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Posts Tagged ‘Cyclone’

This 16-minute documentary by Mike Edwards and newly posted on YouTube was made in 1977 to celebrate the Cyclone’s 50th anniversary. It’s fantastic to see the roller coaster in action in the ’70s. The opening sequence features Silvio Pinto, whose family bought and began operating the roller coaster in 1959 before selling it to the City a decade later. The film also stars famed riders Mike Boodley, who rode the Cyclone for 1001 consecutive rides, and Richard Rodriguez, who holds the Guinness World Record for riding the coaster continuously for four days. At the time the film was made, Edwards was a college student in Staten Island. His film was nominated for his school’s “Oscars” and toured NYC Parks with the Parks Foundation’s Filmobile.

As a boy born and raised on three of the 5 boroughs of NYC from 1951 to 1979, a summertime trip to Coney Island was always in the mix. I remember the day while confined to Steeplechase Park, (the grandest kiddie amusement park ever!), when my gaze became transfixed on the world class wooden roller coasters that thundered and squealed off in the distance. I couldn’t wait for the day when I was old enough and big enough to ride these coasters. I measured myself by first getting comfortable riding the Thunderbolt and then the Tornado roller coasters before I felt ready for the Cyclone.

Fast forward to 1977 when I chose the Cyclone to be the subject of a documentary film exercise while attending the very fine Richmond College, an experimental humanities school in the CUNY system, where I was to receive a BA in Cinema Studies. With either a wind-up Bolex 16 or a Bell & Howell Filmo 16mm camera and a 100’ spool of reversal film, I went to visit my subject while under a blanket of snow. Like coming upon a hibernating beast, I kept my distance shooting wide shots without a footprint. Aided by the calm of this early Sunday morning, I could feel a life-force at rest, knowing what was expected of it and what was to unfold in the early spring months. Right there on Surf Avenue, I knew my documentary project would be to explore and maybe expose that this mechanical, inanimate object is actually a being with a distinct personality.

Related posts on ATZ…

September 22, 2012: Saturday Matinee: Coney Island’s Mite Mouse Coaster (1992)

April 21, 2012: Saturday Matinee: A Switchback Railway (1898)

March 10, 2011: Video: Seasons of the Cyclone Roller Coaster by Charles Denson

January 5, 2011: ATZ Saturday Matinee: Shorty at Coney Island

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Deno's Wonder Wheel Park

The FDNY Color Guard will present the colors and sing the National Anthem at Coney Island’s Opening Day Ceremony. Photo via Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park

There’s a chance of snow showers on Saturday, but it’s expected to be sunny with temps in the 40s on Palm Sunday, when Coney Island’s rides go for their first spin of the season. In celebration of the landmark Wonder Wheel’s 95th year, the first 95 people will get a free ride on Opening Day. The soon-to-be 88-year-old Cyclone roller coaster will as usual offer free rides to the first 100 on line. Erik Knapp aka Mr. Cyclone is once again expected to arrive the night before to be the first on line.

Michael Sarrel, co-owner of Ruby's Bar

Michael Sarrel, co-owner of Ruby’s Bar. Photo © Tricia Vita

On Saturday, the Boardwalk businesses Ruby’s Bar and Lola Star Boutique will welcome customers for the first time since last fall, joining Tom’s Restaurant and Brooklyn Beach Shop, which are already open daily.

Saturday night is Coney Island USA’s spring gala, which is being held at the art organization’s Surf Avenue headquarters on the eve of Coney’s Opening Day. Featuring performances by burlesque and sideshow stars including Mat Fraser of “American Horror Story,” live music, and go go dancers in the Freak Bar, the event runs from 8pm till midnight.

Coney Island USA Freak Bar

Freak Bar at Coney Island USA. Photo © Norman Blake

The annual fundraiser supports Coney Island USA’s Mermaid Parade, Coney Island Circus Sideshow, Burlesque at the Beach, Coney Island Museum and Coney Island Film Festival. General admission of $100 includes unlimited beer, wine, and food. VIP admission of $150 also includes one hour earlier admission at 7pm, Meet and Greet with some of the performers in the V.I.P. Lounge, and gift bags. Tickets may be purchased online until 10pm on Friday. Day of tickets available from 6pm and during the gala at Coney Island USA.

On Palm Sunday, the festivities begin at 10:30am on the Boardwalk with the Blessing of the Rides at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park by Pastor Debbie Santiago of Coney Island’s Salt and Sea Mission, speeches by elected officials, and the FDNY color guard presenting the Colors and singing the National Anthem. After a ribbon cutting ceremony at Deno’s gate, the gathering moves to the Cyclone roller coaster, which is operated by Luna Park. Brooklyn’s Borough President performs the traditional Egg Cream Christening of the front car of the Cyclone, after which it goes for its inaugural ride of the season.

Chuck Schumer Erik Knapp

Senator Schumer admires Erik Knapp’s Cyclone Tattoo, Opening Day, March 24, 2013. Photo via Luna Park

The Coney Island Circus Sideshow will run continuously on Palm Sunday from 1pm – 8pm. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids under 12.

