A Fond Farewell to Lucio Schiavone
October 19, 2016
“Tanti auguri” is what to say when next you see Lucio Schiavone. The Naples native and beloved Prospect Park Alliance Carousel manager will step down from his post of twenty-six years this coming December.
Schiavone came to New York in 1963 after marrying his wife, an American. Having attended the Academy of Art in Italy, he pursued a career as a painter and sculptor, and in 1988 was hired by the Prospect Park Alliance to assist in the restoration of the Carousel. The Carousel's 53 horses, as well as a lion, a giraffe, a deer and two dragon-pulled chariots, were carved in 1912 by Charles Carmel, one of the foremost carousel designers of his era. Shuttered in 1983, the Carousel was in a rough state by the time Lucio was hired.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Lucio recounting his first time seeing the ailing Carousel. “One horse didn’t have a head... the giraffe’s back legs were gone.”
The Carousel restoration, the Alliance's first capital project in the Park, took 18 months, during which a team including Schiavone reassembled the fifty-one horses and other assorted animals, and fixed the air-pumped Wurlitzer band organ. When the project was completed, Lucio was asked to stay on to run the daily operations of the Carousel, a task that he has relished for decades. “From then up to now, I’ve loved everything I’ve done here, all the kids smiling when they go around. I love the kids, and that’s why I’m still here.”
Because of Lucio’s efforts and meticulous attention to detail, the Prospect Park Carousel continues to be a magical, wonderful amusement for children and adults alike. Lucio’s positive and playful demeanor has brought immeasurable joy to the lives of Prospect Park’s millions of visitors over his career.
Help us kick off Lucio’s retirement on November 5 at 11:45 am at the Carousel! The Prospect Park Alliance will be commemorating Lucio’s significant contributions by naming a favorite horse “Lucio” in his honor, and offering free carousel rides from 12-1 pm. Stop by and to tell Lucio “ci vediamo,” until we meet again.
RSVP and learn more about Lucio's November 5 celebration.
c. Paul Martinka