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)
I remember visiting Town Square as a child and thinking it was a magical place -- often begging to stay.
Today, I look down from my office window at that 2nd floor space in Town Square and hope there aren't rats there that might make their way to the food court area. It's looks pretty gross!
I worked in St. Paul and remember the carousel fondly, back then it was a pleasant area for lunch... then I left, and years later got another St. Paul job, and yes, seems like a ghost town.
Thanks I honestly didn't realize that the carousel currently at Como is the same one that was downtown.
Are there plans to do anything with that space?
Joseph, do you have pictures? I've wondered what it looks like up there...
I think Gerard L. Cafesjian is the world's leading optimist,
creative thinker, future focused, whole, alive and willing human being.
I have a project he should visit and embrace. It will make a
significant difference in the hearts of the Armenian community world wide and a place in the sun ........filled with human compassion, understanding and a dream/vision for peace.
Let us meet in the City by the Golden Gate, the one and only
city of genius, San Francisco.