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Posts Tagged ‘Gordon Lee’

Eldorado Ticket Window with High Water Mark from Sandy, Coney Island. November 5, 2012. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

The good news is Eldorado Auto Skooter and Arcade operator Gordon Lee, who bought the equipment from the Fitlin family last year, won a one-year lease from building owner Thor Equities. The bad news is no sooner was the lease signed than Hurricane Sandy barreled through, flooding both the ride and the arcade. The waterlogged arcade machines are believed to be ruined, but will the famed bumper cars ride again? “I can’t make that decision until I have more information,” Gordon told ATZ. He’s hoping that someone with expertise in restoring bumper car rides will come forward to help. “These cars have always been very pampered. They’ve always been indoors. I’m totally lost here. Every car was submerged under water. Salt water is very corrosive to metal.”

After Sandy: Hosing Down the Eldorado Bumper Car Motors, Coney island. November 11, 2012. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

On Sunday, the Eldorado’s crew was still cleaning up. Louis was clad in a hazmat suit while Thomas wore a face mask. Some equipment had already been sent out to be tested by a mechanic. Also damaged in the flood was the ride’s polished floor, the awesome sound system and new merchandise emblazoned with the Eldorado’s “Bump Your Ass Off” slogan. Gordon had put a lot of time and money into upgrading the Eldorado at the beginning of the 2012 season. “I’ve done a lot,” he said. “It’s aggravating to have to start over.” When we saw Gordon at a meeting for business owners at Tom’s Restaurant last week, the first thing we asked was if he was going to rebuild. He said that he had a difficult decision ahead of him and made it clear that reinvesting was a big gamble. “What would you do if you had only a one-year lease?”

Our answer was that if was too costly to invest in new bumper cars for one year, we’d stay and build something simple. How about a roller rink, a movie house, or a Dunk the Clown game? Gordon agreed it was an option. Yesterday we checked in to see what he was thinking. “Right now I’m looking for information to try and rebuild the bumper cars. I’m taking it hour by hour,” said Gordon. He was taking his inspiration from Dennis Vourderis of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, who said that’s how they were handling the cleanup at their park. Not day by day, but hour by hour. Says Gordon: “Every hour I’ve got something to do.”

This music video was shot at the Eldorado Auto Skooters in September 2012 by The DoD3.com, an amusement ride enthusiast from New Jersey. “Man, they just don’t run bumper cars like that anymore!” he wrote in his trip report. “It was three bucks to re-ride but I passed; I had thoroughly bumped my ass off.”

UPDATE March 11, 2013:

Great news from Gordon Lee of the Eldorado. The bumper cars, which were completely refurbished over the past few months, are expected to open by Palm Sunday or Easter Sunday!

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Related posts on ATZ…

November 9, 2012: Update on Coney Island’s Amusement Area After Sandy

March 30, 2012: 60 Years of Family History in Coney Island End with Sale of Eldorado

October 13, 2010: Rest in Peace: Scott Fitlin, Coney Island’s Eldorado Man

March 14, 2010: Eldorado Auto Skooter: Coney Island’s Disco Palace of Bumper Cars

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If you’re feeling nostalgic for the Eldorado Auto Skooter and yearn to go for the first ride of the year, this HD video will intensify those feelings. Please be patient and send positive vibes to 1218 Surf Avenue in Coney Island.

On Tuesday we talked again with Gordon Lee, who operated the bumper cars and arcade for the Fitlin family last year. He affirmed that he is preparing to open up within the next couple of weeks. We have faith that Lee can make everything come together so that the famed marquee will light up again for one glorious last season of “Bump, Bump, Bump Your Ass Off” rides before it closes forever.

As ATZ reported last week, Sheila Buxbaum Fitlin and Sandy Fitlin, whose families have operated businesses in Coney Island for more than six decades, sold the building that houses the Eldorado to Thor Equities. Their son Scott Fitlin was the DJ extraordinaire of Surf Avenue’s legendary disco palace of bumper cars and his untimely death at the age of 48 left the attraction’s future in question.

“It is with deep regret that I sold Eldorado,” Sheila Fitlin told ATZ. “Due to my advancing age, the fact that I live in Texas, and, of course, Scott’s death, I could no longer continue.” It was a gift to Coney Island and a tribute to his memory that the Eldorado reopened in 2011. We’re hoping for a second gift to Coney Island in 2012.

UPDATE April 12, 2012:

Good news! Gordon Lee of Coney’s Eldorado Bumper Cars phoned to say he’s operating the ride today & open for business! The arcade will also open this weekend for the season. Hours at the Eldorado are “12 noon till closing.”

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Related posts on ATZ…

March 30, 2012: 60 Years of Family History in Coney Island End with Sale of Eldorado

October 17, 2010: Photo Album: Oct 15 Tribute in Sound & Light to Scott Fitlin

October 13, 2010: Rest in Peace: Scott Fitlin, Coney Island’s Eldorado Man

March 14, 2010: Eldorado Auto Skooter: Coney Island’s Disco Palace of Bumper Cars

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