May 29, 2017

Photo Essay: Spinning With the Fishes

I don't think I'll ever be completely done with New York. After all, it keeps changing.

And as I scramble to cross NYC sites and attractions off my bucket list, more and more of them are being added while I'm away.

Such is the case with the SeaGlass Carousel in Lower Manhattan.

Of course, I hadn't ridden the Central Park Carousel while I was actually living in New York—despite my frequent proximity to it—but now I find myself also chasing down those that opened after I moved to LA.

The SeaGlass Carousel was 10 years in the making, but it didn't actually open until Summer 2015, less than two years ago.

It's the kind of amusement you'd expect to more likely be found at a zoo or an aquarium—or, at least, by the sea—than in Battery Park, by the Upper Bay of the New York Harbor.

But that's exactly why this particular location was chosen, as it's by the original site of the New York Aquarium from 1896 to 1941. After that, it moved to Coney Island, where it still operates today—making it the longest running aquarium in the U.S.

Right off the bat, you know the SeaGlass Carousel is going to be something a little different than what you're used to—because you're not riding on a fish, but rather in a fish.

And these aren't fanciful cartoon fishes out of some children's book fantasy, either. These fiberglass vessels were modeled after real specimen—from angelfish to butterflyfish, lionfish, and clown triggerfish.

Like some of the bioluminescent species of the sea, these fish glow, too, but with the help of an LED lighting system and some interior spangles that help give them a unique iridescence.

Some are jumpers, and some are stationary.

Some have portholes, and others are open air.

Each fish is kind of on its own track, spinning in its own circle, rotating in dizzying patterns while a variety of musical selections—in our case, "The Blue Danube" by Strauss—transform the patterns of movement into a waltz or some other kind of underwater dance.

Each of those circuits is moving independently within a larger turntable that twirls the whole thing within the confines of the pavilion. And that means that where you start may not be anywhere near where you'll end up.

Because there's no center pole to revolve around, you simply cannot choose a seat with a bad view.

In fact, no matter where you sit, your view is more or less 360 degrees.

It is a feat of engineering, for sure.

And it is the most fun I have ever had while riding a carousel.

Yet there's something about it that haunts me: I think if I were still living in New York City, I might not have found the time to go for a ride on it.

Maybe I had to leave New York to give me a greater urgency to experience it fully.

Related Posts:
Photo Essay: The Coney Island Carousel in Central Park
Photo Essay: A Swim on a Sea Creature Carousel

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