Flooded in Sandy, Jane’s Carousel gets extra protection

September 18, 2013 From Brooklyn Bridge Park
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One of the lasting images of Sandy’s destruction was of Jane’s Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park submerged in floodwater. On Wednesday, David and Jane Walentas were joined by Brooklyn Bridge Park President Regina Myer in installing a state-of-the-art flood protection system, AquaFence, to ensure that this neighborhood gem is safe from future storms. 

The system consists of 44 marine-grade panels that can be quickly deployed when a storm is approaching. When not in use, the panels will be stored out of sight so the carousel can be enjoyed without interruption. The system is being donated by David and Jane Walentas.

“The carousel provides so much joy to the tens of thousands of children who visit each year, and it broke our hearts to see that put in jeopardy during Hurricane Sandy,” said Jane Walentas. “We hope that by protecting the carousel and pavilion from future storms we can ensure that more children can enjoy the unique thrill of experiencing a vintage carousel in this beautiful park on the East River Waterfront.”

“The image of Jane’s Carousel submerged during Hurricane Sandy will remain in our memories and is a testament to the importance of resilient design and preparedness in the face of climate change,” said Regina Myer, president of Brooklyn Bridge Park. “We are fortunate that our park designers made a conscious effort to design a park capable of withstanding the impact of storms and major floods and applaud David and Jane Walentas’ efforts to plan for the future.”

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Last year more than 350,000 riders enjoyed the carousel, and more than a half a million riders have visited since it opened two years ago this week in September 2011. Jane’s Carousel is a vintage 1922 carousel hand-restored by Jane Walentas over 27 years and made available for public use in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The carousel  is encased in a jewel box-like pavilion designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel.

The carousel is maintained and operated by Friends of Jane’s Carousel, a not-for-profit entity. Jane’s Carousel has won numerous awards, including the “Best Public Space” Award from Travel + Leisure Magazine, the “Best New Urban Amenity” in 2012 by The New York Municipal Arts Society and more.

To protect the carousel during future flood events, the perimeter of the carousel will be surrounded by 44 AquaFence panels that can be assembled by a crew of 10 people within two hours.  The only tool required for setup is a common hand drill. The system is made from marine-grade panels, aluminum, stainless steel, and PVC. The units use water as a stabilizer, so as water rises against the wall, the system actually becomes stronger and less permeable.  Once the threat of storm damage has left, the panels can be taken down in a matter of hours.

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