|New York Carousels (page 1)|
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The Derby Racer was built in 1927 for Playland by Prior & Church with horses carved by Illions. It is one of only two Derby Racers remaining - the other one is in Cedar Point, OH. The Cedar Point Racer is slightly larger and features horses in full stride while this carousel has horses in more traditional prancing poses.
The Playland Racer runs about three times the speed of a regular carousel and is much faster than the one in Cedar Point. Despite the speed and apparent danger, riders are not strapped in and are only instructed to lean to the inside, brace their feet in a certain way in the metal stirrups, and hang on to the metal hoop with their hands. The 56 jumpers are set in four rows in tracks originally designed to move the horses forward and backward simulating a race but they no longer do this at Playland. Although the saddles are built for two like Cedar Point, only one rider is allowed per horse. The sound of the spinning wooden track is loud and exciting. There is even a recording at the beginning of the ride simulating the call of a horse race. This Derby Racer was restored in 1986. For more, see this website.
The Grand Carousel is a 1915 Mangels-Carmel. It has four rows with 48 jumpers, 18 standers and three chariots. It was originally in New Haven, CT and moved here when the park opened in 1927. The Grand Carousel has a rare band organ built by the Gavioli company in Italy. The gorgeous organ enclosure features two male figures which strike bells in time to the music while the central female figure moves a baton. This carousel is well-maintained with the most recent repainting in 1999.
For more about Rye Playland and its carousels, see this website.
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