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Posts Tagged ‘Luna Park’

Repair crew on Coney Island Boardwalk

Repair crew on Coney Island Boardwalk. March 13, 2015. Photo © Tricia Vita

With Coney Island’s Palm Sunday season opener a mere 10 days away, the amusement area is a flurry of activity. New signage and work permits are affixed to buildings, job trainings and Boardwalk repairs are underway. Trenches are being dug along the Bowery and Jones Walk to lay new gas lines before the area comes fully awake from its winter slumber. City ride inspectors were on site on Wednesday inspecting rides that are ready to spin while both new rides and old favorites are still being set up in Coney Island’s amusement parks.

Scrambler Deno's Wonder Wheel Park

Astroland’s Scrambler is back in Coney at the Wonder Wheel. Photo © Tricia Vita

The cars are expected to go back up on the Wonder Wheel any day now — the official first sign of Spring. Among the season’s three new family rides at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park is the Speedway, a Nascar-inspired ride with a Whip-like twist, which ATZ previewed earlier this month. A new Drop Tower arrived on Monday, as per this photo shared via twitter…

Astroland’s popular Scrambler has been refurbished and brought home to Coney Island. The ride is now being assembled in its new spot beside the Wonder Wheel. In Luna Park, Zamperla’s Rockin’ Tug has replaced the Beach Shack, and more new rides are yet to come.

Luna Games

New ‘Luna Games’ Signage Coney Island Boardwalk. Photo © Tricia Vita

Luna Park is increasing its presence on the Boardwalk with bold electric signage for “Luna Games” and additional pinwheels, which are the park’s logo. ATZ has learned exclusively that the owner of Coney’s Cones sold his small business to landlord Central Amusements International, which operates Luna Park. The ice cream shop had one year remaining on its five-year lease. The other independent businesses on the Boardwalk including Tom’s, Ruby’s and Paul’s Daughter have eight-year leases. Sources say that Zamperla will bring an Italian gelato shop to Coney Cone’s location, which is adjacent to the park’s boardwalk gate. The park is also debuting ticketbooths on the Boardwalk.

Luna Park Pinwheel

New Pinwheel, Luna Park’s logo, on the move in Scream Zone. Photo © Tricia Vita

In the Strange & Unusual Department: A giant skull long retired from duty at Wonder Wheel Park’s Spook-A-Rama dark ride was pulled out of storage and wheeled over to the Coney Island History Project. This fantastic creature will be on display this season, replacing the Cyclops head which is on loan to the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art for a traveling art exhibit. Like the Cyclops, the skull’s eyes light up and move, promising some terrific selfies. The skull was a stage prop in Harvey Fierstein’s 1984 play Spookhouse and a denizen of the Coney Island Hysterical Society’s Spookhouse in the former Dragon’s Cave on the Bowery.

Skull from dark ride

Skull from dark ride en route to Coney Island History Project Photo © Tricia Vita

In Thor Equities’ building on Stillwell Avenue, work permits are posted and construction is underway on Wahlburgers, which is expected to open in May. The permits cover general construction on the first floor and the roof, where outdoor dining will be available for the celebrity burger chain . The roof currently overlooks an empty lot but as ATZ wrote in January: “Coney Island Rumor Mill: No Rides But Games, Food & Merch Coming to Thor’s Lot.”

There could be some truth to the rumor. Earlier this month, electrical service was installed on the lots. Since Thor bought the property in 2006 and evicted amusement operator Norman Kaufman, the Stillwell lots have occasionally hosted flea markets or carnivals. The lots were vacant last year as well as in 2010 and 2013, when the City issued a stop-work order on a permit for “temporary parking for the amusement district.”

Wahlburgers Coney Island

Building permits posted on window of future Wahlburgers on Stillwell Avenue, where construction is underway. Photo © Tricia Vita

Check our post on “Coney Island Amusement Park Jobs from Entry Level to Managerial Up for Grabs” for updates. New jobs being advertised included Brand Ambassadors for Luna Park, Marketing and Events Coordinator for Wahlburgers, and account Manager for Coney Island Brewing Company. Game of skill operators are needed for the 2015 season at the independent games on West 12th street off the Boardwalk. Apply in person or message @MissConeyIsland via twitter.

Luna Park Job Screening

Luna Park Job Screening at B&B Carousell. Photo © Tricia Vita

After the March 29th season opener, Coney Island’s amusement parks are open weekends and school holidays until the daily schedule kicks in Memorial Day Weekend.

