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Archive for the ‘Visitor Info’ Category

Dewey Albert Place and Milton Berger Place

Dewey Albert Place and Milton Berger Place, Surf Ave and W 10th St, Coney Island. November 16, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita

Have you ever looked up at the names immortalized on the street signs in front of the Cyclone roller coaster and wondered– who are Dewey Albert and Milton Berger? ATZ’s compendium of Coney Island’s Honorary Walks and Places, both official and unofficial, includes Coney Island luminaries of the past as well as the present-day paparazzi of People’s Playground Paparazzi Plaza. While there are no streets in Coney named after women, two powerful women in the Bloomberg administration had the rare honor of having new rides named after them.

Dewey Albert Place

Dewey Albert Place, Surf Ave and W 10th st, Coney Island. November 16, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita

Honorary street namings are sponsored by New York City Council members, voted upon by the Council and signed into law by the Mayor. “Proposed honorees must be individuals who are deceased and of significant importance to New York City,” according to the City Council. In June 1997, in recognition of the work and life of Dewey Albert, founder of Astroland, and in celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Cyclone Roller Coaster, 10th Street between Surf Avenue and the Boardwalk was named Dewey Albert Place.  (more…)

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Eldorado Bumper Cars

Eldorado Bumper Cars, Surf Avenue, Coney Island. September 5, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita

Bump and dance! Coney Island’s amusement parks closed for the season at the end of October, but this weekend–November 2nd and 3rd– you can still go for a ride at the Eldorado Bumper Cars, play games in the arcade, bust balloons at the stands on the Bowery, and dance with Miss Coney Island.

Gordon Lee, who operates the independently owned disco palace of bumper cars on Surf Avenue, says he will keep it open Saturday and Sunday from 12 noon till whenever–usually 8 or 9pm.

Miss Coney Island

Miss Coney Island, 25 Cents a Dance. October 20, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

On West 12th Street near the Boardwalk, the windows featuring the dancing doll “Miss Coney Island” and the miniature animated rides of “Coney Island Always” will be open from 2pm, along with Skin the Wire, Roll-A-Coaster and other whimsical games. “Don’t Postpone Joy,” says a sign on the door. It’s still costs only 25 cents a dance or to set the mechanical rides awhirl.

Treasure boxes

Next Door to Miss Coney Island: ‘Limoge Inspired’ Treasure Boxes for Sale. October 20, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

You can start your Christmas shopping too. The stand next door to Miss Coney Island has been transformed into a gift shop with glass pendants ($5.00 each) and “Limoge inspired” treasure boxes galore ($8.00 each). ATZ bought a mermaid-shaped treasure box but there are plenty more. Each box holds tiny secret treasures like the three little ducklings seen below.

See “Coney Island Always: Visiting the Big CI Year-Round” for info on what’s doing in Coney’s amusement area in November.

Tiny ducks

Tiny ducks inside the duck-shaped treasure box. October 20, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

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Related posts on ATZ…

September 2, 2013: Photo of the Day: Skin the Wire and Feed the Clown

March 21, 2013: Photo of the Day: Miss Coney Island Meets Miss Coney Island

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

March 27, 2012: Video of the Day: Eldorado Auto Skooter at Coney Island (2011)

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Friday Night Fireworks

Friday Night Fireworks with Wonder Wheel in Coney Island. Photo © Bruce Handy

UPDATE May 10, 2014: Readers are already starting to ask about this year’s fireworks, so here you go: The first Friday night fireworks show of Coney Island’s 2014 season will be on June 20, the eve of both the first day of summer and the Mermaid Parade. Schedule for 2014 fireworks is here.

The first Friday night fireworks show of Coney Island’s 2013 season will be on June 21, the first day of summer and the eve of the Mermaid Parade. This free weekly event continues every Friday through August 30. Sponsored by the Alliance for Coney Island, the pyrotechnic extravaganza starts at 9:30 pm. Best viewing is on the Boardwalk from West 10th to West 12th Streets or from the Wonder Wheel. Another popular viewing spot, Steeplechase Pier, is currently under renovation after damage from Superstorm Sandy and expected to reopen in July.

