Kids of all ages got some good news this week when the developers of Brooklyn Bridge Park accepted Jane Walentas’s gift of her restored 1920s-era carousel for a spot in what is currently Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park.
Of course, critics of Walentas’s husband, the DUMBO development titan David Walentas, seized on the announcement as another chance to take a deep quaff from the mug of Haterade.
Yes, David Walentas is controversial. Yes, he has made an enormous fortune from his decision decades ago to buy up warehouses and turn them into a thriving — and expensive — boutique community.
Yes, he sometimes treats the neighborhood like his own little fiefdom (though the guy gets credit for keeping out the homogenized chain stores that are turning every other neighborhood into Anytown, U.S.A).
Yes, his desire to build a tall apartment tower near the Brooklyn Bridge last year annoyed some people who say that views of the bridge would be obscured.
And, yes, Brooklyn Bridge Park could have done a better job of making sure the Walentases went through a transparent process before signing off on the carousel and its glass-walled, Jean Nouvel-designed pavilion.
And yes, some DUMBO anti-development types are still angry at Nouvel for his desire to build a fancy hotel on what is now the Pier 1 portion of Brooklyn Bridge Park.
But come on, people, let it go — we are talking about a merry-go-round here!
Jane Walentas deserves credit, not scorn, for her desire to see the carousel — which she salvaged and restored — find a home that benefits the larger community. And her offer to bring in one of the world’s greatest architects to design its corresponding pavilion is good news for anyone who appreciates fine design over the kind of bland pap that city bureaucrats would likely create.
The larger issue is that the carousel is part of a round of positive news that Brooklyn Bridge Park development officials have been able to trumpet this year — and that may be why opponents are so frustrated. Of course, this newspaper has long decried the development scheme that finances the park’s maintenance budget through housing and other commercial operations inside the footprint, but for now, we are all benefiting from increased open space, new playgrounds and, yes, the Walentases’ offer of a carousel.