More photos from this set may be viewed on flickr.

Polar Express

Polar Express, famed for its mega sound system and live DJs, getting ready for Coney Island’s Opening Day, 12th Street Amusements. Photo © Tricia Vita

Related posts on ATZ…

March 6, 2015: Photo Album: Glimpses of Spring in Coney Island

January 29, 2015: Coney Island 2015: Subway Cafe, Sushi Lounge, IHOP, Checkers, Johnny Rockets

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

March 3, 2015: Coney Island 2015: The Whip Returns with a NASCAR Twist

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Steeplechase Luna Park

Steeplechase Ride at Luna Park. Coney Island’s amusement rides open for the 2015 season on Palm Sunday, March 29th. Photo © Tricia Vita

Want to get into the business of fun? An array of amusement park jobs including ride operator, bartender, games manager and online marketing coordinator are up for grabs. Coney Island’s first job recruitment events of the 2015 season are on Monday and Tuesday and some employers have started posting ads on Craigslist and specialized job boards. Coney Island’s opening day is early this year–March 29th–with the parks open weekends and school holidays until the daily schedule begins on Memorial Day Weekend.

The February 23rd and 24th recruitment event is hosted by the Alliance for Coney Island in partnership with Human Resources Administration, NYCEDC’s HireNYC Program and Council Member Mark Treyger. It will be held at MCU Park, the Brooklyn Cyclones’ Stadium (1904 Surf Avenue) from 12 noon till 4pm. Representatives from Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, Luna Park, Nathan’s Famous, Ruby’s Bar and Grill, and Applebee’s will be among the businesses interviewing for ride operators, game operators, park services, food services and cashiers. The independently operated games of skill on West 12th Street are also seeking game operators for the 2015 season.

Deno's Wonder Wheel Park

Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park is among the Coney Island businesses seeking job applicants at this week’s workforce recruitment event. Photo via Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park

CAI Foods, the food division of Zamperla’s Central Amusement International, which operates Luna Park, will have a job fair next week on March 2nd and 3rd. CAI Foods operates Place to Beach, the Cyclone Cafe and kiosks in Luna Park. Food service jobs include cook, service assistant, kiosk operator, bar back, bartender and cashier. The job fair will be held at the B&B Carousell on the Boardwalk next to the Parachute Jump. All applicants must complete an online application before attending the job fair.

Luna Park is also seeking an Online Marketing Coordinator to create and manage engaging content for the park’s website, social media and e-newsletters ($38,000). “This gig is unlike any other social media job,” says the job description. “You’ll be running around creating content with a small camera and your wits, coordinating with our photographers and videographers and pestering staff members for exciting information for our online audience. We won’t lie — it’s tough, you’ll be busy as heck during the summer (especially weekends) and we need someone who is just a little bit awesome.”

Cat Rack in Coney Island

A supervisor and game attendant practice “Downing A Clown” on Surf Avenue, Luna Park Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita

Managerial job openings at Luna Park include a Warehouse Manager to oversee a team responsible for stocking games, merchandise, photo booths, uniform inventory, maintenance spare parts and other items ($40,000-$45,000) and a Games and Retail Manager with experience in the amusement industry ($45,000-$50,000).

Nathan’s Famous is hiring Restaurant Managers and Shift Managers for their Coney Island locations. Experienced RMS earn up to $865 per week and shift managers up to $15 per hour.

Ruby’s Bar and Grill on the Boardwalk is hiring a manager and assistant manager, as well as a cook, counter help, and bartender, according to a new post on their website.

The Alliance for Coney Island is looking for a Marketing and Corporate Partnerships Manager with experience in marketing, corporate partnerships, communications and media/press relations.

UPDATE March 18, 2015:

Game of skill operators are needed for the 2015 season at the independent games on West 12th street off the Boardwalk. Apply in person or message @MissConeyIsland via twitter.

Wahlburgers is hiring a Marketing and Events Coordinator for the franchise opening in Coney Island

Luna Park is seeking Brand Ambassadors to work both in Coney Island and off-site. Additional positions listed on the job opportunities section of the park’s website.

UPDATE March 8, 2015:

On Monday, March 9th, from 10am – 4pm, there will be an additional workforce screening event for jobs with Luna Park, Eldorado Skooter and others. The location is Gargiulo’s Restaurant, 2911 West 15th Street off Surf Avenue in Coney Island.

