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Posts Tagged ‘Central Amusement International’

rubys

Ruby's Bar's rendering for their new store on the Boardwalk. Photo via AmusingtheZillion.com

The rides, games and fun food at Coney Island’s Boardwalk amusement parks–Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, Luna Park and Scream Zone– will of course be back in 2012. There will also be new–and possibly a few old made new–restaurants, shops and amusements. At Friday’s AIA panel on “Planning the Future of Coney Island’s Amusement District,” an audience of architects and Coney Island regulars got a sneak peek at what the Boardwalk might look like in 2012 and beyond.

Luna Park’s plans for Go Karts and a Sky Coaster on Stillwell Avenue West were unveiled along with the Boardwalk businesses renderings for new stores in 2012. We can also look forward to the B & B Carousell, set to spin in the new Steeplechase Plaza in 2013, and the New York Aquarium’s Ocean Wonders shark exhibit, expected to open in 2015.

“The skyline is growing in Coney Island and we’re very excited to see what happens next,” said Nate Bliss, president of the Coney Island Development Corporation. The panel discussion about new architectural projects was hosted by AIA NY’s Architectural Tourism Committee.

speed zone

Speed Zone will be on Parcel C, on the west side of Stillwell Ave at the Boardwalk. Photo via AmusingtheZillion.com

Valerio Ferrari, president of Zamperla USA and their park division, Central Amusement International (CAI), which runs Luna Park, showed the Boardwalk businesses’ renderings for their new stores. Among the businesses are Boardwalk favorites Ruby’s Bar and Paul’s Daughter, whose return is not yet 100 per cent certain because they are still in lease negotiations with CAI. (Update: December 9, 2011…Ruby’s, Paul’s Daughter and Lola Star have signed 8-year leases!) Ferrari also showed his company’s plans for “Parcel C,” the third City-owned parcel that is part of the amusement operator’s 10-year lease. Speed Zone, as it called in the rendering presented by Zamperla, will be across the avenue from Scream Zone. (Update: Zamperla has since shelved the idea of creating a separate park called “Speed Zone.” The two new rides will instead operate as part of Scream Zone.)

A Sky Coaster is a high thrill ride combining elements of skydiving and hang-gliding in which riders are winched to the top of a 100 to 300 foot tall launch tower and then swing through the sky as they drop towards the ground. Each “flight” lasts about five minutes. Manufactured by SkyCoaster Inc., the ride is a popular attraction at over 75 parks around the world. Here’s their official video.

As ATZ reported last month, CAI filed plans to bring Go Karts and a water ride to Stillwell Avenue West. Go Karts were a popular attraction in Coney Island until Thor Equities bought the property leased by Batting Range and Go Kart City in 2006 and evicted them. Though the water ride was not mentioned at Friday’s presentation, we previously reported the Coney Island Rumor Mill is saying the Reverchon flume will be moved from Luna Park to free up space for new rides in the park. (Update: The water ride will stay put in Luna Park this season.)

According to CAI’s contract with the City, the amusement operator is required to do an annual review of each of their rides for popularity and present the City with an updated ride selection and layout for the coming season by December 31st. “This will assist Tenant in keeping the leased Premises innovative and fresh,” the contract says. CAI’s original plan for Parcel C in the contract was for two Go Kart tracks, so the current plan is a more diverse mix of amusements.

beach shop

Beach Shop's rendering for their new store on the Boardwalk. The location is the former Coney Island Souvenir Shop. Photo via AmusingtheZillion.com

Coney Island Beach Shop, which sells T-shirts, beach gear and souvenirs year-round at their original location on Stillwell Avenue behind Nathan’s, opened a new shop in Stillwell Terminal this summer. In 2012, the Haddad family, Haim and his daughter Maya, is expected to open their third location on the Boardwalk. Called Brooklyn Beach Shop, the store will occupy the former Coney Island Souvenir Shop. It’s a prime location situated between the entrance to Scream Zone and Ruby’s Bar. All of the stores on the Boardwalk were required to design elaborate lighted signage. The rendering for Beach Shop’s dazzling marquee shows a Steeplechase Funny Face and a classic bare bulb sign spelling out their name.

nathans

Nathan's rendering for their new store on the Boardwalk. The location is the former Gyro Corner Clam Bar at W 12th St. Photo via AmusingtheZillion.com

Nathan’s Famous will open a huge new restaurant at the corner of West 12th on the Boardwalk at Gyro Corner Clam Bar’s former location. Their satellite restaurant at the corner of Stillwell on the Boardwalk will close. As ATZ reported earlier this month, Randazzo’s Clam Bar of Sheepshead Bay is eyeing Cha Cha’s location. The Randazzo family-owned and operated restaurant began in 1908 and is a perennial “Best” among New York City seafood restaurants. Nathan’s began as a nickel hot dog stand in Coney Island in 1916 and is of course named after Nathan Handwerker, who co-founded the restaurant with his wife Ida.

