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Archive for May, 2010

Queen of Swords Natasha Versuchka on stage at new Luna Park, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Queen of Swords Natasha Versuchka on stage at new Luna Park, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

On Saturday night in Luna Park, we caught the first sideshow performance of the season on the park’s free stage. Emcee and host Todd Robbins aka “Coney Island Todd” did the blockhead act (hammering a nail up one’s nose) and a bit of fire eating before introducing his guests. As previously reported in “Will Coney Island Host a Trio of Rival Sideshows?” (ATZ, May 17), Robbins has booked sideshow luminaries like Erik “The Lizardman” Sprague and Natasha Veruschka, the world’s only sword swallowing belly-dancer.

Saturday’s show featured MelissaMarie Wilhelm from Cirque-tacular and Queen of Swords Natasha Veruschka. We first wrote about Natasha a decade ago when this modern-day Scheherazade was entertaining high rollers in Las Vegas with a cabaret act torn from the pages of A Thousand and One Nights. “I always looked different from the other belly dancers. I performed differently,” Natasha says. The first time she danced with a balanced sword it felt so natural that the idea of incorporating sword swallowing into her act began to crystallize in her mind.

At Luna Park, Natasha swallowed seven 22-inch swords at once. The medallion around her beautiful throat is inscribed “Guinness World Record.” Her sixth and current Guinness World Record is for swallowing seventeen 22-inch swords at once!

Todd Robbins Performing at Luna Park Preview Event. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Todd Robbins Performing at Luna Park Preview Event. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Other acts on Luna Park’s summer schedule include Chris McDaniel, Champion Bullwhip & Trick Roper; Ravi the Scorpion Mystic, Contortionist; and sideshow legends Johnny Fox and Harley Newman. The free sideshows are on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 and 10:15 pm, beginning June 11.

Luna Park Coney Island, 1000 Surf Avenue, Coney Island, 718-373-LUNA (5862)

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Related posts on ATZ…

August 31, 2010: Snapshots of the Coney Island Illuscination

August 29, 2010: Video: Grand Prize Winner of Luna Park Coney Island’s Film Contest!

May 19, 2010: Photo of The Day: The Lizardman on Stage in Coney Island

February 22, 2010: Coney Island’s Luna Park Launches Blog Site, Lists Job Openings

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Luna Park's Grand Opening is Saturday, May 29th. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Luna Park's Grand Opening is Saturday, May 29th. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Today at 11 am Coney Island’s new Luna Park opens to the public and will be open all weekend. Don’t miss this historic occasion: It’s the first new amusement park in Coney in four decades! On Friday morning ATZ attended the press event and preview of the park’s attractions. Here are a few photos from our album – you may view the complete flickr set here.

Aerialist at Luna Park's Opening Ceremony.May 28, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Aerialist Melissa Marie at Luna Park's Opening Ceremony.May 28, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Kids from P.S. 100 wearing “I’m the first LUNAtic on earth” T-shirts were the very first New Yorkers to ride the new rides.

Kids from P.S. 100 visit the new Luna Park. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Kids from P.S. 100 visit the new Luna Park. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Kite Glider as well as the Coney Island-themed Lynn’s Trapeze and Coney Island Sound were among the rides operating at yesterday’s preview. The park will have 19 rides, including two roller coasters and two water flumes.

Race to Ride at Coney Island's Luna Park. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Race to Ride at Coney Island's Luna Park. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Look for more photos and commentary tomorrow. We work in Coney Island and are in a bit of a rush to get there to open our booth. Visit the Coney Island Fun Guide online or check out ConeyIsland’s twitterers for detailed info about all of the events and attractions in the People’s Playground. See you soon!

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Related posts on ATZ…

August 29, 2010: Video: Grand Prize Winner of Luna Park Coney Island’s Film Contest!

May 28 2010:You Are Invited to the Opening of Luna Park in Coney Island!

April 14, 2010: Photo Album: Heroic 24/7 Race to Build Coney Island’s New Luna Park

February 22, 2010: Coney Island’s Luna Park Launches Blog Site, Lists Job Openings

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LUNAtics. Photo © Charles Denson

It’s official! The “I’m LUNAtic Campaign” kicked into high gear at today’s opening ceremony of Coney Island’s newest amusement park. Best photo op: Luna Park operator Alberto Zamperla was joined by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, City Councilman Domenic Recchia and Coney Island Development Corp President Lynn Kelly for a sitdown on the Electro-Spin aka the Disk’O. Jon Benguiat of the Borough President’s Office, Seth Pinsky and Robert Lieber of the EDC, the Italian Consul, a Ringling Bros. clown and the Wonder Wheel stand behind them.

The new park is a project of Central Amusement International (CAI), which received a 10-year contract to build and operate the park on city-owned land in Coney Island. “Millions of people, here in Brooklyn and around the world, are crazy about Coney Island,” said Valerio Ferrari, president of CAI. “These are the LUNAtics, and come May 29th, we open our gates to them.” Thank you to Charles Denson of the Coney Island History Project for providing us with this wonderfully LUNAtic photo.

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Related posts on ATZ…

May 28 2010:You Are Invited to the Opening of Luna Park in Coney Island!

May 8, 2010: Photo of the Day: Iconic Luna Park Logo Rises on Coney Island’s Horizon

April 28, 2010: New Coney Island Coaster Pays Homage to Luna Park’s 1906 Tickler

January 26, 2010: Scoop: Zamperla’s $24M Coney Island Park to be Named Luna Park!

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