Samuel Adams’ Alchemy & Science division, which is opening a brewery on Surf Avenue for their line of Coney Island Beer, is seeking an account manager. “Coney Island Brewing Company is a local New York brewery and we need you to join our team to sell our beers. We need you promoting Coney Island beers in the New York market. Adult alcohol industry experience strongly preferred.”

Seasonal positions with Aramark’s food and beverage operation at MCU Park, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones, include a concessions supervisor . They are also hiring cashiers, food service helpers, and maintenance workers as well as experienced retail store associates and store supervisors for the team store. The season at MCU starts June 20th.

Lola Star Boutique, which has locations on the Boardwalk and in Stillwell Terminal, is seeking shift managers in Coney and a studio production manager in Sunset Park.

12th street games

The independently operated games of skill on West 12th Street are seeking game operators for the 2015 season

Related posts on ATZ…

January 29, 2015: Coney Island 2015: Subway Cafe, Sushi Lounge, IHOP, Checkers, Johnny Rockets

January 20, 2015: Coney Island 2015: Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park Adds Scrambler, ‘Twist & Shout’ Drop Tower

December 5, 2014: Wahlburgers Burger Franchise to Open in Coney Island

May 19, 2014: New Thunderbolt Loops the Loop Again in Coney Island

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Photo © John Huntington

Coney Island at the start of a blizzard, January 26, 2015. Photo © John Huntington

When Brooklyn photographer John Huntington took the subway to Coney Island at the start of the “Blizzard of 2015,” it was just before dusk and he had a subway car all to himself. He saw a few people heading home along Surf Avenue and a solitary figure seated on a bench looking out at the ocean. On the boardwalk, the patterns of freshly fallen snow on the slats are a lovely sight to see and to photograph, and one that will soon disappear if the Parks Department is allowed to continue replacing the wooden boards with concrete and plastic. The hibernating amusement parks and attractions provide a colorful backdrop for this storm chaser’s photos.

Coney Island at the start of a blizzard,

Coney Island at the start of a blizzard, January 26, 2015. Photo © John Huntington

“Storm chasing requires knowledge of weather, mobility, and patience. I shoot any storm I can here in New York City, and in the spring I often chase across the great plains and beyond,” says the intro to a page with storm photos on Huntington’s blog. Among his photos are images of tornadoes in Kansas and Texas, and Coney Island and the Jersey Shore after Hurricane Sandy.

Photo © John Huntington

Coney Island at the start of a blizzard, January 26, 2015. Photo © John Huntington

“I’ve been chasing probably since the 80’s–my first chase was Hurricane Gloria,” Huntington told ATZ. The photographer hoped to go back to Coney on Tuesday. “I won’t be able to get out there tomorrow with no subway. This is apparently the first time they EVER shut the trains down for a snow storm,” he said. According to a popular post last night on the blog Second Avenue Sagas, the closing of the subway for a blizzard was ironic because it was built in response to people not being able to get around during the Blizzard of 1888.

Coney Island at the start of a blizzard

Coney Island at the start of a blizzard, January 26, 2015. Photo © John Huntington

Coney Island’s Parachute Jump, also known as Brooklyn’s Eiffel Tower, is lit nightly from dusk until midnight or later. Its 8,000 LEDs, which are said to be visible from Mars and are definitely visible on the Coney Island Cam, remained a beacon during the storm.

Coney Island at the start of a blizzard

Coney Island at the start of a blizzard, January 26, 2015. Photo © John Huntington

Nathan’s, which usually closes at 1 am, was one of the few places open on Monday evening. “I actually first told them trains were shutting down,” tweeted Huntington. “Kid behind the counter said he might sleep there and work tomorrow.”

How much snow did he predict for Coney? Some forecasters had begun revising projected snow totals downward.

“I won’t even guess :-) NWS is sticking to 18″ +.”

