Man dedicates two years to restore City Park Carousel

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wwltv.com

Posted on May 29, 2014 at 9:03 PM

Bill Capo / Eyewitness News
Email: bcapo@wwltv.com | Twitter: @billcapo

NEW ORELANS -- They may be called flying horses, but they can weigh 300 pounds.

Restoring each City Park Carousel figure can take weeks. "There's not too many pieces of art that you use like a carousel," said Bill Finkenstein of WRF Designs. "You know, you don't sit a youngster on the hood of a Corvette, and say 'kick it and giddy-yup.'"

The Carousel has been in City Park since 1906, but Finkenstein said they weren't kiddie rides a century ago.

"This was the thrill ride of its day, you know. I mean that's something that people forget along the way. This was an adult ride."

Finkenstein and his son Gabe are restoration experts, artists, historians, and sometimes find artifacts the carvers left in the hollow interiors.

"Inside of these we've found everything from Irish sweepstakes tickets, notes from the carvers, carvers, invoices," said Bill. "They used them as a time capsule."

"I grew up around this," said Gabe Finkenstein. "There were horses in our living room for as long as I can remember."

They are returning six of the 48 carousel figures they took to their Connecticut workshop in February and collecting six more for restoration.

"It's all done by hand. There's no air brushing here," said Bill. "You put each spot on."

In all, it's a $185,000 project to restore the Carousel, but two of the horses they just returned needed some extra work, because they were damaged by a movie stunt man who jumped onto the moving Carousel and missed.

"He just fell into the legs and took a couple of them with him," Bill Finkenstein said.

Bill and Gabe say the best part is seeing others enjoy their work.

"We've brought it back to life," Bill Finkenstein said. "There is such a sense of accomplishment."

The entire project is scheduled to be finished by late 2015.

 

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