Reaching for brass ring
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Reaching for brass ring
With the Nunley's proposal stymied, plan to build carousel with Roosevelt theme is latest go-round
BY BILL BLEYER
February 7, 2006
In the summer of 2004, an Oyster Bay committee headed by musician Billy Joel proposed to Nassau County that the group restore historic Nunley's Carousel and relocate it to the North Shore community.
County Executive Thomas Suozzi endorsed the plan, then abandoned it eight months later when other county and Hempstead Town officials insisted the carousel return to Baldwin, where Nunley's Amusement Park had been located.
But the carousel committee of the Oyster Bay Main Street Association, a civic improvement group, never lost interest in a merry-go-round. And now it has unveiled plans to build a new one with a local history theme.
Pending Town of Oyster Bay approval, the group would commission a carousel patterned on historic designs like Nunley's but include animals and illustrations portraying scenes of Oyster Bay and its favorite son, Theodore Roosevelt. So along with horses, it would have one or more Teddy bears.
The cost for the carousel and enclosure is estimated to range from $2.5 million to $3 million, all raised privately. The group, with Joel still serving as honorary chairman, already has pledges for $1.1 million.
The carousel is seen as the centerpiece of a project to spruce up Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park on Oyster Bay with additional landscaping and lighting, attracting more families and reducing vandalism. "The lack of attention to this park has made it less enjoyable for many people," said carousel committee co-chairman Jerritt Gluck.
The committee last month briefed Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto on the new proposal. "I am very supportive of the project, subject to community input," he said. "It's very do-able." He said the town board would schedule a public hearing in the spring to elicit comment.
Venditto won't have to wait for input from the Oyster Bay Civic Association, which opposed the original plan.
"This has got to be stopped," said president Marie Knight, who insisted putting any carousel in the park violates the 1942 deed of gift from the Theodore Roosevelt Association to the town when the park was created. "This was supposed to be a passive park," she said. The civic association is developing an alternative plan for the park without a carousel.
The Roosevelt association had endorsed the Nunley's plan, and president Norman Parsons said, "including a Theodore Roosevelt theme would make it even more appropriate."
Joseph Reilly, the committee's architect, said the park pedestrian entrance would be shifted to the east to line up with Audrey Avenue. A new Rough Rider Trail with educational inlays would lead to the carousel, which would be located farther east than in the original plan to keep it farther from the central Roosevelt memorial area.
A fountain originally proposed for that section when it was designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted would now be added. And a police booth would be moved from South Street to the park.
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