History of the Carousel

Wikimedia Commons

A reenactment of the medieval game of carosello


1890s Louis Bopp-Charles Looff Carousel at Sulzer’s Harlem River Park, ca. 1900.

Angelito Jusay

Bryant Park's Le Carrousel

By the 16th century these games spread to France where the events were elaborated; people wore fanciful costumes and engaged in tournaments of drama called “Carrousels.” Eventually the art form became more tactile, as artists began to sculpt crudely shaped horses. In the late nineteenth century American artists broke from European tradition. To the dashing horses, artists added an entire menagerie of elegant animals, often accompanied by flowers, bells, plump cherubs, and flashing mirrors.


Le Carrousel in Bryant Park, specially created to complement the park’s French classical style, is an homage to both European and American traditions. Fabricon Carousel Company, whose artists designed and created Le Carrousel, was based in Brooklyn, NY, and has hundreds of other installations as far away as China and as close as Riverbank State Park on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.