When I first visited the Twin Cities, the Cafesjian Carousel sat at the top of Town Square in downtown St. Paul. Rescued from the State Fair, it filled the nearby urban garden with the sound of a merry-go-round. People having lunch sat around the nearby water gardens. For a newcomer, St. Paul seemed like a dynamic, happening place.
Gerald Cafesjian, a former West Publishing exec, is the guy responsible for it. “The music, the magic and the movement combine to create a one-of-a-kind experience. When we preserve the carousel we also preserve that joy and hope–that happiness–for the entire community, for years to come,” he said.
Nowadays, there is no joy in Town Square, at least after 2 p.m., when everything closes.
The carousel is at Como Park now and Cafesjian has since moved to Florida. But he still inspires big dreams. Like this:
The Cafesjian Center for the Arts has opened in Yerevan, Armenia, according to the New York Times:
The center, a mad work of architectural megalomania and architectural recovery, is one of the strangest and most spectacular museum buildings to open in ages. Imagine an Art Deco version of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon rising nearly the height of the Empire State Building, its decorations coded with Armenian symbolism.
It’s no Town Square, although the picture above reminds me of the carousel’s old haunt:
(h/t: Bill Wareham)