The Brooklyn Cyclones have also scheduled fireworks on the following six Saturdays after their home games as well as on one Tuesday – the team’s opening day, June 18th –and one Wednesday, which falls on July 3rd. This year every Saturday night fireworks show will have a special musical theme, including Jimmy Buffett, Bruce Springsteen and the Beatles. Ebbets Field 100th Anniversary, an old-time baseball exhibition, Scout sleepovers and other special events as well as the starting times for the games are listed on the Cyclones promo schedule.

Tuesday June 18 – BROOKLYN CYCLONES OPENING DAY – vs. Staten Island Yankees – Homecoming Fireworks
Saturday, June 22 – vs. Aberdeen IronBirds – Jimmy Buffett Fireworks
Saturday, June 29 – vs. Hudson Valley Renegades – Girl Power Fireworks
Wednesday, July 3 – vs. Staten Island Yankees – Patriotic Fireworks
Saturday, July 20 – vs. Batavia Muckdogs – Springsteen Fireworks
Saturday, Aug 10 – vs. State College Spikes – Billy Joel Fireworks
Saturday, August 17 – vs. Vermont Lake Monsters – Disney Fireworks
Saturday, August 31 – vs. Aberdeen IronBirds – Beatles Fireworks

The fireworks after the home games are shot off from MCU Stadium located between West 16th and West 19th Streets and are best viewed inside the ballpark or from the Boardwalk or adjacent streets.

UPDATE: A special Fourth of July Celebration and Fireworks Show was announced this week. The Brooklyn Cyclones and the Alliance for Coney Island are hosting the event at MCU Park. This means that Coney Island will have fireworks three days in a row — on July 3, 4 and 5! According to the news release for the July 4 event:

Admission is free, however donations will be accepted to benefit the Brooklyn Public Library and #ConeyRecovers, an initiative of local organizations working in partnership to assist with the recovery of the Coney Island community.

The gates will be open at 4:30 p.m. and all ballpark concessions and restrooms will be available to the public.

During the event, attendees can enjoy:
• A pig roast presented by Thomas Joseph Catering
• “Beers of New York” Beer Garden
• A special performance by the String Orchestra of Brooklyn
• Live music from oldies and Top 40 cover bands
• Family activities including the “Fastest Arm in Brooklyn Competition” on the Brooklyn Cyclones speed pitch

The event will culminate with a tremendous Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza at 9 p.m., preceded by a performance from the Brooklyn String Orchestra.

Fourth of July in Coney Island kicks off with the world-renowned Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest beginning with the women contestants at 11:30AM and the men at 12 noon at the Original Nathan’s of Coney Island located on Stillwell Avenue. Pre-show entertainment begins at 10:30AM

For more information, please call 718.37.BKLYN

When the weather is iffy on a day that fireworks are scheduled, check the Coney Island tweeters on Coney Island Fun’s list for updates. Thanks to People’s Playground photographer Bruce Handy for his splendid photo of one of last summer’s fireworks shows.

Related posts on ATZ…

May 29, 2013: Coney Island Flicks on the Beach Opens July 1 with Little Fugitive

May 13, 2013: Grimaldi’s Rings in Coney Island Comeback with Dreamland Bell

April 16, 2013: Photo of the Day: Coney Island Sunset by Bruce Handy

April 2, 2013: Shoot the Freak Reborn in Coney Island as Shoot the Clown

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Coney Island Fireworks Posters. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

Coney Island is still the People’s Playground. You can come here with a couple of bucks in your pocket and have a great time people watching on the boardwalk. Here’s our guide to more than a dozen free events this summer, including fireworks, music, dancing and movies on the beach. Stay tuned for the 2012 schedule of the Seaside Summer Concert Series, which will once again be held at Surf Avenue and 21st Street in Coney Island beginning in mid-July. Update July 7: The free concerts begin on July 12 with Gloria Gaynor and the Village People. Among the six summer concerts are Joan Jett and the Blackhearts on August 9 and Gladys Knight and the Commodores on August 16. Check the Seaside Concert website for full schedule and details.

Friday Night Fireworks, June 15 through August 31. Coney Island Boardwalk. The first Friday night fireworks of Coney’s 2012 season begin today at 9:30 pm. The free summer-long show is once again sponsored by Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, Luna Park including the Scream Zone and the Cyclone, and the Brooklyn Cyclones. In addition, the Cyclones have scheduled fireworks on their Opening Day– Monday, June 18th—as well as on Wednesday, July 4th, and four Saturdays when they have home games: July 7, August 4, August 11 and August 25. Friday night “Karaoke on the Boardwalk” in front of the Wonder Wheel also starts today from 7pm.

