The Flushing Meadows Carousel located at Fantasy Forest in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens is a historical marvel. It was designed by combining two Coney Island carousels, both designed by renowned carver Marcus Illions, to serve those attending the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair. It showcases a beautiful array of 64 jumping horses, 7 standing horses, 1 menagerie animal (lion), and 2 chariots. To this day, we continue to pay homage to its rich past when we open our gates to our guests and on occasion, have the opportunity to celebrate a story of equally inspiring origins.
Last weekend, we had the pleasure of hosting rocker_mom_forever * who dreamed of reliving her childhood experience on this carousel as an adult. Furthermore, rocker_mom_forever wished to do so in honor of her upcoming 70th birthday in June. While we greatly enjoy seeing people of all ages visiting our park, age was not rocker_mom_forever's concern; it was her disability.
"Living life to the fullest has become more important to me these days," says rocker_mom_forever, who had suffered two strokes and was, as a result, impaired on her left side. "[For my 70th birthday] my children are all adults, willing to indulge in my wish to ride the horse which goes up and down."
In our initial correspondence with rocker_mom_forever, she was concerned that her disability would prevent her from riding one of the jumping horses; however, we were determined to make her birthday wish come true and immediately began preparing for her and her family's arrival.
"To [the Staff at Fantasy Forest]: I am so excited about tomorrow, Saturday, I probably won't sleep all night. My family and I should be there at the appointed time, 7pm. As a matter of fact my youngest son, a 28 year old, is flying in from Yakima, WA as I type the letter!!"
Last Saturday night, as the park was winding down, Fantasy Forest's Site Manager, Kassandra, and staff gladly welcomed rocker_mom_forever, her family (including a son who had traveled across the country for this special moment), and caregivers. With everyone's help, we were able to lift her onto one of the 64 jumping horses she had so long dreamed of riding and who, after surviving two strokes, did not imagine would be possible. Supported on each side by those whom she cared for most, we were able to fulfill one of the best birthday dreams the park has had the pleasure of sharing in.
"It was everything I had hoped for!! " wrote rocker_mom_forever in her thank you letter the following day. "I and my family thank you from the bottom of our hearts..."
In essence, rocker_mom_forever's experience with Fantasy Forest is what we strive to bring our guests during the season: something more than what they had originally hoped for when they enter our park with their families and friends, whether it's for the first time or as a returning guest; a child's first birthday or their 70th.
*Alias provided at the personal request of our guest to ensure privacy. Photos courtesy of rocker_mom_forever's wonderful care-givers.