Coney Island at the start of a blizzard

Coney Island at the start of a blizzard, January 26, 2015. Photo © John Huntington

Related posts on ATZ…

December 29, 2014: Parachute Jump ‘Ball Drop,’ Sideshow & Fireworks at Coney Island on New Year’s Eve

November 18, 2014: ATZ’s Guide to Coney Island’s Honorary Walks and Places

March 10, 2014: High Hopes for Coney Island’s New Thunderbolt Coaster

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

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Parachute Jump Wonder Wheel

Parachute Jump and Wonder Wheel Lit for Holidays, December 24, 2013. Photo © Bruce Handy

This strikingly beautiful photo of two Coney Island landmarks illuminated for the holidays was taken by Bruce Handy on Christmas Eve 2013. Though the Wonder Wheel appears to be superimposed on the Parachute Jump, there’s no Photoshop trickery here. It’s precisely what the photographer saw that night. “I walked out the door of my apartment house and turned the corner and nearly fainted at the sight,” Bruce tells ATZ. “It was a Christmas Eve miracle. A complete surprise. The photo can only be taken from that exact spot.”

Ever since The Parachute Jump’s dazzling 8,000 LEDs debuted in 2013, the landmark tower’s light show has continued nightly. Specially programmed lighting schemes have paid tribute to the two slain NYPD officers, raised awareness for childhood cancer, and celebrated holidays such as the Fourth of July and Christmas. On New Year’s Eve, the Jump’s LEDs will ring in 2015 with a simulated “ball drop” and light show.

The annual tradition of putting a lighted cross atop the Wonder Wheel during the Christmas season began in 1945 to mark the end of World War II and the troops return home. During the war years, Coney Island was dark after sundown because of “dim-out” and “blackout” regulations to protect shipping from being silhouetted for the enemy by the glare from the shore. The new LED cross was made by DJ Vourderis, whose family has owned Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park for more than 30 years.

Related posts on ATZ…

December 22, 2014: Photo of the Day: Coney Island’s Tribute in Light to Slain NYPD Officers

December 22, 2013: Traveler: Christmas Holidays at Parks in Northern Climes

December 18, 2013: Photo Album: Christmas Peddlers in Old New York

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

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Lost Tribe of Coney IslandIn 1905, when Coney Island had a trio of three grand amusement parks–Steeplechase, Luna and Dreamland–popular attractions included a scenic railway that transported visitors to the North Pole, Africa, the Grand Canyon and Hades, and live shows such as a Midget City and Dr. Couney’s Infant Incubators. “None of this season’s novelties at Coney Island is better worth seeing than the Igorrote Village in Luna Park,” wrote a Brooklyn Eagle reporter of a brand-new attraction where nearly naked, tattooed tribespeople from the Philippines entertained the masses by performing dances and rituals. “For obvious reasons the surroundings of the Filipino headhunter are not so realistic as at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition last summer, but otherwise the exhibition has the same impression in its sheer contrast of savages with civilized people,” said the reporter.

Journalist Claire Prentice scoured innumerable archives to piece together and vividly bring to life this fascinating, long-forgotten episode of amusement park history in her new book The Lost Tribe of Coney Island. Touted as “headhunting, dog-eating savages” by the press, the Igorrotes were a show biz sensation and a gold mine for their increasingly unscrupulous manager Truman K. Hunt, the former lieutenant governor of Bontoc. He obtained permission from the U.S. government to bring the group to America after having managed the government’s own Igorrote Village at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. The exhibits were “used to push the case that America had a duty to protect, educate and civilize such savage beings, and later, when the treatment they experienced became a national scandal, they were used to argue that America had no place in the Philippines at all,” writes Prentice.

Uncle Sam and Igorrotes

“Uncle Sam” and the Igorrotes at Luna Park, June 1905. The New York Tribune

Upon arrival at Luna Park in May, the Igorrotes energetically built and rebuilt the thatched huts of their Village and presented “an amusement park version of their daily lives.” Hunt staged sham romances and weddings and a fake dog-napping as publicity stunts. At home, the Igorrotes feasted on dog meat for special occasions but were forced to eat it daily in Coney Island to please the crowds. When the press asked if the tribe would be hunting human heads in America, Hunt replied “The only heads they will take in this country will be those of the goddess Liberty, inscribed on the good American dollar, at gay Coney Island this summer.”

The cast of characters including tribal chief Fomoaley Ponci, translator Julio Balinag and children Tainan and Friday are portrayed with great empathy. Among the sad realizations in this sad and astonishing story is that with the exception of their journey from Grand Central Station to Coney Island, the Igorrotes did not get to see New York City. While reporters asked them–What do you think of America?–Hunt kept them captive in their “Village” and even their requests to walk around inside Luna Park were rejected.