Coney Island Dancers

Coney Island Dancers. Photo © Jim McDonnell via smugmug

Coney Island Dancers Outdoor Dance Parties, Boardwalk at W 10th Street and W 15th Street. Dance and party at two locations on the Boardwalk this summer with the Coney Island Dancers. CID’s Commander-in-chief Rican Vargas–he’s the guy in military whites– says the group has been performing on the boardwalk for almost 15 years: “Just follow your ears to the beat and your eyes to the gathering.” The weekend parties are 12 noon till 8pm, with a street festival set for Saturday, August 18th on West 10th Street. Check the schedule on CID’s website.

Pet Costume Contest. Photo © Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park

Pet Day and Pet Costume Contest, Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park. Saturday, June 16. Last Year’s 1st Annual Pet Day was an occasion for costumed dogs and one lucky parrot to parade on the Boardwalk and ride in miniature floats. The pooches wore a sailor hat, an opera hat, sunglasses and even a Hawaiian skirt. We’re hoping to see a Noah’s Ark of exotic pets this year–how about a hermit crab or an iguana? The costume contest begins at 2pm, with preregistration recommended for the 25 slots. Pets are also invited to ride the Wonder Wheel with their owners. Sonny, a Rottweiler owned by Wonder Wheel Park’s Vourderis family, used to ride all day in his very own car. He loved the Wonder Wheel. RIP Sonny.

Abe Feinstein at the Coney Island History Project. Photo © Coney Island History Project.

“Abe Feinstein: 50 Years of Coney Island Photography,” Coney Island History Project, through July 1. In the History Project’s free exhibit center on 12th Street, you’ll see photos of a vanished Coney Island that you won’t find anywhere else. Abe Feinstein, 83, has been photographing his neighborhood since he moved to Luna Park Houses in 1962. Selected and printed by History Project director Charles Denson, the images include icons like Steeplechase Park’s Pavilion of Fun, the Parachute Jump in action, and Shatzkin’s Knishes, where signs advertised huckleberry and cherry knishes. The show runs through July 1 at the exhibit center, which is open Saturdays and Sundays from 12 noon till 6pm.

Mermaid Parade

Mermaid Parade founder Dick Zigun of Coney Island USA beating his drum. Photo © Tricia Vita

Mermaid Parade, June 23. We’ve met New Yorkers who passionately proclaim their love for Coney Island though they come here only once a year for the Mermaid Parade. It’s worth the trip from anywhere. If you plan to join the parade as a mermaid or other sea creature, we recommend registering in advance. Our fave free spot to watch (and photograph) the parade is near the reviewing stand on Surf Avenue at West 12th Street, where marching groups strut their stuff and bribe the judges. Other good spots to watch the parade for free are on Surf Avenue at the corner of Stillwell facing Nathan’s or West 10th near the Cyclone. The Boardwalk has great ambiance, but you’ll miss seeing the hippie buses and vintage cars. This year the parade is celebrating its 30th anniversary and is bound to be jam-packed. It starts at 2pm. Don’t be late–or you may find yourself unable to swim across Surf Avenue!

Hot Dog Eating Contest

Sound Check for Nathan’s 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Contest. Photo © Tricia Vita

Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, July 4. The Road to Coney for 15 regional qualifiers leads to the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues for “The Big Dance.” If you can’t make it, the event will be televised live on ESPN at 3 pm. Yes, that’s right, the traditional starting time of “high noon” has been changed due to ESPN’s live coverage of the Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Quarterfinals. On the plus side, the one-hour telecast will also include coverage of the Women’s Championship. Go, Sonya! UPDATE June 26: According to a press release from Major League Eating, the contest was changed back to its original starting time of 12 noon, with the women’s championship at 11:30 am. Traffic jam averted: “An expected crowd of some 40,000 for the contest followed by an early evening Cyclones game required the contest to be moved back to 12 Noon.”

