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Jean dark! Nouvel’s carousel ‘lantern’ is not working • Brooklyn Paper

Jean dark! Nouvel’s carousel ‘lantern’ is not working

Jean Nouvel’s glass-walled design for a pavilion for Jane Walentas’s carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park was supposed to glow with horse silhouettes at night.

The most-ballyhooed feature of Jane’s Carousel — a “lantern”-like, galloping horse projection envisioned by designer Jean Nouvel — has been scratched.

Jane Walentas, the wife of mega-developer David Walentas and artist who lovingly restored the 1920s-era carnival ride, said the kleig lights needed to create the “magic lantern” effect are too hot for all her pretty acrylic-painted horses — so Nouvel will have to wait.

“Most people say, ‘Who cares?’ It looks beautiful without the shadows, ” said Walentas, who spent 22 years restoring the horses. “We still believe in Jean Nouvel’s concept. We’re looking for other ways to do it. We just don’t want to burn up the carousel.”

For now, the $9-million, starchitect-designed glass pavilion remains a pretty glowing box after hours, sitting near Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1.

Walentas unveiled the carousel and its fancy home on Sept. 15 at a bash featuring the city’s elite. Back then, Nouvel boasted about the curtains that would come down at night and project shadows of the prancing horses.

“It’s like a magic lantern, like a musical box, and you have the dance of the horses in the middle of these two bridges,” he told international culture magazine Artinfo. “It’s an alive little monument, very fragile.”

The illuminated perimeter of the ride is not what Nouvel envisioned, but DUMBO residents don’t seem to mind.

“I like it anyway,” said Michael Thomas. “It’s like the Empire State Building — I don’t care what color it is. The most important thing is that it keeps kids happy during the day.”

Once called the Idora Park Merry-Go-Round, the carousel remained in an Ohio amusement park until the Walentases bought it for $385,000 at an auction in 1984.

The couple hired a team that toiled for 12 years, scraping away many layers of varnish to reveal the horses’ original carvings and colors. Jane Walentas later added gold leaf and even hired a Mercedes detailer to draw decorations on the reigns and saddles.

The carousel has averaged 4,000 rides per week, at $2 a pop.

Jane’s Carousel at Brooklyn Bridge Park [Dock and Water streets in DUMBO, (718) 222-2502]. Thur–Sun, 11 am–6 pm. For info, visit janescarousel.com.

Reach Kate Briquelet at kbriquelet@cnglocal.com or by calling her at (718) 260-2511.

In reality, the glass-walled pavilion is nice, but not the promised “magic lantern.”
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta

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