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Posts Tagged ‘Alberto Zamperla’

Alberto Zamperla

Alberto Zamperla at Opening of Luna Park Coney Island. May 28, 2010. Photo © Bruce Handy. All Rights Reserved

The July issue of Italian Wired has a feature story on Alberto Zamperla, president and CEO of Antonio Zamperla S.p.A and founder of Coney Island’s Luna Park. “Megagiostre: l’arte di trasformare adrenalina in soldi è italiana.” Translation: “Mega Rides: The art of turning adrenaline into money is Italian.” Two grafs in the article caught our eye. Since the conversation is in Italian, we translated the quotes with the help of Google, Bing and a dictionary. If any of our readers have corrections, let us know.

When reporter Riccardo Meggiato asked Zamperla what his company is secretly working on, he replied: “We plan an interactive water attraction, which will be built in Coney Island in a few days before being sold throughout the world. It’s called Watermania and consists of a madcap monorail in which the occupants can also shoot the water cannons against those who are there to watch.”

It’s not clear if Watermania was planned for this season at the time of the interview, which may have been done months ago. We’d be very surprised to see the ride this summer. Where will it go? With very little space for new rides, the ride will probably replace one of the other rides in Luna Park.

Zamperla also tells Wired that his company is developing a super coaster inspired by the sci-fi Western “Cowboys & Aliens.” In the 2011 movie, a spaceship arrives in the Arizona Territory, where a posse of cowboys and townsfolk do battle with the aliens. The description of the coaster, featuring a dark tunnel where interactive movies are projected and riders blast away at adversaries calls to mind Universal’s Men in Black or Disney’s Buzz Lightyear Ride.

Neither Coney Island nor a time frame for the coaster’s completion are mentioned in regard to the super coaster, but Zamperla’s intention is to have the latest rides that they develop in the park. The Air Race, a prototype designed by Mega Disk’O creator Gianbattista Zambelli made its world debut in Luna Park Coney Island in 2010.

Thanks to Coney Island photographer Bruce Handy for his portrait of Alberto Zamperla at Luna Park.

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Parksmania, the premier Italian news portal for amusement and theme parks, interviewed Alberto Zamperla about Luna Park Coney Island at the Euro Attractions Show in Rome on October 6-8, 2010. Since the conversation is in Italian, ATZ asked a friend to translate Zamperla’s remarks.

Parksmania’s YouTube video also has footage of Luna Park’s rides in action and a “virtual tour” of the park. At the beginning of the vid, you’ll catch a glimpse of Zamperla’s rendering of the future Luna Restaurant’s hot pink facade and blue awnings.

As ATZ reported earlier this month, the $1.4 million dollar restaurant is currently under construction at Surf Avenue and 10th Street and will be operated by corporate giant Sodexo, which will also run some of the food concessions on the Boardwalk. Luna Park Coney Island, which has 18 Zamperla rides plus a Reverchon water flume, opened on Memorial Day Weekend 2010.

Here’s a translation of what Alberto Zamperla, president and CEO of Antonio Zamperla S.p.A, had to say in the interview with Parksmania…

It’s always been my dream to create a whole amusement park with only Zamperla-attractions. To do this in New York, where the great amusement park of Coney Island opened over 100 years ago, and to become part of this magnificent history, is among the best experiences I had in my life.

We have opened 19 new attractions, we employed 210 persons, we received 200 inspections from the Building Department. This shows the logistic excellence of Zamperla, which even Bloomberg recognized. He himself couldn’t believe that we were able to realize all this in only 100 days. We showed an incredible organizing ability.

We have had 400.000 visitors, 25% more than expected. We opened the park the very day we completed the construction works.

We conquered the trust of the NYC Municipality, so much that in the coming years we’ll expand the park. Next year we’ll create a “thrill zone” with “adrenalinic” rides for the youngsters, including a roller coaster.

The trust was so great that they entrusted us with the refurbishment of the whole boardwalk, so that we will also take over the management of the gastronomic activities.

ATZ thanks Alessandro Busà, the editor of Urban Reinventors, for translating the audio. His paper Rezoning Coney Island (pdf) can be downloaded via the website of Hunter College Dept of Urban Affairs & Planning.
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Luna Park at Night. Coney Island History Project Collection

Luna Park at Night. © Coney Island History Project Collection

In a Jan 23 interview with his hometown newspaper, Zamperla President and CEO Alberto Zamperla revealed the previously undisclosed name and numbers of his soon-to-be built amusement park in Coney Island. “The park will be called, Luna Park, like the first, the only, the inimitable one, the one created by Frederic Thompson and Elmer ‘Skip’ Dundy,” according to an article in the Italian newspaper Il Giornale di Vicenza.

The original Luna Park (1903-1946), one of Coney Island’s four historic amusement parks, inspired Luna Parks throughout the country and round the world. In many countries, including Italy, “Luna Park” is a generic term for amusement park. The article mentions bringing a smile back to the lips of Manhattan director Woody Allen and millions of Americans who return to play in the real and only Luna Park.

Luna Park Entrance, 1930s. © Coney Island History Project Collection

Now for the numbers: “For the first season we have estimated the presence of 400 thousand visitors and we are confident it will grow in the future,” Zamperla told the paper. “In terms of investment, we are talking about $24 million over three years. For us it is a great satisfaction as well as a great opportunity.”

The CEO said he was flying to New York the next day and characterized the next few months as “a race against time.” The amusement operator has only six weeks from the site turnover date of April 15 until the park’s opening on Memorial Day weekend to produce the new rides and assemble the new park.

Last week NY1 leaked the news that the City had selected Zamperla USA to be the new amusement park operator for Coney Island. The news is absolutely thrilling, though not at all surprising, to those of us who work in Coney. Zamperla was considered the front runner because they operate Victorian Gardens for the City and the CEO of Zamperla USA joined the CIDC’s Amusement Advisory Board in March 2009. We look forward to the official press conference where Zamperla unveils their designs and ride line-up for the future Luna Park. An announcement is expected as early as this week. But we can’t wait any longer to say Congratulazioni a Zamperla! Welcome to Coney Island!

1934: Souvenir de Luna-Park, France. Found Photo © lovedaylemon via flickr

1934: Souvenir de Luna-Park, France. Found Photo © lovedaylemon via flickr

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