The Coney Island History Project, located on West 12th Street under the Wonder Wheel sign, will be open special hours from 1pm-6pm for a preview of the 2015 season and free souvenir photos with vintage ride figures. Admission is free of charge.

Also opening on Palm Sunday are 12th Street Amusements and the remaining independent concessions on the Bowery and West 12th Street, including the dancing doll “Miss Coney Island,” the animated windows of “Coney Island Always,” games of skill such as Skin the Wire and Feed the Clown, and Monica, the High Striker Queen of Coney Island.

Coney Island

Monica getting ready to open her High Striker on West 12th Street in Coney Island. March 22, 2015. Photo © Tricia Vita

Related posts on ATZ…

March 19, 2015: News and Views: 10 Days Till Coney Island’s Opening Day

September 13, 2013: Coney Island Always: Visiting the Big CI Year-Round

March 25, 2013: Photo of the Day: Palms on Palm Sunday in Coney Island

March 29, 2012: Photo Album: Looking Back at Coney Island’s Opening Day

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Bride & groom kiss in front of Cyclone roller coaster

Bride & groom kiss in front of Cyclone roller coaster. June 6, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita

Remember when the Cyclone ticketbooth said “How Sweet It Is”? Today is the birthday of Brooklyn-born Jackie Gleason and in honor of his signature line, we looked for photos. The only ones we could find are from 2009 of a bride and groom who stopped traffic on West 10th Street to kiss in front of the famed roller coaster.

Along with “And awaaay we go!,” the phrase “How sweet it is!” was Gleason’s trademark and the title of his biography. And it remains our favorite of the sayings that have been emblazoned on the front of the ride over the years.

Bride & groom in front of Cyclone roller coaster.

Bride & groom in front of Cyclone roller coaster. June 6, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita

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Snowy Cyclone

Snowy Cyclone. January 24, 2015. Photo © Bruce Handy

In this striking photo of Saturday morning’s snowfall by Coney Island resident Bruce Handy, the Cyclone is transformed into veritable “Russian Mountains,” as the world’s first roller coasters were called. The Beach and Boardwalk are a Winter Wonderland. It was a perfect day for Brooklyn’s Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, who brought their homemade sleds to Coney Island for the annual Klondike Derby. More snow is predicted for Monday and Tuesday.

Snowy Parachute Jump

Snowy Parachute Jump. January 24, 2015. Photo © Bruce Handy

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April 20, 2013: Photo of the Day: Moon Viewing in Coney Island by Bruce Handy

December 27, 2010: Photo of the Day: First Snow on Coney Island Boardwalk

February 26, 2010: Photo of the Day: Snow Mermaid on Coney Island Beach

December 20, 2009: Coney Island Photo of the Day: First Snow on the Cyclone

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Coney Island signage

Coney Island signage in Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park with Luna Park’s Electro Spin, Air Race and Cyclone in background. March 21, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita

Coney Island’s amusements officially open for the season in just one day–on Palm Sunday! Freebies abound at the People’s Playground for early birds who relish being among the first as well as for casual visitors all day long.

–The first 100 people on line at both the landmark Cyclone and Wonder Wheel will get a free ride. Rides open after the 11am Blessing of the Rides at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park and the 11:45am Egg Cream Christening at the Cyclone. For the rest of the day, a ride on the Cyclone, which usually costs $9, will be discounted to $6. At Deno’s, over 200 Coney Island kids from the local Salt and Sea Mission will be treated to free rides, toys and Easter bags. In addition to face-painters and stiltwalkers, Ray Balloons will be on hand to make free balloon animals for visitors and DJ Joe will spin tunes on the Boardwalk.

face-painters, balloon artists, a DJ, and stilt-walkers

–The Coney Island History Project‘s exhibition center, where historic artifacts, photographs, maps, ephemera and films are on view, offers free admission from 1 till 6pm. Visitors are invited to take free souvenir photos with the Spook-A-Rama Cyclops or an original Steeplechase horse. Next door to the History Project are windows featuring the dancing doll “Miss Coney Island” and the miniature animated rides of “Coney Island Always.” “25 cents to laugh. 25 cents to smile.”

Coney Island Always

Coney Island Always. 25 cents To Laugh and Feel Good. West 12th St, Coney Island. April 8, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

–Coney Island USA’s Noisefest is a free event from 2 till 5pm featuring Rock ‘n’ Roll Karaoke with the band Mystical Children and a “Follow the Bouncing Ball Vintage Movie Singalong” by the Museum of Interesting Things.

Rita’s Italian Ice is celebrating the Grand Opening of its Coney Island store by offering free regular size ices to visitors all day Sunday as well as Monday.

The rides at Luna Park, Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, 12th Street Amusements and the Eldorado Bumper Cars will continue spinning daily through April 22nd during spring break for New York City’s public schools. For the rest of April and May, the rides will be open weekends until Memorial Day Weekend, when the daily schedule kicks off for the summer.

