Posts Tagged ‘amusement park’

On Thursday, September 30, CUNY Graduate Center and Save Coney Island are co-hosting “Heritage, Rides, Redevelopment: What’s Next for Coney Island?,” a discussion moderated by Pulitzer prize winning historian Mike Wallace. This is one panel discussion we’re actually looking forward to because the panelists are not academic talk, no-action kind of guys. They’re in it to win it, as we say on the midway.

Speakers include Valerio Ferrari, president and CEO of Zamperla USA and Central Amusement International (CAI), operator of Coney Island’s fabulously successful new Luna Park; David Malmuth, former Disney vice-president, developer of Times Square’s New Amsterdam Theatre, and chief presenter of the Municipal Art Society’s “Imagine Coney”; and Michael Immerso, historian and author of “Coney Island: the People’s Playground” and a recent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal on the benefits of preserving Surf Avenue’s historic buildings.

Bank of Coney

Save Coney Island released this architectural rendering of how a restored Bank Of Coney Building might look as The Banker's Ballroom

Admission is free to the September 30th event, which is being held at CUNY Graduate Center in Manhattan, but it’s advisable to make a reservation online. The invite reads: “What lies ahead for Coney Island? Join us for a panel discussion on the latest developments in Coney Island and on how Coney’s past can shape its future.”

We’re eager to hear what Valerio Ferrari has to say about his company’s plans for next season and beyond. Zamperla/CAI has a ten-year lease to operate amusements on the 6.9 acres the City bought for $95.6 million from Thor Equities. As we pointed out in our article for IAAPA Funworld, the new Luna Park is a partnership with the City of New York, which receives $100,000 annual rent plus an undisclosed percentage of the gross. This arrangement represents a successful new model for government-owned amusement parks, which are a rarity.

Yesterday, the Mayor’s Office released figures that more than 400,000 visitors took 1.7 million rides during Luna Park’s inaugural season, prompting the City and the park to extend the season through Halloween. We’re thrilled that Scream Zone, set to open next spring at the Boardwalk and Stillwell, will bring in more new rides, including two Zamperla coasters and a SlingShot as well as Go Karts, which have been missed in Coney since Thor evicted them.

Scream Zone

Zamperla/CAI's Scream Zone with 4 new rides will debut in 2011 at the City's Stillwell & Boardwalk property. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

It will be interesting to see where David Malmuth takes up the discussion. His plan for Coney Island’s amusement area at MAS’s Imagine Coney event in 2008 was a huge hit with fellow amusement advocates. Though we lost the battle with the City to expand the acreage rezoned for outdoor amusements, Malmuth is still the guy who dazzled us with statistics: “Park sizing analysis suggests that Coney Island will require a minimum of 25 acres to support 3.4 million visitors, ” he said. “It can’t be done in 9 acres. No possible way you can create the variety, and the diversity and joy and excitement with only 9 acres. Minimally you need 25 acres to support that level of attendance.” Malmuth’s stats and charts of park attendance can be found in this pdf available on MAS’s website.

At CUNY, Malmuth and historian Michael Immerso are expected to make a compelling economic case for preserving and reusing Coney Island’s historic buildings. Unfortunately the City has already issued demolition permits to Thor Equities for two of the buildings, the Bank of Coney Island and the Shore Hotel. The heartbreaker is that the permits were issued by the City’s Department of Buildings one day after the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) declared that Coney Island meets the criteria for recognition as a historic district in the State and National Registers of Historic Places. That’s why we’re singin’ “It’s Gonna Take A Miracle.”

But as Save Coney Island notes on their website: “It is a miracle that any of these buildings survived the fires, land speculation, and urban renewal plans that decimated Coney Island over the years. It would be a shame to lose these rare survivors, just when their rehabilitation could provide a necessary boost to Coney’s revival.”

Bank of Coney Island

Bank of Coney Island Building, Coney Island. August 2010. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

“What’s Next for Coney Island?” is sponsored by the Environmental Psychology Program at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, the NYC Graduate Urban Research Network, the New York Landmarks Conservancy, Save Coney Island, the Historic Districts Council, Coney Island USA and the Coney Island History Project.