Coney Island Film Series

Coney Island Flicks on the Beach Summer Film Series. Photo Courtesy of EPIX

Flicks on the Beach, Schedule TBA. Last summer, Flicks on the Beach was a welcome new addition to Coney’s roster of free summer-long events and will be returning this season though the schedule has yet to be announced. The Coney Island Development Corporation (CIDC), NYC & Company and EpixHD partnered with Rooftop Films to launch the free Monday night film series on the beach. The event drew over 3,000 attendees to its eight movie screenings featuring such popular films as Saturday Night Fever, Annie Hall and Moonstruck along with pre-show entertainment and contests. Which flicks would you like to see this summer? UPDATE July 9: The 2012 season of Flicks on the Beach began on July 2 and continues on Monday nights through August 6 August 13. The schedule includes Bound for Glory featuring David Carradine as Woody Guthrie, Woody Allen’s Manhattan, and Jim Henson’s The Muppets. Full schedule here. The show begins at dusk on the beach near West 10th Street.

Sand Sculpting Contest

Sand Sculpting Contest, Coney Island. Photo © Bruce Handy/Coney Island Photo Diary via flickr

22nd Annual Sand Sculpting Contest & Unity Day, July 21. According to the contest sponsor Astella Development, amateur sculptors will compete in five categories for cash prizes of $400, $200 and $100. The contest takes place on the beach from West 10th to West 12th Streets, where fifty mounds of sand are prepared by the Parks Department for the sand sculptors to transform into works of art. Pre-register online at Astella’s website.

Coney Island Talent Show

Coney Island Talent Show. Photo © Bruce Handy/Coney Island Photo Diary via flickr

3rd Annual Coney Island Talent Show, July 28. The first Coney Island Talent Show – “A spectacle of sunshine and lollipops on the Boardwalk!”–was the most successful new Coney event of the season. It featured singers, dancers, magicians and jugglers, as well as a contortionist, a sword swallower, and Justin Bieber and Jackie Gleason impersonators. The 3rd annual talent show might feature — you! Producer Jen Gapay of Thirsty Girl Productions has posted an open call for contestants for this year’s contest. The talent show’s four categories are Creative Kids 9-12 years old, Creative Kids 13-17 years old, Circus Freaks and Sideshow Geeks, Song and Dance, and Best Drag Performance or Celebrity Impersonator. For an application visit coneyislandtalentshow.com.

Witches in Bikinis

Wonder Wheel Music Marathon. Photo © Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park

7th Annual Deno’s Wonder Wheel Music Marathon, August 4 and 18. A dozen rock and surf bands including The Clams, Strange But Surf, and Beware the Dangers of a Ghost Scorpion! will play on the Boardwalk in front of the Wonder Wheel for two Saturdays in August from 2pm. Brooklyn babes Witches in Bikinis are perennial faves. According to their bio, the group formed in 2005 for a performance of ‘Witches In Bikinis’ with one singer and two witch back-ups at The Slipper Room in Manhattan’s Lower East Side for a fundraiser. Current witches Ali, Dreamie, Kaitlin, Kendra and Ruthie will cast their spell on August 18.

History Day

Spook-A-Rama’s Cyclops on History Day. Photo © Jim McDonnell

2nd Annual History Day at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park and The Coney Island History Project, August 11 August 12. For the second year in a row, the 92-year-old landmark Wonder Wheel teams up with the non-profit Coney Island History Project to bring live music, entertainment and history to the heart of Coney Island. Last year, Spook-A-Rama’s legendary Cyclops came out of retirement to join in the fun. At this season’s event, the Hungry March Band, Banjo Rascals, Benjamin Ickies & the Coney Island Screamers, and Lady Circus will perform on the Boardwalk, West 12th Street and throughout Wonder Wheel Park. A Coney trivia contest with historian Charles Denson and a Wonder Wheel Draw-a-thon are some of this year’s activities. Prizes include ride passes and souvenirs of good ol’ Coney Island.

Luna Park Dancers

Dancers at Luna Park. Photo © Jim McDonnell via smugmug

New York City’s Got Talent and End of Summer Concert, Luna Park. August. Luna Park is launching two brand-new free events in August. On three consecutive Fridays–August 3, 10 and 17–performers will compete in “New York City’s Got Talent” for the chance to perform in Z100’s End of Summer Concert at Luna Park. The concert promises “today’s hottest performers, as well as known & loved Brooklyn talent” and will be held on West 10th Street on August 24. (Update…August 10 show rescheduled for Sunday, August 12, 4-7pm)

Many thanks to Coney Island photographers Bruce Handy and Jim McDonnell for their photos.

