Before a Carousel’s 100th Birthday, a Visit From the Doctor

When Todd W. Goings travels from his home in Ohio to tend to his patients in New York City, he knows he faces a heavy lift. Many are centenarians, with creaky limbs, an unsteady gait and a wan complexion. Some are missing their tails.

Mr. Goings is a carousel doctor. His latest house call was to the merry-go-round in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, which turns 100 this year. He was there the other day bent over a wooden horse, carefully repairing damage to its belly with dowels and glue. It was among nine horses that needed a tune-up before the carousel reopens for the season on March 31.

The Prospect Park carousel is one of about 150 antique wooden carousels left in the United States, down from a peak of several thousand. It is a classic example of the Coney Island style (yes, there are schools of carousel design), whose horses tend to be more flamboyant than the tamer Philadelphia and Fairground styles.

As he worked, Mr. Goings marveled that the Prospect carousel, along with its wooden cousins elsewhere, was not in worse shape, given the demands of an adoring, sometimes rambunctious, public.

“With any other piece of antique equipment – like a 1912 car — you’re usually not using it to its full capacity,” he said. “But with a carousel, every day you load it up with 60 people and ride them around for 10 minutes and then put 60 more on. That’s the amazing part.”

The Prospect Park carousel underwent an extensive restoration in the late 1980s. It was the first capital project of the Prospect Park Alliance, the nonprofit group formed in 1987 to help restore the park. Since then, the carousel has been maintained and touched up with red, turquoise and gold paint by the doting carousel operator, Lucio Schiavone.

But for the carousel’s 100th anniversary, the Alliance decided it was time to summon Mr. Goings, who had done repairs in the past. “Todd is an acknowledged master at keeping these antiques running smoothly,” Paul Nelson, the Alliance’s spokesman, said. “We call him the carousel doctor for good reason.”

Mr. Goings, 45, has a 26,000-square-foot studio at a former military base in Marion, Ohio. But he is often on the road, tending to 15 carousels, on average, a year. Some, like the one in Prospect Park, need only minor repairs on site, while others are trucked to Ohio for extensive restorations.

New York City, with more than a dozen wooden carousels, is one of his more frequent stops. “That is a huge collection,” he said. “If you look at other big cities, they’re lucky to have one or two.”

He helped refurbish Jane’s Carousel, which opened last summer in Brooklyn Bridge Park inside a transparent acrylic pavilion. And he is now restoring Coney Island’s historic B&B Carousel, which was purchased by the city in 2005, after the death of its owner, and transported whole to Ohio.

Trained in industrial pattern-making and cabinetry, Mr. Goings became smitten 22 years ago after his first carousel job. “It was something interesting and used everything I knew,” he said. He went to work for a carousel-restoration firm before venturing out on his own. Today, he employs eight restorers who specialize in cracked hooves, missing eyes and stiff jumper poles.

The Prospect Park carousel, housed in an octagonal brick building, originally opened in 1912 in Coney Island and was relocated in 1952. The horses and other animals were carved by Charles Carmel, an artisan with a studio on Ocean Parkway near the Prospect Park stables. Perhaps that accounts for the figures’ lifelike expressions – straining necks, lolling tongues, flared nostrils.

By the 1980s, however, the carousel had fallen into such disrepair that the city closed it for seven years. That was also when wooden horses were becoming hot collectibles, with old carousels dismantled and sold off horse by horse. “Everybody looked up after that feverish period and realized that we only have 150 antique carousels left,” Mr. Goings said.

The Prospect Park carousel dodged that fate, reopening in 1990 after a careful restoration by the restorer Will Morton VIII. He fixed the horses and chariots and removed 20 layers of paint to reveal their original colors. Today, the tails still swish with real horse hair, and the original Wurlitzer band organ belts out waltzes.

Margaret Ring, the carousel manager, must explain to riders that the carousel is an antique and that, no, they cannot stand on the horses. “It’s not just kids,” she said. “Adults try it too.”

The transition to the modern carousel began in the 1930s, as wood gave way to aluminum, and then fiberglass, as a material of choice. In the process, something was lost. “When they switched to fiberglass, they slid down the production values,” Mr. Goings said. “They come out of molds, and one horse looks like the next one.”

With his pots of glue, strips of wood and socket wrenches, Mr. Goings is on a mission to save the antique carousels that remain, with their powerful evocations of Americana and childhood.

“They were the original amusement park ride,” Mr. Goings said. “When you’re a kid, you get on a carousel and warm up for the roller coaster. It’s something that’s rooted very early in our psyche.”

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Staten Island Woman Is Trapped After Falling Through Rotting Floor

Rescuers converged on a house on Staten Island on Friday morning after a woman fell through an apparently rotted-out section of floor at her home and dropped into a basement or crawl space below, the authorities said.

Firefighters were treating the incident as a confined-space rescue because there was no access – no stairs or doors – leading to the space from the house.

The woman was conscious and able to communicate with firefighters at her home, at 806 Richmond Terrace, off Tyson Street, in the New Brighton neighborhood, officials said.