UPDATE December 12, 2011Tom’s Restaurant, a popular family-owned Prospect Heights eatery founded in 1936, edged out Randazzo’s for the space formerly occupied by Cha Cha’s and Nathan’s. Tom’s of Coney Island expects to open in April 2012 this summer.

Lola Star Boutique: Design for Lighted Sign. Photo courtesy Lola Star

Lola Star Boutique is expected to stay in its skinny and chic little shop on the Boardwalk. That’s good news because Lola Star owner Dianna Carlin got evicted twice by Joe Sitt and was able to return to her original Boardwalk location only after the City bought the property and offered her the space. Carlin is an entrepreneurial spirit whose successful projects include the Dreamland Roller Rink, a shop in Stillwell Terminal and a pop-up shop in SoHo. We missed getting a good photo of her rendering at the AIA, so we asked Lola to send us a jpeg of the lighted sign for the shop. “The new version is even MORE spectacular!,” says Carlin. “It’s a Lola Star pinup on Rollerskates rotating on a gigantic disco ball.”

The rendering for Paul’s Daughter, a Boardwalk icon founded in 1962 as Gregory & Paul’s, shows the spruced up Burger statues on the roof and what appears to be new hand-painted signage along the bottom. Like Ruby’s, Paul’s Daughter is still in lease negotiations with Zamperla. The restaurant is the subject of Sunday’s post “The End of Paul’s Daughter As We Know It–Will They Return?” (ATZ, November 12, 2011).

UPDATE December 9, 2011…We’re thrilled to report that this afternoon, Tina Georgoulakos of Paul’s Daughter signed an 8-year lease for her family’s restaurant on the Coney Island Boardwalk! “Paul’s Daughter Signs 8-Year Lease for Coney Island Boardwalk” ATZ, December 9, 2011. All of the above-mentioned stores, including locally-owned businesses Ruby’s Bar and Lola Star Boutique, have now signed leases for their Boardwalk locations. Happily, the Coney Island Boardwalk will not be gentrified and corporatized after all!

pauls

Architectural rendering for the new Paul's Daughter shown at November 11 Coney Island Panel at AIA. Photo via Amusing the Zillion

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

March 14, 2012: Coney Entrepreneurs to Open 1st Ever Nathan’s Gift Shop

March 9, 2012: The 10 People Who Will Decide the Fate of Coney Island Boardwalk

October 20, 2011: Reversal of Fortune on the Coney Island Boardwalk

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Sodexo This Way

Sodexo This Way: Sign directing trainees to Sodexo restaurant in Luna Park, Coney Island. April 12, 2011. Photo © Mr Jones via Amusing the Zillion

Bringing in Miami Beach restaurateurs and French food services giant Sodexo to operate in Coney Island has turned out to be a fiasco for Luna Park developer Central Amusement International. We’re just glad some of the people in charge realized Coney Island is neither Miami Beach nor a corporate cafeteria before we lost all of our original, irreplaceable businesses and ended up with a shuttered Boardwalk.

After kicking out nine Coney Island Mom and Pops from City-owned property to make way for upscale eateries, the park division of Italian ride manufacturer Zamperla is now reported to be offering multi-year leases to at least two local favorites — Paul’s Daughter and Ruby’s Bar. The veteran businesses were supposed to pack up and get out by November 4th. Let’s hope they can negotiate a lease without too many onerous clauses and more of them get the invite. And if a spot becomes available, please, please bring in people who know and represent Coney Island and Brooklyn, New York.

Easter Brunch at Paul's Daughter on the Boardwalk. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Easter Brunch at Paul's Daughter on the Boardwalk. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

One of the reasons for Zamperla’s about-face is that the Miami Beach restaurateurs who opened Coney Cones in July are pulling out of a $5 million deal that would have put new eateries on the Boardwalk from West 12th Street to Stillwell. According to yesterday’s New York Post story by Rich Calder, Coney Cones co-owner Michele Merlo said business at his new store had been “very disappointing” because of the bad weather and told other Boardwalk vendors “they can’t make money off Zamperla’s existing lease offer.”