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Related posts on ATZ…

July 9, 2012: Coney Island 2012: Free Movie Screenings on the Beach

May 29, 2012: Photo Album: Coney Island Lights & Signs of the Times

May 13, 2012: Coney Island Fireworks 2012: Fridays, 4 Saturdays & July 4th

April 22, 2011: Coney Island Has 64 Rides and 30 Weekends of Summer!

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mermaids

Lollipop and Candy Mermaids. Coney Island Mermaid Parade, June 20, 2009. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

This Saturday is the 29th annual Mermaid Parade and if you’re anywhere near New York City, you should come out to Coney Island for the day. Take the D, F, N or Q to Stillwell Avenue and arrive well before the 2 pm start of the parade to pick out a spot on Surf Avenue or the Boardwalk.

If you’re in a faraway state or foreign country, there’s always next year. Of course, we’re joking about seeing the parade before it turns 30. The Mermaid Parade is a quirky Coney Island institution that gets better with age. It should be on your list of things to do before and after you turn 30.

Here’s our slide show from the 2010 Mermaid Parade, featuring our view from the judges stand. The pix are posted pretty much in chronological order, from the judges sitting in the empty stand before the parade to paraders walking east on a still barricaded and empty Surf Avenue after it was over.

This part of our post is for a friend of a friend, who is coming all the way from the Netherlands to play in Sunday’s Brooklyn Pinball Championship in Williamsburg. He was looking for “some advice as a tourist” in Brooklyn so here it is: It’s a big weekend in Coney Island, with the first fireworks of the season on Friday night at 9:30 pm and more fireworks on Saturday after the Brooklyn Cyclones’ season opener. If it’s your first time here– or your first time in a long time– check out the attractions and events listing on the Coney Island Fun Guide before you go.

ATZ’s must see-and-do list includes the landmark Cyclone and Wonder Wheel, the Eldorado Bumper cars, the Air Race in Luna Park, the new Sling Shot ride in Scream Zone, Coney Island USA’s ten-in-one circus sideshow, vintage films and photo exhibit at the Coney Island History Project, Tazo the Sea Otter at the Aquarium, the bars and businesses on the Bowery and Boardwalk, the original Nathan’s Famous, and Williams Candy or Denny’s Ice Cream for dessert!

Related posts on ATZ...

April 28, 2011: Photo of the Day: Denny’s Ice Cream & Eldorado Auto Skooter

April 22, 2011: Coney Island Has 64 Rides and 30 Weekends of Summer!

June 19, 2010: Happy Mermaid Day! Take the Subway or Submarine to the Parade

June 22, 2009: A Judge’s Photo Album of the 2009 Coney Island Mermaid Parade

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Electro Spin and Wonder Wheel

Coney Island's 64 Rides include Luna Park's Electro Spin and Deno's Wonder Wheel. Photo © Jim McDonnell via smugmug

This month marks the 2nd anniversary of Amusing the Zillion, which began on April 10, 2009 with a sweet first post on Coney Island ‘s Opening Day. The zings came in May and June with “Joe Sitt’s No Show Rides” (ATZ, May 17, 2009) and “Coney Island Ride Count: Veteran Ride Ops 40, Joe Sitt 10!” (ATZ, June 4, 2009). Back then, the dwindling number of rides and the empty lots had people asking “Is Coney Island Closed?” and gave rise to the marketing slogan “Coney Island: Really Fun, Really Open.”

We’re happy to report that Coney Island has come a long way since then with the opening of Luna Park (May 2010) and Scream Zone (April 2011) on land purchased by the City from real estate speculator Joe Sitt. As we head into Coney Island’s Easter weekend, which can be as busy as Fourth of July if the sun shines, the amusement area has a grand total of 64 rides! (Update: September 12, 2012… McCullough’s had to reconfigure the park and removed two kiddie rides in 2011. Scream Zone added two rides: Go Karts and a Skycoaster in 2012. Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park replaced two rides with the largest Bumper Cars in New York City. For the 2012 season, Coney Island’s parks had 63 rides plus the Megawhirl and a half-dozen or so carnival rides brought to Stillwell Avenue for the summer.)

