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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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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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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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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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Beyoncé

Beyoncé riding the Coney Island Cyclone. August 29, 2013. Photo via beyonce-legion.com

Thursday morning’s awesome rumor turned out to be true! Woke up to a phone call from a TV reporter asking if we knew anything about Beyoncé shooting a music video on the Coney Island Cyclone today. A few hours later the chatter on twitter was that she was arriving at 4PM. Uh, make that 5.

Beyoncé and her crew conquered the Cyclone roller coaster before moving on to Coney’s legendary “Bump Your Ass Off” Eldorado Auto Skooters and Arcade. A bit later she was surrounded by adoring fans on the Boardwalk. In Wonder Wheel Park, Beyoncé went for a whirl on the landmark Wheel and the classic Spook-A-Rama dark ride with the music video’s director Terry Richardson.

By 9:30PM, they were heading back for another go at Eldorado, where the music part of the video was being shot and no phone calls or photos were allowed, said a friend who was an extra. The famed disco palace of bumper cars was closed all day for the shoot.

The music video is said to be for a new song called “XO,” which is expected to be released in about 3 months.

Beyoncé

Beyoncé and photographer Terry Richardson riding Spook-A-Rama, Coney Island. August 29, 2013. Photo via beyonce-legion.com

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June 10, 2012: Music Video: Sixteen by The Heavy

January 13, 2012: Music Video: Alan Jackson’s So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore

January 30, 2011: Music Video: The Clash Overpowered by Funk in Coney Island

January 8, 2011: Music Video: Strange Powers by the Magnetic Fields

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Full Moon in Coney Island

Full Moon in Coney Island, March 26, 2013. Photo © Bruce Handy

March 26th’s full moon peers over the top of the landmark Cyclone roller coaster and the Wonder Wheel’s “Thrills!” sign in this exquisite capture by Coney Island photographer Bruce Handy. The American flags are the cherry on top!

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April 16, 2013: Photo of the Day: Coney Island Sunset by Bruce Handy

January 26, 2013: Winter’s First Snow in Coney Island by Bruce Handy

August 31, 2012: Photo of the Day: Electric Eden Revisited By Bruce Handy

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

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cyclone new ticketbooth

Coney Island Cyclone’s New Ticketbooths. March 13, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

When the Cyclone roller coaster opens on March 24th, the borough president breaks a bottle of egg cream on the front car and the first 100 people ride for free. It’s a good ol’ Coney Island tradition. The next hundred people on line and everyone who follows will buy their tickets at brand-new ticket booths located beneath the ride. Under construction since Sunday, the Surf Avenue booths are located in a space under the Cyclone that was used for storage since Luna Park began running the landmark ride in 2011. The price of a ride is also going up a dollar this season and will cost $9.00. Luna Park leases the coaster from the City’s Parks Department, which receives a percentage of ticket sales.

Cyclone Ticketbooth

Under Construction: Coney Island Cyclone’s New Ticketbooth. March 13, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The little windows in the interior wall that let visitors peek at the coaster rumbling by were constructed when the Coney Island History Project, which has since moved to the Wonder Wheel, turned the former souvenir stand into an exhibit center. The photo below is a last look at the old Cyclone ticket booth on the corner: “Ride the American Legend!” When Astroland ran the Cyclone it said “How Sweet It Is!” in homage to Jackie Gleason, who grew up in Brooklyn and played New York bus driver Ralph Kramden in The Honeymooners. (Update, March 19th: The old ticketbooth was demolished today.)

Old Ticketbooth

Last Look at the Cyclone’s Old Ticketbooth. March 13, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

If you look at vintage photos and postcards of the Cyclone, the signage reads “Faster Than Ever!” and “Bus Depot.” The ticket booths were inside, opening up the front of the ride to public view. Since the Cyclone is an official New York City landmark, changes to the facade must have historic precedent and be approved by the Landmarks Commission. It will be interesting to see what’s in the future for this famous corner of Coney Island.

Cyclone vintage postcard

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March 11, 2013: Luna Park’s Pinwheels Go Up on Coney Island Boardwalk

March 7, 2013: March Events: Coney Island USA Gala, Dreamland Bell, Tom Thumb, Opening Day

March 29, 2010: Photo of the Day: First Ride of the Season on Coney Island’s Cyclone!

June 26, 2009: Happy Birthday to Coney Island’s Cyclone Roller Coaster!

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