Sources tell ATZ that Merlo and his partner Julio Gonzalez have offered to sell Coney Cones, which was a $200,000 investment for them and pays an annual rent of $75,000, to a veteran operator in Coney Island. The ice cream shop is located at the Boardwalk entrance to Luna Park and serves gelato, salads, panini, and Kobrick’s coffee. Currently open every day from 11am till around 7pm, it will close for the season at the end of the month.

Unmentioned in yesterday’s flurry of news reports was another newcomer to Coney Island also pulling back from the original plan. Sodexo, which has food and drink kiosks in Luna Park and operates the new Cyclone Cafe on Surf Avenue, was slated to take over Paul’s Daughter. Last December, Sodexo rep Sandy Boyd showed up at the 40-year-old Boardwalk establishment to pick up plans from the City’s architectural firm. As ATZ reported in “Paul’s Daughter Dishes on the Boardwalk Brawl” (ATZ, January 13, 2011), when one of the architects asked Boyd if Sodexo was going to be a year-round restaurant, she replied “oh no, it will be seasonal, there aren’t enough people here off season.” This was a remarkable admission since part of Zamperla’s rationale for bringing in new businesses to replace the veterans was that the Boardwalk eateries would be open year-round.

Healthy Dining

On the menu at Sodexo's Cyclone Cafe: Healthy Dining at Luna Park. Photo © Mr Jones via Amusing the Zillion

Sodexo, the world’s 21st largest corporation, has kept a low profile in Coney Island. The only sign we’ve seen with their name is the piece of paper at the top of this post. It was put up to direct trainees to their restaurant in the spring. ATZ broke the news last year that Sodexo has an exclusive contract with CAI to provide food within the parks and was investing $2.4M in Zamperla’s Coney Island. At the time Luna Park CEO Valerio Ferrari told ATZ that $1.4 million was being invested in the new sit-down restaurant. He said it would be open year-round and feature waiter service and a variety of food. As for the Boardwalk, Sodexo-run restaurants were set to take over “some but not all” of the Boardwalk locations, Ferrari said, including Paul’s Daughter and Pio Pio Riko, which flanked the Boardwalk entrance to Luna Park. Things changed.

Sodexo’s Cyclone Cafe opened this season on Surf Avenue at West 10th Street with a menu of burgers, salads, sushi and brick oven pizza, but it is neither a sit-down restaurant nor a year-round venue. It has been closed on sunny weekdays in recent weeks while the Boardwalk Mom and Pops were open. During Halloween Horror Nights at Luna Park, the cafe is open only to patrons of the ticketed event inside the park. While its Surf Avenue lights blaze, its shutters are closed to the public. When the spot was Gregory and Paul’s, the picnic tables on the sidewalk were one of our favorite spots to sit and have a bite to eat while friends rode the Cyclone.

shuttered on Surf

Shuttered on Surf Avenue: Sodexo's Cyclone Cafe. Photo © Mr Jones via Amusing the Zillion

We’re happy to have officially suspended the Photo of the Day in ATZ’s “Countdown to Corporatization.” The sad goodbye to our Boardwalk friends began with “The Chief of the Coney Island Boardwalk” on October 8th. Rumors of another reprieve had been flying for a few days, which is why we stopped the series on Saturday.

One note of caution: The owners of Ruby’s Bar and Paul’s Daughter have not yet negotiated lease deals with Luna Park operator Central Amusement International, which holds a 10-year lease on the City-owned property. The specter of a dark Boardwalk puts the pressure on everyone for the deal to get done. But the Coney Island Rumor Mill has been abuzz about onerous terms in the leases that CAI has offered to the handful of operators who were previously invited to stay as well as to the Miami restaurateurs. The businesses are also expected to foot the bill for the rehab of the buildings as well as pay a higher rent and stay open year round.

Luna BBQ

Sodexo's Luna BBQ, Luna Park Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

One of the problems with a mandated year-round Coney season and hours is that unlike Luna Park, the restaurants are not subsidized businesses. Each of the Boardwalk Mom and Pops has been paying $100,000 per year rent, plus a $10,000 surcharge initiated this year to help keep the Boardwalk restrooms open later and for sanitation and fireworks. Believe it or not, $100,000 is also the base rent that CAI/Zamperla USA pays annually to the City. In addition, they also pay a small percentage of the gross receipts. For example, ten percent of gross receipts over $7 million. According to the NYC Economic Development Corporation’s lease with CAI (which ATZ obtained last year through the Freedom of Information Act), the City will receive 15% of the fixed rent paid by any subtenant. Zamperla gets to keep the other 85%. We think they have a pretty sweet deal with the City and should pass the sugar.