Luna Gate and Cyclone

Luna Park entrance and Cyclone Roller Coaster, Surf Avenue at 10th St. Photo © Jim McDonnell via smugmug

The ride count for the 2011 season is Luna Park (19), Scream Zone (4), Cyclone (1), Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park (22), Eldorado Bumper Cars (1), Polar Express and 12th Street Amusements (5) and McCullough’s Kiddie Park (12). Coney Island’s extended season stretches all the way to Halloween, effectively creating 30 weekends of summer fun.

Coney Island isn’t a gated single operator park like Six Flags or Disneyland. Visitors can move freely throughout the People’s Playground, where the rides and attractions are individually owned and operated by several different families. Here’s ATZ’s guide to Coney Island’s rides for the 2011 season.

LUNA PARK, THE CYCLONE and SCREAM ZONE

Air Race

Zamperla's Prototype Air Race at Luna Park. Photo © Jim McDonnell via smugmug

Luna Park opened last May with a magnificent gate that pays homage to the original Luna Park. Operated by Central Amusements International, the park division of Italian ride manufacturer Zamperla, Luna Park features 18 Zamperla rides and a Reverchon water flume. Notable rides include the prototype Air Race, designed by Mega Disk’O creator Gianbattista Zambelli. The thrill ride sends riders upside down at up to 4 g forces and made its world debut in Coney Island last May.

One of Coney Island’s historic rides that inspired a modern counterpart in the new park is “The Tickler.” Zamperla’s spinning coaster model, the Twister, was renamed “The Tickler” in honor of Coney Island inventor William F. Mangels pioneering thrill ride that debuted in 1907.

Additional rides include the Brooklyn Flyer (Vertical Swing), Eclipse (Discovery Pendulum), Circus Coaster, Coney Island Hang Glider, Lynn’s Trapeze, Surf’s Up, Big Top Express, Happy Swing, Mermaid Parade (Kiddie Log Flume), Speed Boat and Tea Party.

Sling Shot

The Sling Shot Ride in Coney Island's Scream Zone Thrill Park. Photo © NYCEDC via flickr

Also operated by Central Amusement International is the iconic Cyclone Roller Coaster, a New York City landmark that first opened in 1927. This weekend the amusement operator is debuting Scream Zone, a new thrill park on the Boardwalk. Rides include the Turbo Force, Sling Shot, Soarin’ Eagle Coaster (Volare), and Steeplechase Motocoaster, which pays homage to Steeplechase Park’s legendary horse race ride.

DENO’S WONDER WHEEL AMUSEMENT PARK

Wonder Wheel

Deno's Wonder Wheel. Built in 1920 by the Eccentric Ferris Wheel Company using Bethlehem Steel forged on the premises. Photo © brooklynnfoto via flickr

Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park has 22 rides and is owned and operated by the second and third generation of the Vourderis family. The Wonder Wheel, which is an official New York City landmark, celebrated its 90th birthday last year. A popular spot for engagement photos, the Wheel has a very romantic history: When the park’s founder Denos Vourderis was a hot dog vendor in the 1940s, he promised his sweetheart Lula that he would buy the Wonder Wheel for her as a wedding ring if she would marry him. She said yes and in 1983 when the Wheel was offered for sale, he bought it and built the park around it.

According to the history page on the Wonder Wheel’s site, it was “built in 1920 by the Eccentric Ferris Wheel Company using 100% Bethlehem Steel forged right on the premises. Each year, the entire 400,000 lb. ride is overhauled and painted to protect it from the elements of weather, wear and tear.”

The park’s adult rides include the legendary Spook-A-Rama dark ride, Thunderbolt, Bumper Cars and Tilt-A-Whirl. The Kiddie rides are the Carousel, Herschell Boats, Dizzy Dragons, Pony Carts, Jumping Motorcycles, Sea Serpent Roller Coaster, Mini Enterprise, Free Fall, Red Baron Airplanes, Willie the Whale, Fire Engines, Jets, Flying Elephants, Pirate’s Pond, Big Foot Trucks. Rio Grande Train, and Samba Balloon.

