This past weekend Long Island’s Air and Space Museum, Cradle of Aviation, hosted a Centennial Celebration bringing back 1912 to the shores of Nassau County.
At the center of the historical re-enactment was Nunley’s Carousel, a beloved centerpiece for Long Island’s children for over 50 years. The carousel was first built in 1912 in Brooklyn at the Stein and Goldstein Artistic Carousel Company. This was the period in US history when the art of creating carousels reached its zenith and the carousels created by Stein and Goldstein are among the greatest examples of this specialized, and highly stylized genre of art.
First installed in Canarsie’s Golden City Park on Brooklyn’s waterfront, the carousel was first called “Murphy’s Carousel” after Timothy Murphy, who, along with William Nunley, owned the Merley Corporation which ran a large number of carousels across the northeastern US. Murphy’s Carousel was in operation at Golden City Park for 26 years.
In December of 1938 Golden City Park was razed to make way for Robert Moses’ Belt Parkway. The Carousel has already been moved to its new location in Long Island in Baldwin on the Sunrise Highway. In the spring of 1940 the carousel re-opened, now referred to as Nunley’s Carousel.
In 1995 Nunley’s Carousel and Amusement Park was closed down and all the games, rides and mini-golf course were sold. The threat of the beloved carousel being sold-off in pieces loomed large. Understanding the historic significance of the carousel, Nassau County intervened and purchased it as an historic artifact.
After being stored in a hanger for several years, Nunley’s Carousel is now delighting children again at its newest location at the Cradle of Aviation Museum on Museum Row in Uniondale, Long Island not far from the Nassau Coliseum.