On Memorial Day Weekend 2013, the Stillwell Avenue lots owned by Thor Equities and leased to the BK Festival for the past two seasons will showcase a brand-new tenant. “Big Mark’s Action Park in Coney Island is a fresh new face to the indie, owner-operator theme park scene in NYC, featuring hands-on, high quality amusements,” says the intro on the new park’s twitter page.
Big Mark is Mark Zientek, owner of New Jersey Partyworks, a long-established amusement rental and special events production company. He’s also chairman of ROAR (Responsible Operators of Amusement Rentals) and a NAARSO (National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials) certified maintenance technician. ATZ first met Mark last season, when he was the operations manager of the amusement park brought to Stillwell by the BK Festival and John “Cha Cha” Ciarcia.
When we ran into Mark in December he told us about the new park and said he planned to bring in state fair quality rides. Mark’s right hand man in this new venture is NY Scoops entrepreneur Timmy Grins, who is on board with his marketing and promotional expertise as well as his Italian ices. Now the project is no longer under wraps since a Facebook page was launched in January with details of the park’s offerings. Among the extreme attractions currently being discussed for Coney Island’s “Action Park” are a rock climbing wall, hot air balloons, helicopter rides and skydiving training with a vertical wind tunnel.
Too crazy for Coney? Maybe not. Also mentioned is an Extreme Air Jumper, which simulates board sports and launches participants up to 25 feet in the air. Its manufacturer Extreme Engineering says the jumper system was awarded “Best New Product” in the entertainment industry two years in a row by IAAPA, the amusement industry trade association. As Mark told ATZ: “I’m not trying to compete with the rides at the other parks. I’m offering something different and unique.”
Last year, the BK Festival dressed up the area behind Nathan’s with multi-colored tents for vendors. The new park is also looking for vendors for pop-up shops: “If you are a crafter, a culinary genius of some sort, have a cool new product, or got something to sell and are interested in vendor space in Coney Island this Summer as part of BIG MARKS ACTION PARK, let us know! The spaces will fill FAST.”
Big Mark’s Action Park promises an outdoor bar called either Big Mark’s Mega Bar or Marko Grande’s Coney Cantina. It’s a mouthful, but Mark says you can call it Mega Bar or Coney Cantina for short and it will feature nightly entertainment. As more details about the park become available, we’ll post an update.
UPDATE October 17, 2013
If you would like to know why the park never opened, just read “The New Coney Island: Thor Equities Vacant Lots, Dummy Arcades” (ATZ, October 17, 2013). The lot first became vacant after Thor Equities acquired the land and evicted ride and park operators and remains vacant today despite a history of various amusement operators’ efforts to negotiate lease deals. The latest project that never happened was Big Mark’s Action Park, which planned to bring a rock climbing wall, a vertical wind tunnel and other extreme attractions to Thor’s Stillwell lots in 2013. It’s a similar story as ATZ’s previous post “The New Coney Island: A Tale of Two Jones Walks” contrasting the activated City-owned and vacant Thor-owned sides of the Walk.
UPDATE May 25, 2013
Thor Equities lot on Stillwell Avenue where Big Mark’s Action Park announced they would build their new park remains depressingly empty except for the abandoned MegaWhirl. In reply to our query about the park’s status, “Big Mark” replied, “We are experiencing some unforeseen headwinds, but, are very much on the push to get open as soon as possible. We believe our Action Park will be super complimentary and not competitive to the already wonderful mix of attractions in Coney Island.” On their Facebook page, there’s a cryptic allusion to being “mired in a Clash of the Titans and in a holding pattern.”
Related posts on ATZ…
December 24, 2012: In Thor’s Coney Island, Discount on Retail Ride of a Lifetime
April 2, 2012: BK Festival’s 1st Amusement Rides Arrive in Coney Island