However, CAI/Zamperla USA has also invested nearly $30 million in building and operating Luna Park and Scream Zone. According to CAI’s contract with the City, Luna Park also received a subsidy of $5.7 million from the City for “among other things, facilitating the purchase of certain equipment necessary for the Tenant to operate the Premises as a first class amusement park.” CAI’s Luna Park and Scream Zone as well as the property occupied by the Boardwalk businesses are on City-owned land in Coney Island purchased from Thor Equities for $95.7 million in 2009 and leased to the amusement operator for a ten-year period that began in 2010.

Ruby's

Ruby's Bar, Coney Island. November 6, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

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December 9, 2011: Paul’s Daughter Signs 8-Year Lease for Coney Island Boardwalk

March 3, 2011: The Lowdown on Sodexo’s Sweet Deal in Coney Island

November 1, 2010: Out With the Old in Coney Island: Only 2 of 11 Boardwalk Businesses Invited Back

January 26, 2010: Scoop: Zamperla’s $24M Coney Island Park to be Named Luna Park!

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vidbel

Since Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus bowed out of Coney Island after two seasons, ATZ has been hearing that efforts were underway to bring another circus to Coney this summer. Names of a few circuses were mentioned, but didn’t pan out. This morning, the following press release from Robert W Connor Marketing landed in our inbox. Though we don’t usually post press releases, this is very good news for Coney Island’s amusement area and we’re happy to share it with our readers…

Bob Connor announced today that he has booked the Vidbel Circus into Coney Island this summer from July 4 thru Labor Day. This will be the first summer of a multi year deal. So the people of New York City will have a circus at Coney Island this summer and many years to come. The circus will be centrally located in Coney Island–Connor says–“If you walk out the front door of the subway station at Coney Island–cross Surf Ave. heading straight for the boardwalk and the beach–Nathans will be on your right and just past that will be the circus. It is a perfect location.”

We’ll update this post as more details become available..

Update, June 3rd, 11:30 am…

The location mentioned in the booking agent’s press release, which is Thor-owned land currently occupied by the BK Festival, is incorrect. The circus is actually coming to City-owned Parcel C, the empty lot across from the Scream Zone (Parcel B). It is also not a multi-year deal, as claimed in the release. ATZ has confirmed with Valerio Ferrari, CEO of Zamperla’s Central Amusement International, the operators of Luna Park and Scream Zone, that they are bringing in the circus for a one-year deal. Also, Ferrari says the deal is not signed yet.

Update, July 10…

Photo Album: Vidbel Old Tyme Circus Opens in Coney Island
Shows are Tuesday through Fri, 6 & 8pm; Saturday, 4, 6 & 8pm; and Sun, 3 & 6pm. Tickets are available one hour before showtime and cost $10. At the show we attended, children 5 and under were admitted free of charge.

Update, July 17…

Catch the show this weekend! The circus will be here only through Sunday, July 17th and then will be hitting the road again. Discounted tickets are now available online
http://coneyisland.eventbrite.com/

Parcels A, B & C Are Up for Bid. Detail of the CIDC’s Map of the Coney Island Amusement Operator RFP Sites.  Credit: Coney Island Development Corporation

Credit: Coney Island Development Corporation

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June 21, 2011: Zamperla-Zoppe Riders Coming to Zamperla’s Coney Island

April 27, 2011: Coney Island 2011: Free Movie Screenings on the Beach

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

June 17, 2010: Coney Island Fireworks Show: Every Friday Plus 5 Saturdays

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Photographer and amusement park aficionado Jim McDonnell has uploaded two new videos of Scream Zone rides to his YouTube channel. Jim was the grand prize winner of last year’s Luna Park film contest and his videos feature an inspired pairing of edited images with music. Jim’s latest shows Zamperla’s Turbo Force, which has been christened the “Zenobio” in Coney Island. The 100-foot-tall thrill ride sweeps passengers through the air at speeds of over 60 mph.