“Heritage, Rides, Redevelopment: What’s Next for Coney Island?”
CUNY Graduate Center, Proshansky Auditorium, 365 5th Ave at 35th St,
Thursday, September 30, 6:30 – 8:30 pm, free event, online registration.


Related posts on ATZ…

May 29, 2010: Photo Album: Preview of Coney Island’s New Luna Park

April 21, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: Tattered Tents, Deathwatch for Historic Buildings

March 3, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: What Stillwell Looked Like Before Joe Sitt

October 9, 2009: A Rare Peek Inside Endangered Old Bank of Coney Island

Read Full Post »

Whale Vibrations

Whale Vibrations. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

The title of Coney Island photographer Bruce Handy/pablo 57‘s knockout photo of this popular kiddie ride at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park is “Whale Vibrations.” Commenters on his flickr photostream liked the composition and the splash of color against a clear blue sky. It’s one of our favorites, too!

The ride’s official name is Willie the Whale and its manufacturer is Zamperla, whose Luna Park with 19 rides is set to open next door to Deno’s on Memorial Day Weekend. Willie the Whale is one of three Zamperla rides currently operating in Coney Island’s amusement area. Can anyone guess the names and locations of the other two? We’ll post photos of those rides as soon as we receive the correct answers.

Coney Island’s 40 rides including the Wonder Wheel and the Cyclone roller coaster opened for the 2010 season on Palm Sunday. This weekend is sunny with temps in the mid-70s. Willie the Whale says come out and ride!

Related posts on ATZ…

April 30, 2010: Can You Identify This Mystery Object at Coney Island’s Luna Park?

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

March 29, 2010: Photo of the Day: First Ride of the Season on Coney Island’s Cyclone!

March 12, 2010: Photo of the Day: Williams Candy in Coney Island


Read Full Post »

Wild River Aerial View. Photo © Godzilla40 via flickr

Fun Forest Park 2007: Wild River Aerial View. Photo © Godzilla40 via flickr

Do you miss Neptune’s Water Flume, which was dismantled when Astroland closed in 2008? The log flume was one of our faves too and we treasure the fading souvenir photo from our last ride. The good news is a Reverchon flume will be among the 19 rides at Coney Island’s new Luna Park this summer. The ride was purchased from Seattle’s Fun Forest Park and will be the only used ride in the park according to a poster on the ultimaterollercoaster forum.

Wild River Close-Up. Photo © Godzilla40 via flickr

Wild River Close-Up. Photo © Godzilla40 via flickr

The photos above and below show the flume in Fun Forest Park with the Experience Music Project building in the background. Fun Forest was created at the base of Seattle’s Space Needle after the 1962 World’s Fair, but the park’s operators lost their lease on the city-owned property and will close after Labor Day 2010. The park’s biggest rides have already been dismantled and sold.

Roller Coasters of the Pacific Northwest reports that the Windstorm roller coaster was sold to Steve Vandervorste (an independent ride operator based in Texas); the log flume to Zamperla; the Orbiter, Jet Spin and Himalaya to Butler Amusements; the Galleon to Oscar’s Amusements of Pennsylvania; and the Century Wheel to Helm and Sons of California.

As we wrote in an article about Astroland for IAAPA Funworld in 2004, Neptune’s Water Flume was one of Astroland’s most popular rides. Mark Blumenthal, the park’s operations manager said, “It was one of the early flumes made by Arrow Development in the early 1960s, right after the New York World’s Fair, and it was built specifically for this park.”

We’re thrilled that Fun Forest’s Wild River has found a new home in Coney Island. Seattleites visiting New York City this summer are especially welcome to come to the new Luna Park and cool off on their flume!

Wild River flume ride at Fun Forest Amusement Park. Photo © M.V. Jantzen via flickr

Wild River flume ride at Fun Forest Amusement Park. Photo © M.V. Jantzen via flickr

Wild River by M.V.Jantzen, using a Creative Commons License


Related posts on ATZ…

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

March 29, 2010: Photo of the Day: First Ride of the Season on Coney Island’s Cyclone!

March 14, 2010: Eldorado Auto Skooter: Coney Island’s Disco Palace of Bumper Cars

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: