposals for this RFP must be submitted electronically no later than Friday, March 5, 2021. All interested parties considering responding to this RFP are encouraged to join the remote proposer meeting on Monday, February 22, 2021 at 2 p.m. To download the RFP, visit Parks’ website here.

You may even find a “very generous” letter from the previous concessionaire, The Trump Organization.

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 12 comments | permalink
    1. Sue says:

      Long ago, on a snowy day like this one, my children and I, in gratitude for all the times we rode the Carousel, baked brownies for the operators & walked over. It was closed, but we found one door not quite pulled all the way down & slid the box under it. I’ve always wondered if they ever got them — or mice did.

    2. nemo paradise says:

      Where will we find the perfect knight to redeem the carousel from Trump’s evil grasp? What shining hero will emerge to rescue us?

      Thousands of children await a Galahad to lead us to the day they can once again bob up and down in a circle of love, trust and harmony, and Eden is restored to Central Park.

    3. Bennet says:

      Realistically it is gonna be years before facilities like this will be possible in our dense urban environment. New covid strains continue to evolve and closures and masks will be persistent. We are in a non-virtuous circle with no solution other than population dispersal, already underway.

      • Markd says:

        Bennet must be a blast at parties…well, pre-population dispersal.

        • nemo paradise says:

          I wonder if this might be wishful thinking on the part of a little boy, who, unable to build a sand castle, delights in kicking them down.

      • LivableCity says:

        Actually, given that carousel activity takes place outdoors or quasi outdoors, and (a) ventilation is good, (b) distancing and masking can be maintained, and (c) hand sanitation can be require before and after rides,,,this might be a possible activity next summer. Maybe every other horse, and no one on neighboring horses? Or admission in pods of 2-4 who can sit near one another?

        The food carts and gift concessions may be harder to operate – one wants to avoid lines, crowds, and people sitting and demasking to eat close together. A couple of distanced tables outside might be Ok – pretty much what they used to have.

    4. Barbara Ross says:

      How about the people who run the Carousel in Dumbo?
      That’s a great one

    5. Dolores Del Rio says:

      Who were the Friedman’s, for whom the carousel is named?

    6. Sherry Dworsky says:

      I wonder if one of NYC’s great museums or maybe the Javit’s Center wouldn’t make an excellent concessionaire. There is already an infrastructure in place for tickets, food, and gifts.

    7. Anne says:

      Unfortunately Bernal is likely correct…

    8. Anne says:

      Bennet not Bernal