The rides, games and fun food at Coney Island’s Boardwalk amusement parks–Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, Luna Park and Scream Zone– will of course be back in 2012. There will also be new–and possibly a few old made new–restaurants, shops and amusements. At Friday’s AIA panel on “Planning the Future of Coney Island’s Amusement District,” an audience of architects and Coney Island regulars got a sneak peek at what the Boardwalk might look like in 2012 and beyond.
Luna Park’s plans for Go Karts and a Sky Coaster on Stillwell Avenue West were unveiled along with the Boardwalk businesses renderings for new stores in 2012. We can also look forward to the B & B Carousell, set to spin in the new Steeplechase Plaza in 2013, and the New York Aquarium’s Ocean Wonders shark exhibit, expected to open in 2015.
“The skyline is growing in Coney Island and we’re very excited to see what happens next,” said Nate Bliss, president of the Coney Island Development Corporation. The panel discussion about new architectural projects was hosted by AIA NY’s Architectural Tourism Committee.
Valerio Ferrari, president of Zamperla USA and their park division, Central Amusement International (CAI), which runs Luna Park, showed the Boardwalk businesses’ renderings for their new stores. Among the businesses are Boardwalk favorites Ruby’s Bar and Paul’s Daughter, whose return is not yet 100 per cent certain because they are still in lease negotiations with CAI. (Update: December 9, 2011…Ruby’s, Paul’s Daughter and Lola Star have signed 8-year leases!) Ferrari also showed his company’s plans for “Parcel C,” the third City-owned parcel that is part of the amusement operator’s 10-year lease. Speed Zone, as it called in the rendering presented by Zamperla, will be across the avenue from Scream Zone. (Update: Zamperla has since shelved the idea of creating a separate park called “Speed Zone.” The two new rides will instead operate as part of Scream Zone.)
A Sky Coaster is a high thrill ride combining elements of skydiving and hang-gliding in which riders are winched to the top of a 100 to 300 foot tall launch tower and then swing through the sky as they drop towards the ground. Each “flight” lasts about five minutes. Manufactured by SkyCoaster Inc., the ride is a popular attraction at over 75 parks around the world. Here’s their official video.
As ATZ reported last month, CAI filed plans to bring Go Karts and a water ride to Stillwell Avenue West. Go Karts were a popular attraction in Coney Island until Thor Equities bought the property leased by Batting Range and Go Kart City in 2006 and evicted them. Though the water ride was not mentioned at Friday’s presentation, we previously reported the Coney Island Rumor Mill is saying the Reverchon flume will be moved from Luna Park to free up space for new rides in the park. (Update: The water ride will stay put in Luna Park this season.)
According to CAI’s contract with the City, the amusement operator is required to do an annual review of each of their rides for popularity and present the City with an updated ride selection and layout for the coming season by December 31st. “This will assist Tenant in keeping the leased Premises innovative and fresh,” the contract says. CAI’s original plan for Parcel C in the contract was for two Go Kart tracks, so the current plan is a more diverse mix of amusements.
Coney Island Beach Shop, which sells T-shirts, beach gear and souvenirs year-round at their original location on Stillwell Avenue behind Nathan’s, opened a new shop in Stillwell Terminal this summer. In 2012, the Haddad family, Haim and his daughter Maya, is expected to open their third location on the Boardwalk. Called Brooklyn Beach Shop, the store will occupy the former Coney Island Souvenir Shop. It’s a prime location situated between the entrance to Scream Zone and Ruby’s Bar. All of the stores on the Boardwalk were required to design elaborate lighted signage. The rendering for Beach Shop’s dazzling marquee shows a Steeplechase Funny Face and a classic bare bulb sign spelling out their name.
Nathan’s Famous will open a huge new restaurant at the corner of West 12th on the Boardwalk at Gyro Corner Clam Bar’s former location. Their satellite restaurant at the corner of Stillwell on the Boardwalk will close. As ATZ reported earlier this month, Randazzo’s Clam Bar of Sheepshead Bay is eyeing Cha Cha’s location. The Randazzo family-owned and operated restaurant began in 1908 and is a perennial “Best” among New York City seafood restaurants. Nathan’s began as a nickel hot dog stand in Coney Island in 1916 and is of course named after Nathan Handwerker, who co-founded the restaurant with his wife Ida.
UPDATE December 12, 2011…Tom’s Restaurant, a popular family-owned Prospect Heights eatery founded in 1936, edged out Randazzo’s for the space formerly occupied by Cha Cha’s and Nathan’s. Tom’s of Coney Island expects to open in
April 2012 this summer.
Lola Star Boutique is expected to stay in its skinny and chic little shop on the Boardwalk. That’s good news because Lola Star owner Dianna Carlin got evicted twice by Joe Sitt and was able to return to her original Boardwalk location only after the City bought the property and offered her the space. Carlin is an entrepreneurial spirit whose successful projects include the Dreamland Roller Rink, a shop in Stillwell Terminal and a pop-up shop in SoHo. We missed getting a good photo of her rendering at the AIA, so we asked Lola to send us a jpeg of the lighted sign for the shop. “The new version is even MORE spectacular!,” says Carlin. “It’s a Lola Star pinup on Rollerskates rotating on a gigantic disco ball.”
The rendering for Paul’s Daughter, a Boardwalk icon founded in 1962 as Gregory & Paul’s, shows the spruced up Burger statues on the roof and what appears to be new hand-painted signage along the bottom. Like Ruby’s, Paul’s Daughter is still in lease negotiations with Zamperla. The restaurant is the subject of Sunday’s post “The End of Paul’s Daughter As We Know It–Will They Return?” (ATZ, November 12, 2011).
UPDATE December 9, 2011…We’re thrilled to report that this afternoon, Tina Georgoulakos of Paul’s Daughter signed an 8-year lease for her family’s restaurant on the Coney Island Boardwalk! “Paul’s Daughter Signs 8-Year Lease for Coney Island Boardwalk” ATZ, December 9, 2011. All of the above-mentioned stores, including locally-owned businesses Ruby’s Bar and Lola Star Boutique, have now signed leases for their Boardwalk locations. Happily, the Coney Island Boardwalk will not be gentrified and corporatized after all!
Related posts on ATZ…
May 29, 2012: Photo Album: Coney Island Lights & Signs of the Times
March 14, 2012: Coney Entrepreneurs to Open 1st Ever Nathan’s Gift Shop
October 20, 2011: Reversal of Fortune on the Coney Island Boardwalk