BUFFALO, N.Y. — Plenty of families have prized possessions, but they typically don't include a carousel, unless you're in the De Angelis family.
"My family worked it. I rode on it," Annie Decoste said.
Added Joe De Angelis: "I drove it for seven days a week when I was 10 years old."
Joe De Angelis and Decoste's father, Dominick De Angelis, left Italy as a teenager to come to the states. All he wanted was to own a carousel.
"That was his dream. He distributed one-arm banded machines all over Boston and saved and saved and saved," Decoste said.
He finally had it come true in 1924, buying the carousel from the Spillman Engineering Corporation in North Tonawanda.
It moved to various locations across Massachusetts for people to enjoy.
Eventually the Great Depression hit, and Dominick couldn't afford the $69 to keep the land the carousel was on. You'll never believe where he moved it.
"It was underneath the house," Decoste said. "Nobody knew it."
"We put it all up on skids," Joe De Angelis added.
It was later stored in Ohio but decades later, and it's finally home again at Canalside.
"It was born in New York," Decoste said. "This is where it's supposed to be."
The Buffalo Heritage Carousel acquired the ride from the De Angelis family in 2016. They had artists completely restore it, installed a #153 Wurlitzer Band organ, and the whole thing is solar powered.
Decoste says her dad passed in 1952, and her mother Annie passed in 1989. Dominick and Annie had seven kids, but two have passed.
Decoste and Joe De Angelis say their loved ones would be proud to see the carousel at Canalside.
"My sister and my brother are smiling with us," Decoste said. "It's wonderful. It's amazing. It's beautiful, it's gorgeous. There's no words I can say."
Added Joe De Angelis: "My mom and dad are just having a ball up there."
Buffalonians can enjoy a ride on the carousel seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. It costs $1 per ride for everyone.
The De Angelis family just has a simple request.
"We're very proud of Buffalo, and I hope and pray they have many, many more happy children and families come to this," Decoste said.
Take care of their prized possession and love it just the same.