Posts Tagged ‘Coney Island Development Corporation’

Advertising on Fence Wraps, Stillwell Ave East ,Coney Island. May 28, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

AFTER: Advertising on Fence Wraps, Stillwell Ave East, Coney Island. May 28, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Thanks to some fence wrap magic, tourists who walk down Stillwell Ave on their way to the Beach and Boardwalk will no longer be confronted by abandoned flea market tents and empty lots. In April, the Coney Island Development Corporation initiated the fence wrap project for the City’s parcels on the Boardwalk side of Stillwell, where CAI/Zamperla will build Scream Zone after finishing work on Luna Park.

Thor Equities abandoned flea market, Coney Island. April 16, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita//me-myself-i via flickr

BEFORE: Thor Equities abandoned flea market tents on Stillwell Ave East, Coney Island. April 16, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita//me-myself-i via flickr

Since Thor Equities Stillwell lots have remained vacant, the CIDC got permission to install the wraps on Thor’s property as well. The advertising campaign does a good job of hiding what remains of Thor’s tent structures from last summer’s failed flea market. The structures are on Thor’s land only, since the city cleared their section of Stillwell after the property was purchased from Thor in November. The mesh banners advertise the Brooklyn Cyclones, Ringling’s Coney Island Illuscination, the Cyclone Roller Coaster, Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, Luna Park and the Coney Island Fun Guide’s “More Ooohs. New Aaahs” campaign. Kudos to the CIDC’s Lynn Kelly and Nathan Bliss, who were seen installing the fence wraps themselves without any help from Joe Sitt.

Advertising on Fence Wraps, Thor Equities Stillwell West lot. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

AFTER: Advertising on Fence Wraps, Thor Equities Stillwell West lot. May 28, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Not exactly news: Thor Equities’ flashy ad in IAAPA Funworld amounts to a charade because Sitt failed to lease his property to any of the amusement operators who came to New York to negotiate a deal. While the City can’t force Sitt to rent his property, it appears that he was made to clean up his mess. The tent sidewalls and tops have come down since we reported that bedraggled tents were the first sight visitors see when they stroll down Stillwell Avenue (“Thor’s Coney Island: Tattered Tents, Deathwatch for Vacant Buildings,” April 21).

But the framework remains standing since Sitt was reportedly asking prospective tenants to pay the cost. “They won’t take it down. It costs 10 grand to take it down,” Mark Lovell of Universal Fairs told ATZ last month (“Scoop: Deal to Rent Thor’s Coney Island Lots a No-Go for Fair Producer, May 13). Rumor has it that yet another potential tenant is waiting to sign a lease. Sorry, we’ll believe it when they’re set up and selling tickets! Let’s not forget what Stillwell looked like before Joe Sitt bought the property and got rid of the amusements.

Thor Equities abandoned flea market tent, Stillwell West. April 16, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

BEFORE: Thor Equities abandoned flea market tent, Stillwell West. April 16, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Related posts on ATZ…

April 29, 2010: Photo of the Day: Interior of Coney Island’s Doomed Henderson Music Hall

April 29, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: Joey “Bulldozer” Sitt Is Baaack Playing Games!

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

February 11, 2010: Photo of the Day: NYCEDC Signs Herald New Coney Island Amusement Park


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For the 2010 season, the CIDC’s Coney Island Fun Guide team is launching a visitor hotline called the Coney Island Fun Phone. A template version of the Fun Phone has been up and running since October to get feedback from Coney Island amusement area stakeholders.

We jotted down the phone number at the stakeholders meeting where the idea was introduced. The project strikes us as very promising. Someone asked how the Fun Phone will be marketed. Well, here you go…

Dial 1-877-71-CONEY

The hotline’s official launch date has yet to be announced, but the number is already posted on the Coney Island Fun Guide’s Facebook Fan Page. We recommend saving the number in your cellphone right now. Coney Island’s official opening day is March 28th–just 53 days away!

The Coney Island Fun Phone’s main menu includes Upcoming Events, Directions & Parking, Rides & Attractions, Eating, Shopping, Voice Mail for Fun Phone Team and return to the main and sub menus. If you hit #3 for Rides & Attractions, you’ll get the menu for 6 different attractions including the Beach and Boardwalk, The Cyclones, Cyclone Roller Coaster, Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, New York Aquarium, Ringling Circus, and submenu access to 10 more attractions.

The CIDC’s Daniel Mulé, who is the voice of the Coney Island Fun Phone Team, has recorded short and engaging descriptions of the attractions along with prices, hours and phone numbers. Here’s a sample….

