New Greenway Carousel Inspired By Children's Drawings

September 19, 2013

A kaleidoscope of color, a whir of frolicking animals—the new carousel on Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway is, in the words of its designer, a haven of happiness.

“You don’t see too many occasions where everybody gets happy, you know, in a nice way," said sculptor Jeff Briggs. "So that means a lot to me."

The Greenway Carousel began with a collection of drawings by Boston public school children asked to imagine the native Massachusetts animals they’d like to see populate the merry-go-round. 

"What’s nice about kids is that it’s free form," said Briggs. "And the children stuff of course is not totally identifiable, but the spirit is what you try to pick up and go with if you can, as much as possible."

In sculpting each animal, Briggs plowed through research to keep his animal instincts in check. He visited the New England Aquarium seals to create his own. Combed through bird studies for his peregrine falcon and owl. And even bought the largest cod fish he could find to get the mouth just so.

“You say, ‘OK, that’s how it works, that’s what makes it look like it does," said Briggs. "This is why that fold is there, that’s why this crease is there.’ And so forth. Once you understand anatomically how it works."

Installed in its own park over the summer, the carousel is a fiberglass menagerie. A merry ferry for children and adults looking for a momentary spin away. 

"It’s such a wonderful art form because it’s something that people use and they use it right in front of you," said Briggs. "There you are, you’re standing there and watching people enjoy this thing that you created. It’s just amazing, it really is."

The carousel is open weekdays until Columbus Day, when it'll run on weekends. A ride costs $3 and lasts a few minutes.

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