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NYCEDC Seeks Consultant to Restore Historic Carousel

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), in collaboration with the Department of Parks and Recreation (Parks), issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to identify a consultant to restore and reconstruct the historic Bishoff & Brienstein (B & B) Carousell that was a fixture on Surf Avenue in Coney Island for more than 70 years. NYCEDC and Parks are looking for a specialist in restoring early 20th Century carousels with at least 10 years of experience. The magnificent 50-horse attraction was acquired by the City of New York from the McCullough family in 2005. The acquisition by the City averted the carousel’s sale at auction and the possibility of it being relocated piece-meal to other parts of the country. After its purchase by the City, the carousel was carefully dismantled and stored at the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The RFP seeks a qualified consultant to provide all services necessary to restore the carousel to operational condition and conserve its historic decorative components.

“Since unveiling our comprehensive Strategic Plan for Coney Island in 2005, the City has worked to implement key Coney Island economic development and cultural projects, including the development of a new, 40,000-square-foot community center and a multi-phase streetscape improvement program throughout the neighborhood,” said NYCEDC President Robert C. Lieber. “The restored B & B Carousell will be the centerpiece of a new, oceanfront public plaza called Steeplechase Plaza and will make a meaningful contribution to fulfilling the goals of the Strategic Plan, including historic preservation, expansion of cultural and amusement activities to make Coney Island a year-round destination, and providing a connection to Coney Island’s unique history.”

“The B & B Carousell is an iconic amusement attraction dating back to Coney Island’s heyday in 1919,” said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “Working with EDC, we look forward to the selection of a qualified consultant who will restore and conserve this beloved gem. A revitalized B & B Carousell will soon return to Coney Island for the enjoyment of future generations.”

The project will be conducted in two phases. Phase I will include an evaluation of the condition of the carousel, preparation of schematic designs, a cost estimate and a restoration plan. Phase II will include restoration and installation of the carousel, as well as preparation of a maintenance manual. In addition to restoring the carousel at its own facility, the selected restorer will have the option of doing the restoration in City-provided space at Building 45 at the Bush Terminal in Sunset Park, or in another facility in the general NYC metropolitan area proposed by the consultant and approved by the City’s Project Team. In both cases, the consultant will be responsible for the fit-out of the space, including required ventilation, HVAC and security systems.

NYCEDC and Parks will use the following criteria to evaluate the proposals: extent of experience in providing required services; quality of management, reputation and references; demonstrated understanding of the services to be rendered and ability to perform them; as well as proposed fee and cost schedules.

The B & B Carousell dates from 1919 and is 45 feet wide and 20 feet tall. In addition to its 50 horses, the carousel features four chariots, a 66-key band organ and an operational brass ring machine. Its structure and mechanical components were built by William F. Mangles. Forty-nine of its horses were hand-carved by master woodcarver Brooklynite Charles Carmel. Its lead horse, a fully armored horse with the image of Abraham Lincoln in its trappings, was produced by another legendary Brooklyn carving shop, the studio of Marcus Charles Illions. Although originally located in New Jersey, the carousel had been owned by the McCullough family since 1932. In the early 1920s, Coney Island had as many as 25 carousels, of which only the B & B remains.

To download a copy of the RFP, visit There will be an informational meeting on Tuesday, September 25 at 9 a.m., at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Those interested in responding to the RFP are encouraged to attend the informational meeting. Please RSVP for the meeting on or before Monday, September 24 to Anne Cochran at 212-312-3730. Proposals are due no late than 4 p.m. on Wednesday, October 17, 2007.

New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City’s primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC’s mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City’s competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City’s many opportunities.


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Contact Info

Janel Patterson/Yonit Golub 212-312-3523