Greenport’s carousel reopens in time for Memorial Day weekend

Greenport’s Mitchell Park carousel reopened Saturday, just in time for the Memorial Day weekend, after a restoration company finished removing lead paint from the attraction ahead of schedule, Mayor Kevin Stuessi said this week.

The estimated cost for the entire project — including original testing, remediation and restoration work, and post-restoration testing — is between $60,000 and $70,000, the mayor said Wednesday.  

Last month, village officials learned that lead paint was detected during a test restoration on one of the carousel horses, leading to the popular attraction’s immediate closure.

Mr. Stuessi said last month that the existing paint on the horses was “likely the original paint from when the carousel was first manufactured.”

The carousel is believed to date back to about 1920, based on serial numbers and other details, village carousel committee member Marjory Stevens told Northforker in 2021. In the 1950s, Northrop Grumman purchased the carousel for use at company picnics and community events at its Calverton plant.

When the plant was decommissioned in 1995, the aerospace and defense contractor offered to donate the carousel to a local community — setting off a competition that included Riverhead Town and a New Jersey amusement park. A letter-writing campaign spearheaded by Greenport’s third- and fourth-grade students ensued, and in July 1995, the village prevailed.

“Dear Grumman, how are you today?” one letter read, according to former mayor David Kapell. “May Greenport have this carousel? We need it! Please. There is nothing in this town for kids and it would be nice. I’d love a carousel. If you let us have it that would be nice. Please! From the desk of Mark DeLano.”

In 2016, work by local artists was added to the carousel’s rounding boards above the horses.