Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

September 18, 2009

Eileen Larrabee
Dan Keefe

Totally Kid Carousel Relaunched at Riverbank State Park

Amusement ride's colorful animals inspired by local schoolchildren

Newly restored under New York City's Percent for Art Program

New York State Parks Commissioner Carol Ash and senior agency officials from the New York City Departments of Cultural Affairs and Environmental Protection today welcomed back the green octopus, red-nosed reindeer, pink flamingo and fly-swallowing frog to Riverbank State Park. The merry creatures occupy the newly repaired and refurbished Totally Kid Carousel, now reopened to the public at Riverbank.

"The refurbished Totally Kid Carousel will surely light up many smiles on the faces of young visitors to Riverbank State Park, and enhance the park's recreational value to the community," said Ash. "I'm grateful to Commissioner Levin and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs for helping provide park visitors the opportunity to enjoy this whimsical attraction."

"The City's Percent for Art Program helps to make our public spaces more engaging and dynamic, fusing imaginative artwork and high quality design," said Kate D. Levin. "Thanks to our partnership with State Parks, the Department of Environmental Protection and City Hall, community residents and visitors have a chance to experience the joy and delight of a ride on the beautifully restored Totally Kid Carousel."

"This beautiful park and carousel demonstrate that with care even the most utilitarian infrastructure — such as a wastewater treatment plant — can be an exciting and inviting neighbor," said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Steven W. Lawitts. "This kind of juxtaposition is a perfect example of the New York that Mayor Bloomberg envisions in his PlaNYC 2030, where essential services co-exist with dynamic public spaces to enhance quality of life Citywide."

The Carousel, located near the entrance of the park on 145th Street, will operate for the rest of the year Saturday and Sunday afternoons, weather permitting. There will be no charge to ride for the balance of this season.

The Carousel opened at Riverbank State Park in 1997, but mechanical problems led to service interruptions. In 2008 NYC Department of Cultural Affairs issued an RFP to remove and completely overhaul the Carousel. Carousel Works, a carousel construction company based in Mansfield, Ohio, was awarded the $688,000 contract and has spent the past year overhauling all the mechanical systems as well as restoring the animals and decorative elements.

The Totally Kid Carousel was originally conceived and executed by artist Milo Mottola, who was commissioned by the Percent for Art Program within the Department of Cultural Affairs. Using drawings from New York City school children, Mottola created fanciful models for the 36 carousel animals. At each animal's place on the carousel is the child's original sketch and signature.

Riverbank is the only park of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. Inspired by urban rooftop designs in Japan, this 28-acre multi-level landscaped recreational facility rises 69 feet above the Hudson River atop a wastewater treatment plant operated by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. It is one of 178 parks and 35 historic sites administered by The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

For more information about state parks and historic sites in New York, please visit more information on the City's Percent for Art Program, visit