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40 historic New York City sites square off for funds

May 15, 2012 4:20:01 AM PDT
There is a contest under way among some of New York's most beloved landmarks to secure funding.

Partners in Preservation has chosen 40 historic sites in the five boroughs to compete for grant money, and you can help decide who wins.

The Coney Island carousel is being restored in Ohio, and funds are needed to transport the finished product back to its home. And that is just one of the sites vying for $3 million in funds.

Although Coney Island was once filled with as many as 24 hand-carved carousels, only the B & B carousel survived to the 21st Century. Originally built in 1919, it took its last spin in 2005, before it was bought by the city and sent to Ohio for refurbishing.

The restoration process is painstaking, with all 50 horses are being stripped of layers of old paint and redone to look brand new.

The newly refurbished carousel will be the centerpiece of the new Steeplechase Plaza, set to open in spring of 2013. The only problem is transporting the historic ride back to Brooklyn.

"The restoration is a $1.5 million effort," said Nate Bliss, of the Coney Island Development Corporation. "We're asking for funds to assist us with the transport of the carousel back from its workshop, where it's currently in Ohio, back to Coney Island. And the plan is to have it spinning on the boardwalk come spring."

The Coney Island carousel is just one historic site that people can vote for to divvy up the $3 million worth of funds from the Partners in Preservation, the New York Botanical Garden and Woodlawn Cemetery. Voting booths have been set up to let visitors to the sites cast their vote.

Federal Hall needs money to restore George Washington's statue that graces the front steps. More than 500 sites applied for the contest, but only 40 were chosen.

The competition is fierce.

"The four historic sites that receive the most votes will be guaranteed of their grand requests," AMEX Foundation president Tim McClimon said. "So whatever amount they've requested from us for a restoration project, they will receive that amount up to $250,000 per site."

The remaining money will be distributed among the remaining 36 sites, with each one receiving at least $10,000.

You can vote for your favorite historic site once a day, every day, until May 21. The winner will be announced May 22.

To vote, visit PartnersInPreservation.com

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