Getting to work at a place like this gives me the opportunity to experience it quite intimately. I’ve found comics from World War II glued to the inner wall of the machinery room at the carousel’s center. We clean the animals with baby wipes to protect the paint, and I can almost feel in my hands the tools skilled craftsmen used to carve these beauties. I choose a long-past dance-craze tune for the band organ and think about how people — from all the different decades of the park’s history, and now — hear the music.
Nannies bring children here, but mostly it’s parents and grandparents. They want to make this memory themselves. I get that. I grew up nearby, and my parents brought me here often. When I’m a father, I’m sure I’ll do the same. Many adults come without children, too. I love hearing the stories of people who visited the old amusement park years ago and came back to the area, never dreaming that the carousel would still be around. A few weeks ago, we had a lady of 106 who wept beautifully all the way through her ride. One night a few weeks after that, we fit a gorgeous wedding party onto the platform, more people than I’ve ever seen in and around the animals at one time.