Sunday, July 25, 2010

Nunley's Carousel, Museum Row, Garden City, LI, NY

Here I am buying my ticket at the newly refurbished Nunley's Carousel located at Museum Row in Garden City, LI.  When Susan and Rob both rode this carousel as children, it was located in Baldwin, NY in the early 60's as pictured below.  It was right around the corner from where Rob lived in Freeport.  Susan used to visit from Long Beach, which is a 10 minute drive.  There were all kinds of amusements there: a great mini golf course, bumper boats, mini trains, race car driving, a tiny roller coaster, a ferris wheel and of course the carousel complete with rings that you would stand up and catch yourself.

When they both discovered that the carousel had reopened, they made a bee line to see it again and brought me along to share in their memories.  We all had a great time.

Nunley's Carousel was originally built in 1912 by the Stein and Goldstein Artistic Carousell Company of Brooklyn, NY.  Eventually brought to Carnarsie's Golden City Park, it would be known to all as "Murphy's Carousel " What is important to note here are the partner's names, Timothy Murphy and William Nunley.  They both worked for the Merley Corp. who operated a large number of carousels in the northeast. 

In the 30's, Robert Moses planned his new highway, now known as the Belt Parkway, to run through Brooklyn and Queens. Golden City Park stood smack in the middle of it.  By 1938, the park was condemned and leveled.  In December of that year, the carousel and a large frame building to house it was moved to the Baldwin site on Sunrise Highway where it opened in 1940 and renamed Nunley's Carousel, which is the name we all know and love today.

Hey, look at me on the horse.  I caught a ring! Can you see it around my leg?  What a great time we had.  Since it was hot, the nearby Cradle of Aviation staff offered us bottled water.  Susan and Rob had a great time as well, taking pictures and riding on the horses as well.  After almost 50 years, it was great seeing the all the animals again in the former glory. 

In 1995, Nunley's Carousel and Amusements closed its doors and its many rides were sold off in sections.  When the carousel was in danger of being sold off in pieces as well, three generations of fans wondered what would happen next. Understanding the frustrations of the people,  Nassau County finally bought Nunley's Carousel and was brought over to what is now known as Museum Row in Garden City where it was renovated and refurbished to its former glory. It opened again last year during the weekend of May 2 and 3rd, where at last it can be enjoyed by its former fans and many, many more generations to come. 

Here are some interesting facts about the carousel:
  • Nunley’s Carousel has 41 horses and one lion.
  • The entire carousel is suspended from the center pole.
  • The carousel is 42 feet in diameter.
  • One bell means the carousel is ready to start, two bells means that it is beginning to turn.
  • American carousels turn counterclockwise, but in England, carousels turn clockwise.
  • The outward facing side of the carousel horse is more heavily carved than the side facing inward.
  • Between 2000 and 3000 carousels were produced in the U.S. during its golden age of wooden carousels (1880s to 1930s); today, there are less than 150 still operating.
  • Golden age carousel figures were not carved out of a single block of wood, instead several body panels were connected producing a hollow body.
  • To relax before taking off on his solo non-stop trans-Atlantic flight in 1927, Charles Lindbergh ventured to Coney Island to ride a carousel. 
 I would like to thank the caretakers of the new Nunley's Carousel for being so patient and kind to us while we enjoyed the ride this morning. Their site,, is informative and interesting and it is where I borrowed their Fun Facts section to let you know more about the carousel.  Please check it out.   Another site to check,, will talk more about the Baldwin site and the eventual refurbishing and renovation. Lastly, I need to mention the Cradle of Aviation Museum site. The building is right next door and it is where Susan bought her Nunley's Carousel tee shirt and ring necklace:


  1. Clyde goes to the most interesting places. The carousel looks charming.

  2. Love this find, Clyde! There is one in Rochester, NY at the Ontario Beach Park in Charlotte that has been restored just like this one. We take our grandsons there every year. Would love to ride on "your" carousel, Clyde!

  3. I remember trying to catch the ring on a carousel, too, but never got one. Good for you for getting one! Looks like you had a fun day!