Remember Coney Island’s Zipper ride? Check out the first three minutes of “Zipper,” Amy Nicholson’s documentary about “Coney Island’s Last Wild Ride,” on the film’s new Facebook page. “In a market-driven world where growth often trumps preservation,” says the film-maker, “Eddie and his Zipper may be just the beginning of what is lost.” The film is set to be released in 2012. In the meantime, here are a couple of vintage vids to show you what old school carnival thrills Coney Island has been missing since the Zipper left Brooklyn for Honduras.
When photographer Jim McDonnell shot the video “Dave Rides the Coney Island Zipper” six years ago, in July 2005, real estate speculator Joe Sitt of Thor Equities had yet to buy up property in Coney Island and decimate the amusement area. The independently owned and operated Zipper reigned on West 12th Street till it was evicted in 2007. Says Jim: “It was one of the few (if not only) operating Chance Zipper rides that allowed single riders, and you definitely got your moneys worth with a super long ride cycle. Dave is the only rider on this cycle – he’s in car #5 but its sometimes a bit hard to follow. Pardon the crude video work and enjoy the flipping!”
The manufacturer’s recommended ride duration is two minutes (two-and-a half tops), but Dave gets to ride for an astounding five-and-a-half minutes, which was typical for the Coney Island Zipper. The ride cost only $4.00, according to a sign on the ticketbooth. Our fave comment on the next vid’s YouTube page was “I remember when Big Louie ran that ride. He left me in there for a half an hour. It felt like I was in a washing machine left in the spin cycle.”
Take a trip back in time to 1987 and watch Larry Tee and Lahoma Van Zandt ride the Coney Island Zipper in this video by Nelson Sullivan, whose work chronicled the downtown New York club scene in the ’80s. You’ll catch a glimpse of a young RuPaul here and in another vid where the group rides a Swinging Car on the Wonder Wheel. The best part of the Zipper vid is the ride operator spinning the car at both the beginning and end of their ride. The worst part is watching the riders look for a spot to throw up. The Zipper, a notorious “puke ride” on the carnival circuit, was invented in 1968 by Chance Rides and is still manufactured today.
Related posts on ATZ…
April 22, 2011: Coney Island Has 64 Rides and 30 Weekends of Summer!
August 28, 2010: Video: Grand Prize Winner of Luna Park Coney Island’s Film Contest!
April 12, 2010: Evicted by Thor, Coney Island’s Zipper Ride Thrills in Honduras