Carousel horse dedicated to Denos Vourderis, founder of Deno's Wonder Wheel Park. Photo © Deno's wonder Wheel Park via flickr

12th STREET AMUSEMENTS

The classic Saturn 6 ride is part of 12th Street Amusements. Photo © Jim McDonnell via smugmug

The Guerrero family’s 12th Street Amusements has 5 adult rides including the Polar Express, Bumper Cars, Saturn 6, Ghost Hole and Virtual Reality. The Saturn 6 is a classic flat ride. “Right now, I believe the only one in existence is at Coney Island,” writes one ride fan on the CoasterBuzz forum. “Some people think the newer Dartron Hurricane’s are the same thing but the Saturn 6 cars are fastened directly to the arm in a manner so as they do not pivot when they are raised. This is one of those rides you can hear from way down the midway. The loud pop of compressed air being released as the arms raise up & down.”

ELDORADO BUMPER CARS

Eldorado

Eldorado Bumper Cars on Surf Avenue. Photo © Jim McDonnell via smugmug

Coney Island’s disco palace of bumper cars, the Eldorado Skooters, is a family owned business at Surf Ave between Stillwell and 12th St.

As we say in the amusement biz, it’s the front of the show that gets the dough! The front of Coney Island’s Eldorado is famed for its lights and signage. On flickr you’ll find dozens of pix of the dazzling theater-style “Eldorado Auto Skooter” marquee and the sassy “BUMP YOUR ASS OFF!” signs by Dreamland Artist Club founder Steve Powers.

The Eldorado was hand built by the Buxbaum and Fitlin families and a carpenter named Rafael, according to Scott Fitlin. It opened on March 21st 1973 and the first record played was “Cisco Kid-War.” The bumper cars are old school Italian-made Soli cars. Stop by the Eldorado this summer to hear the legendary sound system and “Turn that Wheel!”

MCCULLOUGH’S KIDDIE PARK

McCullough's

More Rides at McCullough's Kiddie Park, Coney Island. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

McCullough’s is a family owned park with 12 10 kiddie rides on the Bowery at 12th Street. The rides are the Bumblebeez, Ferris Wheel, Carousel, Swings, Motorcycles, Yellow Submarine, Dizzy Dragons, Himalaya, Ladybug, Frog Hopper, Circus Train and Tug Boat.

According to his interview in the Coney Island History Project’s Oral History Archive, “Jimmy McCullough learned the carousel business from his father, James McCullough, who began his career working on the Steeplechase and Stubbman carousels. Working in Coney Island is a family business going back generations for Jimmy who is a descendent of both the Tilyou and the Stubbman families.”

Bumblebeez

Bumblebeez at McCullough's Kiddie Park, Coney Island. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

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May 29, 2012: Photo Album: Coney Island Lights & Signs of the Times

May 22, 2012: Photo Album: Welcome Back, Paul’s Daughter & Ruby’s Bar!

November 15, 2011: Coney Island 2012: What’s New on the Boardwalk

May 21, 2009: Astroland Closed But Your Kid Can Still Ride the USS Astroland This Summer!

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Boardwalk Acrobat. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Boardwalk Acrobat. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

UPDATE: This is a post from October 2010! Please see report from September 13, 2013: “Coney Island Always: Visiting the Big CI Year-Round” here.

Labor Day weekend was the official close of the beach season, but we’re thrilled to inform you Coney Island is open year round. You can walk on your hands or feet along the Boardwalk from Seagate to Brighton. You can dance, run, bicycle, people-watch and snap photos any old time of the year. Don’t miss Coney Island’s much-photographed New York City landmarks. The Parachute Jump (aka Brooklyn’s Eiffel Tower), the Wonder Wheel, the Cyclone and the terra cotta palace on the Boardwalk at 21st Street that was Childs Restaurant are always ready for their close-ups.

