The Little Carousel That Could

November 5, 2012

By Koseli.

Despite being surrounded by the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, I see lifelines of hope. Emergency responders. Selfless volunteers. Loving professionals. Churches, neighborhoods, and communities banding together physically and emotionally to take care of the needy Sandy left behind. There is hope.

Originally built in Ohio in 1922, The Jane Carousel was restored and placed under The Brooklyn Bridge in 2011. It’s on an outcropping just before the East River meets the Hudson in DUMBO (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass), a thriving Brooklyn neighborhood that sustained extensive flooding and damage during Sandy. (Many know this area for The Brooklyn Bridge Park, Grimaldi’s, and The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory.)

But, the merry-go-round survived. It survived! The floors warped but the horses are fine and the carousel is expected to be in working condition in a few months. It’s become a symbol of resilience and hope in the face of fear, loss, and devastation. Some have called it The Little Carousel That Could and I echo this nickname, with tears in my eyes, a little hope in my heart that there will be comfort for the many who have lost so much this last week. Our hearts are full as we do our best to help each other in this difficult time.

P.S. — There is serious power in communities uniting together in a time of crisis. I’d love to know of a time you’ve experienced love and togetherness in yours.

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Trista November 5, 2012 at 2:44 pm

I live in Alabama, and we had a tornado outbreak in April 2011. Over 6,000 homes were destroyed. I’ve never witnessed true community outreach like I did in the months following that storm.


2 Koseli November 5, 2012 at 4:37 pm

I remember that. It’s so inspiring to see people come together. Thank you for sharing!


3 Colleen November 5, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Responding to your P.S…

In my community, we have experienced a lot of loss in the seven years I’ve lived here. A 6 year old died from a brain tumor. Another 6 year old from a car accident. A 9 year old drowned. Just two weeks ago, a mother died from complications in childbirth, leaving her husband, a 3 year old, and her newborn. I’ve heard some people say that our neighborhood is cursed. I got another perspective the other day from the mother of the little girl who died in the car accident. She said that those who have experienced so much loss in our area have been blessed by where we live. We are a community that pulls together and knows how to deal with loss. There have been yard sales and fundraisers and meals and help with funeral services and expenses that just wouldn’t have been possible elsewhere. We have learned to pull together and it has blessed all of us.


4 Koseli November 5, 2012 at 4:36 pm

How heartbreaking. It sounds like an incredibly close-knit community. Thank you for sharing.


5 Jennifer November 5, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Oh the little carousel that could…I love that. It has been such a whirlwind week. I am in NJ and lost my power, TV, and internet….and luckily had no damage to my home. The darkness surrounding my home at night, the long lines for gas, the trees down, and hearing the stories of destruction in neighboring communities has been heartbreaking. At a time like this people rise up and come together. It is such a beautiful thing to witness, but also sad that it takes such tradgedy to bring us together. So happy to hear that you are safe. Next year I am going to have to take a trip to see this beautiful carousel. Your photoraphs are stunning.


6 Koseli November 5, 2012 at 4:35 pm

I am so sorry, Jennifer. New Jersey really felt Sandy’s wrath. Happy you’re safe and have your power and internet back.

Photo is by Brian Morrissey, via Ana Andjelic on Instagram. I originally discovered via


7 nicole Feliciano November 5, 2012 at 2:56 pm

This is right down the street from us, and we love it so. It really is the heart of our community and such a blessing that it will return.


8 Koseli November 5, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Hope you and your family and friends are okay! Yes, it is such a blessing. So relieved.


9 Maria November 5, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Thank you so much for this post…. The Carousel is my favorite spot in all of NYC — I bike to it almost every weekend… So I was watching the Twitter feeds so trepidatiously that night. Came by last Sunday, it has some damage but overall it escaped beautifully — a leap above the waves!


10 Koseli November 5, 2012 at 4:31 pm

It’s one of mine, too, Maria. Brooklyn Bridge Park is stunning. I also watched the Twitter feeds voraciously Sunday/Monday. There was some back and forth with Swiss Miss and a friend. When the friend confirmed that Jane was okay and linked to a picture, hope flickered a little brighter and the internets rejoiced. We can do this!


