Archive for the ‘video’ Category

The return of the nervous kid who grew up in a house under a roller coaster? Woody Allen says his next movie will be set in an amusement park and could possibly be shot in Coney Island this summer. “If I can work out the logistics of it,” he told reporters at the Cannes Film Festival.

Scenes from Allen’s 1977 Annie Hall were filmed in Coney at the since demolished Thunderbolt roller coaster and the Cavalcade Bumper Cars on Surf Avenue. Where would he film today? Well, there’s Luna Park’s new Thunderbolt roller coaster, which does not have a house under it but does have a hair-raising 90 degree drop, and the roller coaster like thrill of the Wonder Wheel’s swinging cars, and the mighty Cyclone.

As Allen’s alter ego Alvy Singer says in Annie Hall, “My analyst says I exaggerate my childhood memories, but I swear I was brought up underneath the roller-coaster in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn. Maybe that accounts for my personality, which is a little nervous, I think.”

The house under the roller coaster in Annie Hall was the real life home for 40 years of Mae Timpano, who shares vivid memories of good times and sad in a 2005 documentary by Lila Place. “If the wind was blowing towards the house, I heard everything going on in Coney Island,” says Timpano in the film.

Related posts on ATZ…

July 14, 2015L ‘Famous Nathan’ Documentary Gets Theatrical Run, VOD and DVD Release

April 19, 2015: USA Network’s Mr. Robot is Filming Again in Coney Island

January 1, 2015: Video of the Day: “Coney Island” with Arbuckle & Keaton (1917)

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

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Coney Island’s Opening Day ceremonies have been rescheduled for Saturday, March 26th, due to snow forecast for Palm Sunday. The parks will also be open March 25th, Good Friday, and March 27th, Easter Sunday.

In prep for Coney Island’s opening day on March 20th, the Wonder Wheel’s 24 cars were put back on the landmark ride on Friday. As we’ve noted in past years, the annual ritual is regarded as the first sign of spring in Coney Island. Being there to see the cars go up, the swinging blue and red ones first and then the stationary white, is like seeing crocuses bloom before your eyes.

This year, videographer Jim McDonnell recorded a wonderful up-close, behind-the-scenes look at the Vourderis family and their longtime crew returning the freshly painted and refurbished cars to the Wheel after the ride’s winter rest. At the 46 second mark, look for Wonder dog Ringo, park co-owner Steve Vourderis’s pet, cutely supervising. Ringo enjoys riding the Wheel and is no doubt anticipating his first ride of the season. So are we!

Deno’s Wonder Wheel and the rest of Coney Island’s rides will go for their first spin of the 2016 season on Palm Sunday, which also happens to be the first day of spring this year, and is just eight days away. The 31st annual Blessing of the Rides at Wonder Wheel Park starts at 11:00am. After the ceremony, there will be free rides for 300 children from the local Salt and Sea Mission, and free rides on Deno’s Wonder Wheel for the first 96 people on line in celebration of the 1920 Wheel’s 96th year.

Deno's Wonder Wheel

Wonder Wheel dog Ringo supervising the return of the cars to the Wheel. March 11, 2016. Photo © Jim McDonnell

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French Spidora

La Femme Araignee. Cirque Daniellis. Paris: Aussel, ca. 1937. One-sheet. Potter and Potter Auctions

This rare and delightful 1937 French circus poster is on the auction block today at Potter and Potter’s sale. “La Femme Araignee” is an advertisement for Cirque Daniellis’ spider woman. Known as the Spidora sideshow illusion on American carnival midways, it features a young lady with the head of a beautiful girl and the body of a giant spider.

Missed it? Check out the video below of Walt Hudson’s Spidora pitch and see her for yourself. “She’s strange, she’s unusual, she’s a lovely little girl. I’m going to let you look at her. Shortly afterwards we’re going to take her off the web and feed her, and you’ll have an opportunity perhaps to see that…” Little Spidora was an attraction at Atlantic City’s Steel Pier, Hudson says. And why by the way do we not currently have a Spidora single-o in Coney Island?

Potter and Potter’s live auction is on February 6 in Chicago but the catalogue is online and you can bid on the poster now or in real time during the auction.

Update: The poster sold for $1,200 plus a 22% buyer’s premium.