As you can see in Jim’s vid, it’s also a thrill to stand and watch the Turbo Force in action. When I worked with Wade Shows, this spectacular was often set up near the entrance to the carnival midway. The first time that I happened to pass by the ride in action, I experienced the optical illusion that the whirling arm hurtling in my direction was coming directly at me. Pretty soon I was lingering by the fence to experience the vicarious thrill of this scream machine.

Jim’s short vid of the Steeplechase Cavalry coaster aka the Motocoaster is the first showing the ride in action in Coney Island. The Zamperla coaster pays homage to Steeplechase Park’s signature horse race ride that made a circuit around the park until it closed in 1964 (“Steeplechase Express: Will Zamperla MotoCoaster Pony Up for Coney Island?,” ATZ, February 15, 2010). It’s one of two new Zamperla coasters in Coney Island’s Scream Zone. When a video of the second –the Soarin’ Eagle aka Zamperla’s Volare– is available, we’ll post a link to it here.

This vid of the Sling Shot is one of several already uploaded to YouTube by Scream Zone visitors. We expect to see many more– the Sling Shot is as much of a show as a ride. On the vid’s soundtrack, you can hear the exclamations and screams of the crowd. In a few weeks, a video camera will be mounted on the capsule and patrons will be able to purchase a video recording of their ride complete with close-ups shots of their faces. This on-ride video of the Sling Shot is part of Luna Park’s Channel of Coney Island ride videos.

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

March 10, 2011: Video: Seasons of the Cyclone Roller Coaster by Charles Denson

October 4, 2010: Coney Island 2011: Zamperla Adding Steeplechase Cavalry Coaster to Scream Zone

August 28, 2010: Video: Grand Prize Winner of Luna Park Coney Island’s Film Contest!

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Sodexo Kiosk at Luna Park Coney Island. May 31, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Sodexo Kiosk at Luna Park Coney Island. May 31, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

While Coney Island’s veteran Mom & Pops hammer out a deal for one last summer on the Boardwalk, French food and facilities giant Sodexo has a sweet 10-year sublease with Luna Park operator Central Amusement International. A copy of the confidential sublease agreement between Sodexo and CAI was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request to the NYCEDC.

Sodexo’s contract with CAI is dated April 26, 2010 and says it had to be approved by the NYCEDC since the sublease is subordinate to the underlying lease between the City and the amusement operator. Here are some of the terms of Sodexo’s sublease:

–Last season, Sodexo paid Luna Park operator CAI a “flat rental fee” of $75,000 to operate food kiosks in the park. Sodexo keeps all cash receipts and pays all operating expenses. What was the City’s cut? According to the Economic Development Corporation’s (NYCEDC) lease with CAI, the City receives 15% of the fixed rent paid by any subtenant. If you do the math, 15% of $75,000 is a paltry $11,250. By comparison, last year the City received 100 per cent of the rent paid by the Boardwalk businesses, which was $100,000 each for Paul’s Daughter, Ruby’s and the other food concessions.

–Sodexo’s initial investment of $1.432 million is considered a “Reimbursable Initial Capital Investment” for the purchase of four kiosks, a concession trailer, beer and liquor license, and equipment necessary for remodeling and operating the restaurant under construction at Surf Avenue and 10th St. The Reimbursable Capital Investment will be owned and depreciated by the amusement operator.

-In 2011, Sodexo will pay CAI a flat rental fee of $225,000, which means the City’s 15% cut will be $33,750. Pocket change! Beginning in 2012, Sodexo will pay a fee based on the prior year’s net sales. For example, if the prior year net sales are $2.7 million, then Sodexo would pay a flat rental fee of $432,000, or 16% of the net sales.

–CAI gets to decide whether Sodexo will have the option of operating “Branded Concepts” in the park. According to the contract, the term refers to “food and beverage systems operated by Sodexo through national and regional third party license agreements or franchise agreements or through Sodexo’s own in-house trademarked brands.” As ATZ reported in January, Sodexo is known for its cafeterias and individually branded restaurants, but nationally branded subtenants are also brought in under franchising or licensing agreements for the appearance of variety. Branded Concepts frequently mentioned in Sodexo’s ads are Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Sub Connections and Panera Bread.