“They’re talking to her,” said James Long, a spokesman for the New York Fire Department.

The woman was not immediately identified, and her age and possible injuries were not yet known.

Mr. Long identified the spot where the woman fell through the floor as the “back porch,” on the exterior of her house.

“She fell through that,” he said, stressing that the space she fell into was not a well, watering hole or sump.

Preliminarily, Mr. Long said it was estimated that the woman fell about 10 feet into the area below.

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A Word From Our Sponsor On Some Tips To Market Your Insurance Agency

If you have an insurance agency and you are ready for a larger clientele, you might want to implement some insurance marketing strategies. Perhaps there are many ways that you can think of to get the word out about your company, or maybe you really need some help in that area. If you need some tips on insurance marketing, you might want to go online and see what kinds of things you can find that will help you. Some of the techniques that you might learn about are writing effective emails and setting up referral programs.

You may want to implement an insurance marketing strategy that will not end up costing you a whole lot of money, such as email writing. If you are able to reach out to people online, you might be able to get some good business. One of the most important parts of your email could be the subject line because that is the first thing that people will read. If your subject line does not catch their attention, the whole email may just end up in the trash bin. If you are interested in email marketing, you might want to learn more about writing effective email subject lines.

Another way that you can market your insurance agency is through referrals. You might want to set up a referral program for your existing clients because often times people go off of the referrals of their trusted associates before they will purchase insurance from any company.

A Photographer Who Never Sees a Mayor’s Bad Side

Over 25 years, as one of New York’s official photographers of mayors, Ed Reed has shadowed four. They have struck contrasting poses and projected divergent personalities. He has photographed them from every angle. But he is the kind of guy who doesn’t volunteer a negative word about any of them.

“I never see their bad sides,” Mr. Reed said.

He has immortalized countless handshakes, plaque presentations, news conferences and other public events, and the occasional revealing impromptu moment — but not the ceremony this year at which Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg congratulated him on his years of service (a colleague took that photo).

“Our team at City Hall is part of the best work force any city has ever put together, and Ed Reed is key to capturing and preserving the most important moments of our administration,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “Not to mention that he takes some of my most GQ-worthy shots.”

Mr. Reed’s mandate, as he sees it, is to “promote and visualize the mayor’s program initiatives and for the archives.”

“It’s great knowing it will be seen 100 years from now by some historian,” Mr. Reed said. “I’ve seen so much history.”

Many of his photographs are requested by the subjects themselves. “Everyone is very happy to have this photograph that creates a connection between them and the face of city government,” he said.

Mr. Reed, 50, came to the city from rural Connecticut when he was 17 to attend Pratt Institute, landed a job as a photographer for Yeshiva University, and, after his boss, Joan Vitale Strong, was hired by the Koch administration, she invited him to join her. He has now spent half of his life in the job.

He shares an office across Broadway from City Hall with the two other mayoral photographers, Spencer Tucker and Kristen Artz.

At one point or another, each of the mayors for whom Mr. Reed has worked has faced an image problem. Don’t blame him. He said he has never found himself in a situation where he was told not to capture a specific scene with his camera.

“I have a pretty good sense of when to take a picture and when not to,” he said.

He defines a great photo as one that displays “a spark of humanity, a sense of humor, of dignity.” His favorite is one he took when he was 26, which wound up on the front page of The New York Times accompanying an article about a book being written jointly by Mayor Edward I. Koch and Cardinal John O’Connor.

Mr. Reed, who is married to a psychotherapist with whom he raised two sons on the Upper East Side, was a devoted reader of Life magazine but was never interested in being a news photographer.

“It’s a tough business to photo unhappy situations,” he said. “I’m not sure I have the constitution for it.”

He also harbored no ambitions to supervise his colleagues.

“I didn’t want to be a manager; I just wanted to photograph,” he said. “That’s what I do best.”

As a senior photographer, he makes $78,059.

“I love the process,” he said. “The days can be long and unpredictable but they are rarely boring. The adrenaline rush becomes almost an addiction, but with the familiar anxiety comes a focus and heightened awareness that makes a better photo. The situations where you’re the only photographer in important meetings can be terrifying, but ultimately rewarding.”

Mr. Reed noted that compared with when he started 25 years ago, so many more people can now view a photographer’s work. “To have these avenues for exposure that never existed before, such as and Flickr, is heaven,” he said.

“To see all that I have seen,” he added, “all the happy accidents where you are surprised by a photo you don’t even remember taking from among the 300 photos from an event, to have worked alongside the greatest photographers in the business, to have met the most famous people in the world, is a photographer’s dream come true.”

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Beware an Internet Lothario

To all the women out there looking for love or at least a date on the Internet, be on the lookout for any prospects going by the name Hayden.

That is the possible first name of a man pictured here who the police say robbed a woman with whom he had gone out on a date.

It all started with a blind date. The man, whom the police believe to be 25 to 30 years old, and a 50-year-old woman went to a bar on the Lower East Side after the woman met the man over the Internet, the police said.

After leaving her date at a subway station at Second Avenue and East Houston Street, the woman noticed that her wallet and her iPhone were missing.

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