11 This girl loves to talk November 5, 2012 at 6:22 pm

my city (brisbane australia) suffered a flood about 2 years ago. The sentiments were similar to New york. so many people got out and worked, gave out drinks and food to workers… within a weekend 1000s of places had been cleared. Of course there is still a few ongoing problems but the reach of humanity was amazing. Maybe because I lived in the middle of it (the city) but didnt experience any physical problems (no flooding or loss of electricity etc) I almost felt like the flood was a blessing. I love people rising to the occasion in a time of need. My husband spent 5 days at our church organizing relief groups of up to 300 people going out and cleaning up. I was at home with my four kids but it was a marvellous thing to behold.

blessings to all those suffering in new york.


12 Nicole_boldgoods November 5, 2012 at 6:58 pm

It’s really been amazing how grassroots efforts like Occupy Sandy and Restore Red Hook have mobilized to provide immediate relief with supplies but also human power. Recovery will be a long and difficult process, but meeting floods of people who want to help makes me so hopeful that we will do it.


13 Nita November 5, 2012 at 7:18 pm

As a little girl in Ohio I used to ride on that carousel. It was originally in Youngstown at Idora Park. So glad to see it has withstood this tragic storm and gives some hope! I have fond memories of it!


14 dervla @ The Curator November 5, 2012 at 11:54 pm

This image makes me tear up every time. So heartbreaking, but so hopeful at the same time. Thinking of all of the people in outer boroughs who are hurting (as well as those in lower Manhattan). We only lost power for a day so are feeling very lucky.


15 Verena November 6, 2012 at 2:39 am

Some of my friends live in New York. We are in contact almost everyday. I´m really worried, but I´m so glad they are okay!


16 Miss Lindsey D November 6, 2012 at 5:45 am

what a truly beautiful image of how fun, happiness and laughter can survive something so devastating. Writing from the Gulf Coast we’ve faced hurricanes and been without power for weeks and know that even in that situation we were some of the lucky ones. Our thoughts are with everyone on the East Coast. Hold on to those symbols of perseverance, they’ll get you through!


17 Sharon @ Discovering blog November 6, 2012 at 8:15 am

That image is stunning, and I’m so glad to hear it survived! I had just learned of it, and had planned to take the family there after the weather warms back up. Such happy news!

It’s now been over a week, and my street is still without power. Each day we hear of more and more friends getting power back, so I know it will happen. The mornings are tough, though. Waking up to such darkness and the COLD is not the way to start off the day, and I’ve found myself snapping at the kids more than normal. But this isn’t normal – they haven’t had school for over a week, there’s no schedule. I’m hoping we get power back before the Nor’easter that is supposed to hit, just to enjoy using my oven for a day or so.

People all around are offering their homes to anyone in need, and on FB everyone has been sharing locations of gas stations with short lines (I think that insanity has mostly passed by now). I think most people know There but by the grace of God, so we all do what we can to ease someone’s pain.


18 Lisette Wolter-McKinley November 6, 2012 at 8:45 am

A little over a month ago at 28 weeks our first child was a stillborn. We have literally been lifted up by the prayers and service of others. Sometimes tragic events occur and we are reminded just how many people love us, support us and want the best for us.


19 Sharon @ Discovering blog November 6, 2012 at 8:57 am

I’m so sorry for your unbelievable loss.


20 Koseli November 6, 2012 at 10:56 am

Lisette, I am so sorry for your loss, and so grateful you’ve been lifted up by others. Thoughts are with you.


21 rachel swartley November 6, 2012 at 8:46 am

We were without power for six days after Hurricane Sandy, and it meant a lot to have so many people offer meals, showers, warmth, and even a generator so we didn’t lose the food in our chest freezer.


22 Aline November 6, 2012 at 9:06 am

Touching brave stories always makes me wonder about the
majesty of life. When we tell those stories we tell blessings.


23 Koseli November 6, 2012 at 10:57 am

This is beautiful, Aline.


24 Leah November 6, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Pretty sure that photo is from Ana Dorfman’s instagram feed @doorsixteen


25 NOLALeBlanc November 6, 2012 at 10:09 pm

You cannot understand the magnitude and depth of this type of loss until you live through it yourself. The photos of devastation and the stories of simple kindness have brought me back to the days of Hurricane Katrina. Seven years later and we are still recovering emotionally and physically. Our hearts go out to all of those impacted by Hurricane Sandy.


26 colorado76gal November 10, 2012 at 7:48 am

I am so glad you shared. My brother used to live in Brooklyn and I always go down to DUMBO to walk around when I am in town….my thoughts went to this little carousel….while I know it isn’t someone’s home..It is still a piece of history and I am glad to hear it survived. Let’s pray the rest of the city can be as strong as this little gem and get back on it’s feet soon.


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