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Jane tries another go-round with carousel

Jane Walentas, wife of DUMBO development titan David Walentas, wants to donate her restored carousel to the developers of Brooklyn Bridge Park. It’s not so easy.
The Brooklyn Paper / Kristen Joy Watts

Jane Walentas — wife of DUMBO megadeveloper David Walentas — is ramping up an effort to get her pet project, a 1920s-era carousel, included in the proposed Brooklyn Bridge Park development site.

And in the style of old World War II propaganda posters, she wants YOU to join the crusade.

The amusement, known as Jane’s Carousel, is temporarily housed in a gallery at 56 Water St. where every weekend Walentas turns on the bright lights, starts the engine, and lets the public watch, but not ride, the gilded horses that Walentas spent 22 years restoring.

Because the space is too small by city standards to allow passengers, Walentas wants to donate the carousel to the nearby Brooklyn Bridge Park development. But first, she wants to see what kind of support there is for such a plan.

To find out, she sent out postcards last week to at least 5,000 prospective followers and presented signed petitions from the gallery to elected officials and community leaders.

“It looks very positive that it’s going to go in [the Brooklyn Bridge Park development],” Walentas said, saying she has received positive signals the officials. “We don’t have anything firm yet, but I feel very optimistic.”

Walentas said she will donate the carousel and a permanent, protective structure to the development. She hopes it will eventually sit on a waterfront spot just north of the Brooklyn Bridge, where she first envisioned it 10 years ago, when the Walentases commissioned an elaborate waterfront hotel project by architect Jean Nouvel as part of an earlier park development scheme.

The hotel project was abandoned by state officials following community oppositionk.

Nouvel has agreed to design the carousel’s new home, too, Walentas said, but has not finished the designs.

“We want it to be as simple as possible,” Walentas said. “Jean just loves the site, so I’m very flattered that he really considered to do [the building] for us.”

A spokesman for the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation, the state agency overseeing the development, said it looks forward to including the carousel at the site.

“We are very excited about this wonderful donation,” said agency spokesman Warner Johnson. “We are currently completing our master plan and [are] deciding on the future location for the Carousel.”

For information on the carousel, visit www.janescarousel.com or e-mail jane@janescarousel.com.

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