Igorotte

Igorotte Village at Dreamland, Coney Island. 1905. Library of Congress Photo

Before the 1905 season was over at Luna Park, the opportunistic showman had smuggled the Igorrote Village across the street to rival Dreamland, lured by a higher offer, and then to fairs and parks in far-flung cities. A government agent and Pinkerton detectives were on his trail following a report that the Igorrotes were being exploited and their wages withheld.

Prentice writes that during the summer at Coney Island, the Igorrotes were bringing in $20,000 per week (equal to about $525,000 today), but when they were finally sent home by the government in 1906, each one got just over $30. Though arrested and prosecuted, Hunt had squandered the fortune that the Igorrotes brought in, including their promised monthly wages of $15 each and the money they’d earned from selling souvenirs. An afterword provides information about what happened to the Filipinos after they returned home and the fate of the other characters in the book.

On December 10, the Brooklyn Public Library is hosting an author reading from 7-8pm, with a wine and cheese reception at 6:30pm at the Central Library at Grand Army Plaza. Admission is free. The Coney Island Museum will have an author reading and Q & A on December 13 at 1pm. Admission to the museum is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, kids under 12 and residents of zip code 11224. Free for Coney Island USA members.

The Lost Tribe of Coney Island: Headhunters, Luna Park, and the Man Who Pulled Off the Spectacle of the Century by Claire Prentice. New Harvest/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014. Hardcover, $26.00

Related posts on ATZ…

March 30, 2014: Spring Reading: Automatic Pleasures: The History of the Coin Machine

June 19, 2011: Coney Island Summer Reading: The Wonder City

June 14, 2011: Coney Island Summer Reading: Dreamland Social Club

December 6, 2010: Children’s Book Tells Coney Island Carousel Carver’s Story

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Thunderbolt Luna Park

Grand Opening of Thunderbolt Roller Coaster, Luna Park Coney Island, June 14, 2014. Photo via Luna Park NYC

Summer officially begins on Saturday, June 21st, with the solstice and Coney Island’s Mermaid Parade. This past Saturday offered a taste of summer: the long-awaited debut of Luna Park’s Thunderbolt roller coaster, Wonder Wheel Park’s Pet Costume Contest on the Boardwalk, and the Brooklyn Cyclones season opener followed by the first fireworks of the season. The Cyclones stadium is spectacularly situated with the landmark Parachute Jump on one side and the new Thunderbolt on the other.

Brooklyn Ccyclones

Brooklyn Cyclones Season Opener at MCU Park, Coney Island. June 14, 2014. Photo via Brooklyn Cyclones Facebook

ATZ wrote about the Thunderbolt when it broke ground (“High Hopes for Coney Island’s New Thunderbolt Coaster,” March 10, 2014) and as it took shape (“New Thunderbolt Loops the Loop Again in Coney Island,” May 19, 2014). Yet it’s still an astonishment to come upon its steel loops and dips from Surf Avenue. The coaster has the allure of an abstract sculpture and occupies part of a long vacant block where the Drop the Dip, Thunderbolt, and Wild Mouse coasters once thrilled and the Magic Carpet Fun House and Donkey Ball Game amused the millions.  (more…)

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Last evening at 6:55pm, Zamperla’s Thunderbolt roller coaster went for its first test run, evoking cheers from fans gathered on the Boardwalk. Coney Island photographer Bruce Handy had been standing by for the historic moment and captured “The Thunderbolt’s Maiden Voyage” in this short video.

As previously noted (“High Hopes for Coney Island’s New Thunderbolt Coaster,” ATZ, March 10, 2014), Coney Island has been home to dozens of roller coasters since the Switchback Railway debuted in 1884 but it’s been a long 87 years since one was custom built for Coney — the Cyclone in 1927. Luna Park’s newest ride is named in honor of the 1925 Thunderbolt and is expected to open as soon as the test runs and permitting process are complete.

UPDATE June 2, 2014

To anyone who watched this video of the Thunderbolt’s first test run and jumped to the conclusion it would open over the weekend, hang in there! There’ll be multiple test runs, some of which were conducted today, before the new coaster opens. On Saturday, Luna Park employees variously said the coaster would open next Saturday or in two weeks, but there’s been no officially announced date.

Related posts on ATZ…

May 19, 2014: New Thunderbolt Loops the Loop Again in Coney Island

February 23, 2014: Sunday Matinee: Under the Roller Coaster (2005)

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

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

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