—Luna Park cannot require Sodexo to use products from “non-Sodexo approved vendors” and suppliers. As we reported previously, Sodexo has a completely centralized purchasing system, which requires clients to choose from a list of “Right Products.” Another term used internally by Sodexo is “Compliant.” Vendors who offer rebates are “compliant” while those that do not are “locked out,” according to investigative reporter Lucy Komisar in “Cafeteria Kickbacks: How food-service providers like Sodexo bilk millions from taxpayers and customers.” Last July, then-Attorney General Cuomo issued a press release announcing “a $20 million settlement with food services provider Sodexo for overcharging 21 New York school districts as well as the SUNY system.”

–Sodexo is an independent contractor and has its own employees. The lease contains more than a dozen clauses to insure compliance with non discrimination and affirmative action policies as well as City programs such as Minority and Women Business Owned Enterprises. According to NPR, Sodexo executives say they are trying to create a more diverse workplace after settling an $80 million class action discrimination lawsuit brought by African-American employees in 2006.

–After 3 years, either party is free to terminate the lease. If the agreement is terminated by Sodexo for convenience or by CAI for cause, at the end of the third year CAI would have to reimburse the remaining unamortized value of the Reimbursable Initial Capital Investment ($1.432 million) over a three year period, payable on a monthly basis, with interest accruing at the prime rate in the Wall Street Journal plus 2%.

CAI’s Luna Park and soon-to-open Scream Zone are on City-owned land in Coney Island purchased from Thor Equities for $95 million and leased to the amusement operator for ten years. As the Sodexo sublease makes clear, CAI has a pretty sweet deal too. Their base rent is $100,000 annually plus a small percentage of the gross receipts. For example, ten percent of gross receipts over $7 million.

However, Central Amusements is also investing nearly $30 million in building and operating the park. According to CAI’s contract with the City, Luna Park also received a subsidy of $5.7 million from the City for “among other things, facilitating the purchase of certain equipment necessary for the Tenant to operate the Premises as a first class amusement park.”

Sodexo, which is the 21st largest corporation in the world, has a market value of 7.7 billion euros ($10.59 billion). The French food and facilities management giant has been CAI’s partner for “On Site Service Solutions” since Luna Park opened last May, though the partnership was not announced by the City or CAI. Sodexo’s presence was known only within Coney Island until ATZ first reported the news in November after the Boardwalk businesses received eviction notices on November 1st, the day after the 2010 season ended.

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March 31, 2013: Surf’s Up for CAI Foods in Coney Island, Sodexo Is Out

October 20, 2011: Reversal of Fortune on the Coney Island Boardwalk

January 20, 2011: Sodexo Investing $2.4M in Zamperla’s Coney Island

January 13, 2011: Paul’s Daughter Dishes on the Boardwalk Brawl

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Under construction

Under Construction: Sodexo Restaurant on Surf at 10th St, Coney Island. December 23, 2010. Photo © Bruce Handy/Coney Island Photo Diary via flickr

The French multinational Sodexo is investing $2.4 million in Zamperla’s Coney Island and has an exclusive contract to manage the food and facilities for the City’s amusement operator, sources told ATZ.

Sodexo has been Zamperla’s partner for “On Site Service Solutions” since Luna Park opened last May, though the partnership was not announced by the City and was known only within Coney Island until ATZ first reported it in November.

This season, Sodexo will operate food and beverage kiosks in the new Scream Zone in addition to Luna Park. The corporation, which is the 22nd largest in the world, also plans to open up their own restaurants at Paul’s Daughter’s Boardwalk location and the former Gregory & Paul’s on Surf Avenue across from the Cyclone. As previously reported last month, the Surf Ave restaurant is currently under construction.

Luna Park

Rendering of Luna Park's Main Gate Shows Luna Park Cafe on the Left Side

ATZ obtained a copy of Zamperla/CAI’s proposal to the City which describes the Surf Avenue restaurant. The decor sounds a bit like Ruby’s and the Coney Island History Project: “The Luna Park Café pays tribute to the long history of Coney Island with memorabilia and tributes from local residents and visitors from around the world. This unique environment provides the backdrop for quick service prepared-to-order meals. The menu will be designed to provide a more balanced meal option for visitors looking for a complete meal and will be a venue where ‘healthier’ alternatives can be found. Potentially a year round venue, the Luna Park Café will also serve as the primary point of food service for all team members where an employee discount will be available.”

