MANHATTAN -- The bustling port where visitors board ferries to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is full of striking sights and sounds. But, more than 100,000 tickets were sold in three months for a nearby attraction that's soft and muted: The Battery's SeaGlass Carousel, which opened last August.
"It’s a new wonderful reason to come downtown," says Warrie Price, founder and president of The Battery Conservancy, which was created in 1994 to revitalize the 25-acre public park, one of the oldest in the city. "It’s a show. You are both performer and audience."
The carousel is housed inside a silver, shell-shaped structure, unique in the busy landscape. Inside the large chambered nautilus, visitors find 30 fiberglass fish -- works of art featuring color-changing LED light fixtures and individualized audio systems. The fish are engaged in a mesmerizing, soothing aquatic ballet.
"It’s for children to really have an underwater experience and fall in love with the magic of the sea," says Price.
The carousel is an homage to the first home of the New York Aquarium, which is now Castle Clinton. Visitors don't just ride the sea creatures, Price explained. "Here, you go inside, you become these fish."
Some fish remain relatively stationary, while other leaping fish move up and down on individual turntables.
"It’s really fun because sometimes you go fast and turn around," says 10-year-old T.J. Grausso.
At night, a spin through the "underwater adventure" is magical and dreamlike.
"Unbelievable. It’s totally different," says Price.
The blooming flowers in the park signal the start of a new season for the carousel in The Battery. "When the gardens are beautiful, when the fountains are on, there’s so much for families to do here, to enjoy," says Price.
And the public has fallen in love with SeaGlass. More than just a ride, it's calming yet exhilarating -- an immersive, art-infused experience, nestled in history.
"It’s spectacular. It’s everything for everybody. It’s gorgeous. It’s easy. It's reasonable. The colors are beautiful," says Jenny Schroeder of Florida. "The luminescence of it is so spectacular. It’s not what you’d expect."