Related posts on ATZ…

June 27, 2013: Photo Album: The Front of the Show at Meadowlands Fair

May 22, 2013: Art of the Day: Girl to Gorilla Showfront by Lew Stamm

September 2, 2012: Art of the Day: World’s Smallest Woman Arrives in Coney Island

November 4, 2011: Up for Auction: Ringling Bros Circus Side Show Poster

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Save your quarters, it’s only 7 weeks till Miss Coney Island’s first dance of the 2016 season. The Coney Island amusement area’s traditional Palm Sunday opener is early this year — March 20 — and it’s still costs only 25 cents a a dance. Miss Coney’s twin mottoes are “25¢ to Fall in Love” and “Don’t Postpone Joy.” The doll and her dancing cats are located on West 12th Street below the Wonder Wheel and next door to the Coney Island History Project.

Related posts on ATZ…

October 4, 2015: Video: Coney Island Dancing 2015 by Jim McDonnell

April 6, 2014: Photo of the Day: Miss Coney Island’s Dancing Cat

September 30, 2012: Photo of the Day: Last Dance With Miss Coney Island

April 27, 2012: The Dancing Doll “Miss Coney Island” Speaks

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Merry Christmas from Amusing the Zillion! Here’s our holiday compilation of videos showing seasonal celebrations at parks and attractions around the world. Among the wonderful and sometimes wacky gems are the Christmas Parade at Seoul’s Lotte World, the world’s largest indoor theme park; a choral group singing while riding a roller coaster at Sweden’s Liseberg; and the mermaids at Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs trimming their underwater tree.

The Mermaid show at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park in Spring Hills, Florida, is presented daily, including Christmas. This year’s “Elf on a Shelf” music video was created by Merstar​ and Andrew Brusso.

The underwater entertainment at South Korea’s COEX Aquarium currently features Scuba Santa delivering presents to the fish.

Last week, Christmas came early to the San Diego Zoo. Polar bears Kalluk, Chinook, and Tatqiq got a gift of snow – 26 tons of it! The surprise snow was made possible by donors who contributed to the animal care wish list on the San Diego Zoo website, sandiegozoo.org. The bears, who came to the zoo as orphans, rolled around in the fresh powder and wrestled with each other all morning long. “This was a special day for the polar bears, and I could tell they really loved it,” said Susan Purtell, senior keeper, San Diego Zoo. “It was great seeing them roll around in the snow, showcasing their natural behaviors.”

In Pennsylvania, Kennywood’s annual Holiday Lights celebration, which concludes this weekend, includes a spin on the park’s 1926 Dentzel carousel. YouTube user 20th century Wurlitzer recorded the ride’s band organ, a 1916 Wurltizer #153, which is considered the oldest of its kind, playing Christmas music. Here’s “If It Doesn’t Snow On Christmas,” which is appropriate considering the warm temps in the Northeast.

One of the most popular feast days in Sweden leading up to Christmas is St. Lucia’s Day, when celebrants wear white garments and a wreath of candles and there are processions galore. This year, Hellmans Drengar, known as Sweden’s bravest men’s choir, probably broke the record for the world’s fastest St. Lucia procession. Their approach was a novel one: singing Lucia songs at 56 miles per hour, on the Balder roller coaster at Gothenberg’s Liseberg Park.

In Scandinavia, it is said that celebrating St. Lucia’s Day will help one thrive during the long winter days with enough light. Christmas at Liseberg runs through December 30.

At Germany’s Europa Park, the Winter Wonderland celebration continues through January 10th. The park is elaborately themed for the winter season, with Yule logs ablaze on ice floes, sleigh rides, parades, and a Christmas Market. The park’s Giant Wheel is dressed in candy cane colors and the Eurosat roller coaster is beribboned in red.

Last but not least, from Walt Disney World in Orlando, here’s a magical time lapse video of the resort’s famed Christmas parade and fireworks.

Related posts on ATZ…

November 30, 2015: ATZ’s Coney Island Holiday Gift Guide for 2015

December 25, 2014: Traveler: Merry Christmas from Mulberry Street

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

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

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The 2015 edition of photographer and film editor Jim McDonnell’s annual “Coney Island Dancing” video was released over the weekend. Miss Coney Island and her dancing cats, who are still open for business at 25 cents a dance, start the show! Its the fifth year in a row that Jim has compiled his fabulous footage of Boardwalk dancers extraordinaire. “Dancing and music is an integral part of Coney Island,” he says. “This year’s soundtrack is ‘I Know You Got Soul’ by Bobby Byrd (James Brown’s legendary sideman) Enjoy!”