Sodexo Kiosk at Luna Park Coney Island. May 31, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Sodexo Kiosk at Luna Park Coney Island. May 31, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The proposal goes on to say that more extreme foods will be featured inside Scream Zone. “With thrill rides comes thrilling food and beverages which will use elements of spice, exotic-flavors, irregular sizes, and ‘u-decide’ the ingredient items where guests can challenge their imaginations. A kiosk-type portable network, as previously described, will be looked upon to enter this phase of the operation. A heavy emphasis will be placed on the design of each location to assimilate into easy accessibility from each attraction. This service plan provides the flexibility needed to keep Scream Zone evolving. A final count of locations has not been determined at this time but a similar strategy as used for Luna Park Phase I will be applied.”

Scream Zone

Banner for future Scream Zone. May 28, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

In regard to the Boardwalk concessions in 2011, Zamperla’s proposal says they “will be combined and integrated into the food and beverage operations of Luna Park and Scream Zone. This is an important step in the presentation of Luna Park and Scream Zone from their beach points of entry. Structures would be improved and remodeled to mesh with the aesthetics of the respective parks. To be successful within the food and beverage part of the operation, this plan will constantly be reviewed and modifications made annually. New product development will always be looked upon, as well as the demands of the guests as ways to improve.”

Sodexo is known for its cafeterias and individually branded restaurants, but nationally branded subtenants are also brought in under franchising or licensing agreements for the appearance of variety. Whether the Sodexo client is a college, school, hospital, government, corporation or leisure destination, one constant is Sodexo’s completely centralized purchasing system, which requires clients to choose from a list of “Right Products.” Another term used internally by Sodexo is “Compliant.” Vendors who offer rebates are “compliant” while those that do not are “locked out,” according to investigative reporter Lucy Komisar in “Cafeteria Kickbacks: How food-service providers like Sodexo bilk millions from taxpayers and customers.” Last July, Attorney General Cuomo announced “a $20 million settlement with food services provider Sodexo for overcharging 21 New York school districts as well as the SUNY system.”

Sodexo Kiosk at Luna Park Coney Island. May 31, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Sodexo Kiosk at Luna Park Coney Island. May 31, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

With just 88 days till the opening of Coney Island for the season on Palm Sunday –April 17, 2011– Zamperla’s Central Amusement International is locked in an ugly eviction battle with the Coney Island 8. The veteran Mom & Pops, including Ruby’s Bar and Paul’s Daughter, which have been Boardwalk favorites for decades, hope to remain. The Coney Island 8’s website claims, “Inside information suggests that Sodexo did not want to deal with The Coney Island 8 and therefore would not accept the contract with Zamperla without full control over all the food establishments.”

Sources familiar with Zamperla’s situation don’t expect the amusement operator to agree to any settlement that would allow the Coney Island 8 to remain on the Boardwalk since plans to make over the Boardwalk are well underway. Zamperla and Sodexo are said to be bringing in new businesses which have submitted letters of intent and now have leases in hand. Some of the newcomers have already gone in and measured the spaces or received the architect’s plans. Insiders characterize the Boardwalk makeover as a done deal. The next court date is February 16, just 60 days before Coney Island’s opening day. But it’s possible a settlement will be reached before then. A settlement would at least compensate the Coney Island 8 for the costs of those very unnecessary “business plans” and help them relocate in Coney or elsewhere.

Ruby's Bar & Grill, Coney Island. May 28, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Ruby's Bar & Grill, Coney Island. May 28, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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Luna Park

Luna Park Coney Island, Surf Avenue Entrance. June 6, 2010. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

If you’re seeking a career in the amusement industry, Central Amusement International, the operator of Luna Park Coney Island, has listed five plum jobs on Craigslist. They’re hiring an Assistant Operations Manager to help oversee the park operation (salary of $30,000-$40,000 per year) as well as a Seasonal Assistant Operations Coordinator and a Seasonal Assistant Administrative Manager (pay rate of $14.45-$19.25 per hour). The seasonal positions are late March through early November. Luna Park and the new Scream Zone are expected to open for the 2011 season in mid-April.

Luna Park is also looking for a Maintenance Coordinator with five or more years experience and NAARSO and/or AIMS certification (salary of $50,000-$70,000 per year) and a Maintenance Technician with vocational or technical training (pay rate of $12-$18 per hour).

Information about entry level jobs such as ride operator, game operator, ticketseller and retail sales is available on the park’s website. When the new park opened last May, the City announced “in its inaugural season Luna Park is projected to create 247 new jobs in Coney Island, increasing to 330 full and part time positions in 2011, with an emphasis on local hiring.” The amusement park is a public-private partnership with the City of New York.

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