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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas lights’

Parachute Jump Wonder Wheel

Parachute Jump and Wonder Wheel Lit for Holidays, December 24, 2013. Photo © Bruce Handy

This strikingly beautiful photo of two Coney Island landmarks illuminated for the holidays was taken by Bruce Handy on Christmas Eve 2013. Though the Wonder Wheel appears to be superimposed on the Parachute Jump, there’s no Photoshop trickery here. It’s precisely what the photographer saw that night. “I walked out the door of my apartment house and turned the corner and nearly fainted at the sight,” Bruce tells ATZ. “It was a Christmas Eve miracle. A complete surprise. The photo can only be taken from that exact spot.”

Ever since The Parachute Jump’s dazzling 8,000 LEDs debuted in 2013, the landmark tower’s light show has continued nightly. Specially programmed lighting schemes have paid tribute to the two slain NYPD officers, raised awareness for childhood cancer, and celebrated holidays such as the Fourth of July and Christmas. On New Year’s Eve, the Jump’s LEDs will ring in 2015 with a simulated “ball drop” and light show.

The annual tradition of putting a lighted cross atop the Wonder Wheel during the Christmas season began in 1945 to mark the end of World War II and the troops return home. During the war years, Coney Island was dark after sundown because of “dim-out” and “blackout” regulations to protect shipping from being silhouetted for the enemy by the glare from the shore. The new LED cross was made by DJ Vourderis, whose family has owned Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park for more than 30 years.

Related posts on ATZ…

December 22, 2014: Photo of the Day: Coney Island’s Tribute in Light to Slain NYPD Officers

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

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

November 28, 2013: Photo Album: Parachute Jump Lights Way to Year-Round Coney Island

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Parachute Jump Xmas Lights

Happy Holiday Message on Parachute Jump Lights. Photo © Jim McDonnell

If you want to see Christmas lights, the #1 place to go in the country is the South Brooklyn neighborhood of Dyker Heights, according to a survey published today by MSN. Coney Island’s amusement area doesn’t have a tradition of Christmas lights since the parks are closed for the winter, but two of its official New York City landmarks are lit for the holidays and free to view.

While the lighted cross atop Deno’s Wonder Wheel has a 68-year history, the Parachute Jump’s light show is brand-new. The Jump’s dazzling 8,000 LEDs debuted in June and have been specially programmed with a “Happy Holidays” message and Christmas-y colors by Luna Park.

Currently, the Jump is lit from around 4:30pm until midnight, and sometimes later. Originally built for the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair, the Parachute Jump operated as a ride in Coney Island’s Steeplechase Park until 1964. Today the landmark is known as Brooklyn’s Eiffel Tower. Check the Coney Island webcam to be sure the Jump is lit before you go.

Wonder Wheel Xmas Cross

The annual tradition of putting a lighted cross atop the Wonder Wheel during the Christmas season began in 1945 to mark the end of World War II and the troops return home. During the war years, Coney Island was dark after sundown because of “dim-out” and “blackout” regulations to protect shipping from being silhouetted for the enemy by the glare from the shore. The new LED cross was made by DJ Vourderis, whose family has owned Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park for 30 years.

Built in 1920 by the Eccentric Ferris Wheel Company, the Wheel is in operation from Palm Sunday through October. Its cars are removed for the winter and put back up in the spring prior to Opening Day. From the 1980s until neighboring Astroland Park closed in 2008, the Wonder Wheel’s Christmas cross had a counterpart in the Astrotower’s lighted Star of David.

In this lyrical video by Jim McDonnell, who also took the beautiful photos in this post, you can see the cross being raised on Friday when warm temps finally melted the ice on the Wheel, allowing it to be turned. The cross remains atop the Wheel until around January 6.

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Related posts on ATZ…

November 28, 2013: Photo Album: Parachute Jump Lights Way to Year-Round Coney Island

September 13, 2013: Coney Island Always: Visiting the Big CI Year-Round

March 19, 2013: First Sign of Spring in Coney: Cars Go up on Wonder Wheel

January 18, 2012: Video of the Day: Climbing Coney Island’s Parachute Jump

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Christmas at Hersheypark

Christmas Light Display at Hersheypark in Hershey, PA. Photo courtesy of Hersheypark

While most amusement parks in northern climes close after Halloween due to the cold weather, a few have extended their season with Christmas celebrations featuring holiday lights, a visit with Santa, and a spin on selected rides for the price of admission. ATZ took a look at four parks that are worth the drive from the New York metro area, as well as Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens and Gothenburg’s Liseberg.

