The Flying Horses in Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard are the oldest platform carousel in the United States. It was made in 1876 by early American carousel manufacturer, Charles Dare. The Flying Horses Carousel was originally built for the Coney Island amusement park in Brooklyn. In 1884 after eight years there the Flying Horses Carousel moved to the town of Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard where it still remains in operation as one of only two surviving carousels fabricated by Dare. The carousel became a National Historic Landmark in 1986, the same year it was acquired by local conservation organization the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust.
I flew on these beautiful horses every day when I was a little girl. The ticket taker was a young man who would never take my tickets ! We tried everything to get him to take them… we brought him candy and cookies and tried slipping the tickets in with them… nothing work. At the end of the summer I said I wanted to buy him a gift, so off my mom and I went to purchase what I thought was a novel idea .. a tie. I was 5 years old, what did I know about buying gifts for men… he, by the way was about 13 but in my eyes he was a grown up. We put the tie in the box with all of summer’s uncollected tickets. As he came around to NOT collect my ticket I handed him the box. He smiled. Ah ha, success… or so I thought. As we were leaving the Flying Horses he came over and thanked us for the tie and as we turned to leave he handed us the tickets.
There are two ring dispenser arms situated next to the carousel that offer gold rings and the lucky rider who grabs the coveted brass ring gets a free ride
The last time I flew on the Flying Horses a few years ago my granddaughter Tiffany was with me. I thought it might be my last time ever to ride them (I think that every time anyway)… and as my horse came around to the arm shooting the rings out I could see that the next one, the one waiting for me was the GOLD ring. What a fantastic way to possibly end my Flying Horses ride…
But I missed it … my fingers slipped and I couldn’t grab it. But… right behind me was my granddaughter and she got it. She offered me the free ride but it meant more to me that she should have it. Perfect ending, if indeed it was.
Rings of gold are good luck I’m told…
as for riding Flying Horses you’re never too old 🙂
Two other carousels…
New York city’s Bryant Park
Newark, New Jersey’s Military Park