Related posts on ATZ…

April 6, 2014: Photo of the Day: Miss Coney Island’s Dancing Cat

January 24, 2012: Dance Video: Ringmasters Crew in Coney Island

September 6, 2011: Video: Coney Island Dancing 2011 by Jim McDonnell

December 16, 2010: Blast from the Past: LFO’s Summer Girls Music Video

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Ten years in the making, the much-anticipated SeaGlass Carousel at Battery Park will open to the public on Thursday, August 20th, from 1pm till midnight. Today, at a press preview, ATZ captured the unique ride’s inaugural spin in the above video. For its second go-round, we hopped aboard one of the 30 bioluminescent fish and shot an on-ride video through its porthole. Glowing Angelfish, Lionfish, and Butterflyfish changed colors as they swam by in a 360-degree aquatic dance. It is a very calming, otherworldly experience and totally unlike any other carousel or amusement ride.

George Tsypin

George Tsypin set to ride one of the fish that he designed for the SeaGlass Carousel. August 19, 2015. Photo © Tricia Vita

Among the carousel’s riders was George Tsypin, the internationally acclaimed opera designer who created the opening ceremony for the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi. His latest creation is what he calls “the dancing fish.”

“I always try to do something I’ve never done before,” he remarked at the press conference. “SeaGlass Carousel allows visitors to experience a ‘mini-opera’ in which they are spectators, actors and participants.” He describes it as a reinvention of the carousel for the 21st century with the choreography of movement being the most important thing. “You can program the movement in many different ways. It’s a living organism that we tried to create.”

The fiberglass fish are a bit like a capsule, Tsypin adds, noting that you can’t ride a shark as you would a horse. “Children can feel like they’re in a secret world in their own little capsule.”

SeaGlass Carousel

Girl riding SeaGlass Carousel at press preview. August 19, 2015. Photo © Tricia Vita

Celebrating the history of the Battery as the first home of the New York Aquarium, which was located in Castle Clinton from 1896 until 1941, the carousel was designed to simulate a dive to the bottom of the sea. “Most New York City children will not scuba dive or snorkel,” said the Battery Conservancy’s Warrie Price. “This is a simulation of them being fish.”

The SeaGlass Carousel’s iridescent fish are set on four moving turntables within a nautilus shell structure. The 46-foot grand turntable gently rotates 360 degrees. Within it are three on-board turntables, which slowly rotate 120 degrees in each direction on their own axes, adding an oscillating motion. Eighteen of the fish move up and down. “These various systems generate up to 25 axes of motion…swimming indeed,” according to the Conservancy. Since all mechanisms are located below the floor, there is no centerpole, as is customary with carousels.

SeaGlass Carousel

SeaGlass Carousel features iridescent fish set on four moving turntables within a nautilus shell structure. August 19, 2015. Photo © Tricia Vita

Last year, the Battery Conservancy issued an RFP (Request for Proposals) for the operation and maintenance of the SeaGlass Carousel along with food and merchandise carts in Battery Park. Ride Entertainment Group’s New York division, NY Carousel, was selected to operate the ride, which after opening day will spin daily from 10am to 10pm. The cost is $5 per ride. The group also operates Fantasy Forest at the Flushing Meadows Carousel and the Forest Park Carousel in Queens, as well as Fantasy Shore at Midland Beach in Staten Island and carousels in Boston and Baltimore.

SeaGlass Carousel

Moms and kids aboard the SeaGlass Carousel at Battery Park. August 19, 2015. Photo © Tricia Vita

Created by the Battery Conservancy together with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, SeaGlass Carousel was conceived and designed by WXY Architecture + Urban Design and their engineering teams, George Tsypin Opera Factory and Show Canada. The $16 million dollar project was funded with $8 million in public funds and $8 million in private funds. The Tiffany & Co. Foundation Woodland Gardens encircle SeaGlass Carousel.

Tiffany & Co. Foundation Woodland Gardens

The Tiffany & Co. Foundation Woodland Gardens encircle Battery Park’s SeaGlass Carousel. August 19, 2015. Photo © Tricia Vita

Related posts on ATZ…

April 13, 2015: Video of the Day: Century-Old Forest Park Carousel Awhirl After Off-Season Overhaul

October 21, 2013: Traveler: Osteria Ai Pioppi’s Homemade Amusement Rides

December 8, 2010: Children’s Book Tells Coney Island Carousel Carver’s Story

February 26, 2010: Made in Brooklyn: The World’s Only Jet-Powered Merry-Go-Round

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