Christmas in Tivoli

Christmas in Tivoli, Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo via Facebook.com/Tivoli

CHRISTMAS IN TIVOLI
Copenhagen, Denmark

Tivoli Gardens, the 170-year-old amusement park in the heart of Copenhagen, has been open for Christmas for the past 20 years. Thousands of lights adorn the buildings and rides, while glass, mother-of-pearl and heart-shaped lights bedizen the trees. Father Christmas and his elves greet visitors and the Tivoli Boys Guard parades through the Gardens playing Danish and English marches and carols. The park features 50 Christmas stalls and 32 rides including five new rides which are part of a Russian and Scandinavian-themed Christmas. For the first time ever, Tivoli will be open for walk-in guests on New Year’s Eve before the Fireworks are launched. Last year’s successful opening of some of Tivoli’s restaurants on New Year’s Eve sparked the idea of a full scale opening of the rides, games and shops. November 15-December 31. Closed December 24 and 25.

Christmas at Lake Compounce

Christmas at Lake Compounce, Bristol, CT. Photo via Lake Compounce

HOLIDAY LIGHTS AT LAKE COMPOUNCE
Bristol, CT

Lake Compounce, North America’s oldest continuously operating amusement park, is bedecked with thousands of bulbs including “12 Days of Christmas” displays to celebrate the park’s 2nd annual Holiday Lights event. A selection of kiddie rides and family rides are open for the occasion. Lake Compounce’s train, which circles the lake, has been recommissioned the North Pole Express. Among the indoor activities are Story Time with Mrs. Claus, cookie decorating and gingerbread house making, carolers, an ice carver, clowns and holiday characters. November 29-December 22, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Hershey Park

Hershey Park Christmas Candylane, Hershey, PA. Photo via Hershey Park

HERSHEYPARK CHRISTMAS CANDYLANE & HERSHEY SWEET LIGHTS
Hershey, PA

Founded in 1905 as a leisure park for Hershey Chocolate Company employees, Hersheypark marks its 30th holiday celebration this year. Christmas Candylane features more than 30 of the park’s rides including the Twilight Express, Santa and nine live reindeer, the N.O.E.L light show with 125,000 lights synchronized to Christmas carols, live entertainment, costumed characters, games, shops and food. Hershey Sweet Lights is a 2.3-mile drive-thru of 600 themed light displays with a customized radio broadcast. November 15-January 1. Closed December 24 and 25.

Christmas at Storybook Land

Christmas at Storybook Land, Egg Harbor, NJ. Photo via Storybook Land

CHRISTMAS FANTASY WITH LIGHTS AT STORYBOOK LAND
Egg Harbor Township, NJ

Fairytale-themed children’s parks were a popular attraction in the 1950s but New Jersey’s Storybook Land, near Atlantic City, is one of the few that has survived and is thriving in the 21st century. Christmas has been celebrated here for over 25 years and is a tradition for generations of South Jerseyans. Through December 23rd, Santa Claus comes out of the chimney of his house nightly at 5pm, waves his wand and lights the park’s million lights. Bubbles the Coaster, the Tick-Tock Clock Drop and other kiddie rides along with the park’s storybook architecture are also bedizened with lights. November 23-December 30. Closed December 24 and 25.

Christmas in Kennywood

Christmas in Kennywood. Photo via Kennywood.com

12 NIGHTS OF HOLIDAY LIGHTS AT KENNYWOOD
West Mifflin, PA

Kennywood’s 3rd Annual Holiday Lights Festival includes two different light shows every half hour in the area surrounding the lagoon, local choirs, magic show, strolling band, dinner with Santa, and readings of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” by Pittsburgh radio and TV personalities. Operating rides include the Paratrooper, Kangaroo, Merry-Go-Round, Turtle, Ghostwood Estate (with a special holiday twist), The Gingerbread Express (Holiday Lights version of the Olde Kennywood Railroad), and up to 9 rides in Kiddieland. Although the park’s roller coasters aren’t open, guests are invited to stop by the Racer to take a unique picture with Santa in a replica coaster car. November 29-December 22. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Christmas at Liseberg

Christmas at Liseberg. Photo via Liseberg.com

CHRISTMAS AT LISEBERG
Gothenburg, Sweden

Founded in 1923 as a temporary attraction for the 300th anniversary of the city of Gothenburg, Liseberg is Sweden’s most popular amusement park. In November and December, the 260-acre park hosts Scandinavia’s largest Christmas Market, which is illuminated by nearly 5 million lights. Rustic stalls and shops sell arts and crafts, and traditional food such as marinated herring, roasted reindeer meat from Lapland, marzipan pigs and glögg. Some rides are open including the Liseberg Wheel, carousels and kiddie rides. There’s also sleigh rides, an ice skating show, Santa’s House, a midwinter festival at a medieval village, and white rabbits from the North Pole greeting the park’s green rabbit mascot. November 15-December 29. Closed December 24 and 25.

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Related posts on ATZ…

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

December 13, 2013: Photo Album: Gingerbread Coney Island in City Harvest Extravaganza

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

December 18, 2011: Playing Santa at the Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge

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