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Related posts on ATZ…

February 28, 2014: Photo Album: Wonder Wheel Park Preps for Coney Island’s Opening Day

September 13, 2013: Coney Island Always: Visiting the Big CI Year-Round

March 25, 2013: Photo of the Day: Palms on Palm Sunday in Coney Island

March 28, 2012: Photo Album: Looking Back at Coney Island’s Opening Day

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Boro Taxi

Seen on the B Train: Poster Promoting the Boro Taxi Program. January 29, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita

“ONE’S A THRILL RIDE, THE OTHER IS A RIDE YOU’LL BE THRILLED WITH. #BOROTAXI,” according to this clever ad promoting Boro Taxi. Launched two months ago, the ads feature the new green taxis in front of iconic locations throughout the five boroughs, but the first time we spotted this one with the Coney Island Cyclone was yesterday on the B train. The Taxi & Limousine Commission says “The ads are designed to enhance public awareness of the program, while letting people know how and where they can most conveniently catch a Boro Taxi.”

However, a market analysis published in December showed 0 <1 drop offs and pickups per day in Coney Island. The study says that 11% of Boro Taxi drop-offs were in the Bronx, 22% were in Northern Manhattan, 32% were in Queens, 11% were in Brooklyn, and less than 1% were in Staten Island. The other 23% of drop-offs were in Manhattan’s Hail Exclusionary Zone. The Commission has licensed 6,000 green Boro Taxis, also known as the Street Hail Livery program, to serve areas of the city not commonly served by yellow medallion cabs. Have you hailed a Boro Taxi?

The Cyclone and the rest of Coney Island’s rides open for the season on Sunday, April 13th.

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Related posts on ATZ…

December 13, 2013: Photo Album: Gingerbread Coney Island in City Harvest Extravaganza

November 28, 2013: Photo Album: Parachute Jump Lights Way to Year-Round Coney Island

October 30, 2013: Photo Album: Four Transformations, One Year After Sandy

September 13, 2013: Coney Island Always: Visiting the Big CI Year-Round

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Gingerbread Coney Island

Coney Island by
Rolling Pin Productions with Aperitivo Restaurant, Brooklyn. Gingerbread Extravaganza, Le Parker Meridien. Photo via Rolling Pin Productions

Coney Island’s Cyclone, Parachute Jump and Carousel are among the gingerbread wonders on display at the Le Parker Meridien through January 8th to benefit City Harvest. Created by Susanna Caliendo of Rolling Pin Productions and Mario DiBiase of Brooklyn’s Aperitivo Restaurant, the Coney Island-themed confection is among 13 whimsical structures in the 5th annual Gingerbread Extravaganza.

Gingerbread Coney Island

Coney Island by
Rolling Pin Productions with Aperitivo Restaurant, Brooklyn. Gingerbread Extravaganza, Le Parker Meridien. Photo via Rolling Pin Productions

The fondant Santa Claus and his elves ride the wreath-bedecked gingerbread coaster, which has tracks made of licorice and cookies. The Carousel’s poles are made of colorful candy canes. Caliendo researched and took great care in the making of the exquisitely detailed horses. She estimates that it took 60-80 hours of work for the two chefs to create the elaborate structure. DiBiase’s training as an engineer before getting into the culinary field was essential to the task of replicating the curve of the Cyclone’s track.

Gingerbread Coney Island

Coney Island by
Rolling Pin Productions with Aperitivo Restaurant, Brooklyn. Gingerbread Extravaganza, Le Parker Meridien. Photo via Rolling Pin Productions

This year’s theme of “Quintessential New York” inspired the city’s top bakeries, pastry chefs, and restaurants, to craft such icons as the Chrysler, Empire State and Flatiron Buildings, the Guggenheim Museum, Katz’s Deli and New York Brownstones.

“With the constant change that is a part of the New York City evolution, Coney Island is one of the few major landmarks that keeps the nostalgia of the ‘old days’ going strong,” said the Gingerbread Coney Island’s creators Caliendo and DiBiase in their artists statement. “Surviving Hurricane Sandy and continuing on despite difficult times will always be a testament to the ‘quintessential’ strength of all of us here in New York City.”

Gingerbread Coney Island

Coney Island by
Rolling Pin Productions with Aperitivo Restaurant, Brooklyn. Gingerbread Extravaganza, Le Parker Meridien. Photo via Rolling Pin Productions

You can vote for the structures on display in Le Parker Meridien’s atrium, which is open 24 hours, or online by selecting it on this page. Purchase one ticket for $1 or 5 tickets for $5 through the concierge desk or online to vote for your favorite. Each vote enters the donor in a raffle to win a 5-night stay at the Parker Palm Springs.

All proceeds benefit City Harvest, the world’s first food rescue organization, where every dollar rescues four pounds of food.

The creation with the most votes will receive the Gingerbread 2013 People’s Choice Award in January.

Gingerbread Coney Island

Under Construction: Coney Island by
Rolling Pin Productions with Aperitivo Restaurant, Brooklyn. Gingerbread Extravaganza, Le Parker Meridien

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Related posts on ATZ…

December 9, 2013: Photo Album: First Snow of the Season in Coney Island by Bruce Handy

September 13, 2013: Coney Island Always: Visiting the Big CI Year-Round

December 12, 2011: Holiday Album: Coney Island in the Bronx

October 31, 2011: Photo Album: Snowtober in Coney Island by Bruce Handy

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