If you’re visiting from afar and wonder if Coney Island is worth the trip during the “off season,” here’s our short list of things to do…

Spookarama, Classic Dark Ride at Deno's Wonder Wheel PArk, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Spookarama, Classic Dark Ride at Deno's Wonder Wheel Park, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Rides & Attractions: Coney Island is not a single operator park like Six Flags; it’s an historic Brooklyn neighborhood with 59 individually-operated rides and diverse attractions. The 83-year-old Cyclone and 90-year-old Wonder Wheel recently closed for yearly maintenance, but the majority of Coney’s rides are expected to remain open weekends through mid to late October 2010. Weather permitting, of course. Schedules vary at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, Luna Park, McCullough’s Kiddie Park, 12th Street Amusements and Eldorado Bumper Cars. We recommend checking the Coney Island Fun Guide attraction listing or phoning ahead if the weather is iffy.

If you’re visiting in November, December etc., keep in mind New York City is not located in the same latitude as Orlando, Florida–Coney Island’s rides are not open year round. The traditional opening day of the season is Palm Sunday, which will be April 17, 2011.

Coney Island USA’s Creep Show at the Freak Show and Luna Park’s Nights of Horror featuring a haunted maze and 12 amusement rides will be open evenings from October 15 through Halloween 2010.

Banner for Luna Park Presents Nights of Horror...Here to Haunt You, October 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Banner for Luna Park Presents Nights of Horror...Here to Haunt You, October 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

On the Boardwalk, Cha Cha’s is open through Halloween and Ruby’s will have their annual grill out party on October 23rd and closing party on Oct 31. On Friday, Oct 15th at 7 pm, Robert “Bluesman” Ross and Blues Manian will kick off Cha Cha’s weekend tribute to J.T., the club’s late manager. The Rockinghams play at 5 pm and Bluesball at 8 pm on Saturday, October 16th and an all-day Jam session on Sunday will start at 2:30. Visit Cha Cha’s website for details.

Most of the Boardwalk businesses– Paul’s Daughter, Gyro Corner, Lola Star Boutique, Shoot the Freak and the Grill House, among others–remain open through Halloween. If you have a sentimental favorite, be sure to pay a visit. Some of the Boardwalk businesses won’t be returning in 2011, but we won’t know who’s in and who’s out until new landlord Zamperla makes the announcement on October 31.

On any day of the week, you can visit the New York Aquarium’s Alien Stingers exhibit and have lunch at Nathan’s Famous or another neighborhood eatery. ATZ recommends Gargiulo’s, Totonno’s, Footprints and Coney Island Soup Shop, all of which are open year round.

The Coney Island History Project’s free audio/video walking tour of the amusement area makes Coney Island’s past and present accessible to visitors 365 days a year. Before you leave home, download it to your iPod or listen to it live on your iPhone.

Robert Wilson Mural Detail in Stillwell Terminal, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Robert Wilson Mural Detail in Stillwell Terminal, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Snap pix of the Robert Wilson murals in Stillwell Station, the Os Gemeos mural just outside the statio and the Dreamland Artists Club signage on Bowery and Jones Walk. At the Coney Island Library, a five-minute walk from Stillwell Terminal, artist Takeshi Yamada’s Museum of World Wonders: Cabinet of Curiosities is on permanent exhibition.

Marie Roberts’ sideshow banners adorn Coney Island USA’s Building on Surf Ave and 12th Street. The Coney Island Museum is open weekends year round. Admission is 99 cents.

Williams Candy in Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Williams Candy in Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

On Surf Ave next to Nathan’s outdoor dining area, you’ll find Williams Candy. The tiny shop is filled with scrumptious candy treats and is open year round. Hours are 9 am till 7 pm during the off season. Williams also has a delicious looking website where you can order marshmallow sticks and other candy treats online.

The Coney Island Beach Shop on Stillwell behind Nathan’s, offers a large selection of Coney-themed hoodies, T- shirts, blankets and other souvenirs. Open 7 days a week, 10:30 am till around 6 pm during the off season.

Psychedelic hoodie at Coney Island Beach Shop. Open year round! Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Psychedelic hoodie at Coney Island Beach Shop. Open year round! Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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Related posts on ATZ…

September 17, 2010: On Coney Island Boardwalk, Ruby’s & Cha Cha’s Rock This Fall

August 18 2010: Luna Park NYC Halloween Gig for Famed Haunted House Creator

November 7, 2009: Thru Dec 31 at Coney Island Library: Artist Takeshi Yamada’s Cabinet of Curiosities

October 30 2009: Nov 1: Coney Island Polar Bear Club’s First Swim of the Season!

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