Beach and Boardwalk

At the Coney Island beachfront you can find the perfect spot along two miles of sandy shoreline or enjoy a stroll along the legendary Riegelmann Boardwalk. The Beach and Boardwalk are free for all visitors and accessible year round. The beach is open for swimming from 10 am to 6 pm all summer from Memorial Day Weekend till Labor Day Weekend. For more information on beach rules and regulations contact the park manager at 718-946-1353.

The Fun Phone seems to be geared to people who are unable to access the web-based Coney Island Fun Guide. Perhaps they do not use a computer. Or they don’t have web access on their cellphones.

The restaurant listings and phone numbers came in handy when we were in Coney Island with friends who suddenly changed their plan about where to eat. The Fun Phone offers a wide range of dining choices. In addition to Nathan’s Famous and places on the Boardwalk, you’ll find out about Surf Ave sit-down bars and eateries like Peggy O’Neill’s, Ragazzi’s Pizza, Footprints Café, and Surf & Turf, and neighborhood mainstays like Gargiulo’s, Totonno’s and Coney Island Soup Shop. We bet there’s a restaurant on the Fun Phone that some regular visitors have not tried yet.

ATZ gives the Coney Island Fun Guide high marks. Before the Guide was launched last summer, there was no such thing as a comprehensive calendar of Coney events. Coney Island is not a single operator amusement park like Six Flags, but an amusement district made up of many individually owned and operated businesses. During the season, the Cyclone Roller Coaster, Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, the Coney Island Sideshow and other attractions field hundreds of phone calls from potential visitors with general questions about Coney Island. This season they will be able to redirect some of the callers to the hotline.

Please note that the Fun Phone is still under development and hasn’t been updated for the 2010 season yet. “We will definitely get it live for the summer,” says Mulé. “No official launch date scheduled — pending some further comprehensive thinking about our marketing efforts for this year.”

The Coney Island Fun Guide also has an e-newsletter and a Facebook Fan Page that you can join now.


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Coney Island was in the spotlight at the November 16-20 IAAPA (The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions) Expo 2009 in Las Vegas. Among the 1000-plus exhibitors at the world’s largest conference and trade show for the attractions industry was the Coney Island Development Corporation, whose RFP for a 10-year lease with the City of New York for a “Coney Island Amusement Operator” was the talk of the show floor. (Read our take on “The Contenders from A to Z.”) At the show’s Kickoff Event on Nov. 17, Fred Thompson and Skip Dundy, the creators of Coney Island’s legendary Luna Park (1903-1946), were posthumously inducted into the IAAPA Hall of Fame.

Accepting the IAAPA Hall of Fame Award on behalf of Coney Island’s amusement pioneers were historian Charles Denson, Executive Director of the Coney Island History Project, and Carol Hill Albert, co-founder of the Coney Island History Project and operator of Coney Island’s Cyclone roller coaster. “We’d like to see Coney Island rebuilt with the same sense of creativity and wonder that Thompson and Dundy showed 100 years ago,” said Denson, who accepted the award on behalf of Elmer “Skip” Dundy. According to Dundy’s obituary in the New York Times, “Mr. Thompson supplied the inventive faculty for the concern, and Mr. Dundy attended to the no less complicated matter of obtaining three-quarters of a million required to start the enterprise. When the gates were thrust open to the public, the partners had just $11 between them.”

“I’m thrilled for the Coney Island History Project to be accepting this award on behalf of Fred Thompson,” said Carol Hill Albert, who founded the History Project with her husband Jerome Albert in honor of Dewey Albert, creator of Astroland Park. “Coney Island’s fabulous history was always an answer to ‘Can You Top This’ and Fred Thompson placed the bar so high that even today amusement parks all over the world are reaping its benefit.” The award, which is considered the industry’s highest honor, was presented by Tim O’Brien, VP Communications for Ripley Entertainment Inc. and chairman of the IAAPA Hall of Fame and Archives Committee. Additional info about the IAAPA Hall of Fame and Thompson & Dundy’s work is available on the IAAPA and Coney Island History Project websites.

Nate Bliss and Lynn Kelly of the Coney Island Development Corporation and Laura Kirschbaum from NYCEDC drummed up interest in “Coney Island’s Next Act” at their booth at the trade show. The CIDC was a first time exhibitor at the IAAPA Attractions Expo 2008 in Orlando. This year, the CIDC went to Vegas as a Silver Sponsor (banner signage in lobbies, enhanced Show Guide listing and more) to showcase the City of New York’s RFP for a “Coney Island Amusement Operator.” “We’re looking for the new Luna Park developers, if you will,” said Lynn Kelly, president of the CIDC, at a special information session for prospective bidders. “This is a unique moment in time for Coney Island, to bring it back to life in a 21st century way. We’re thrilled to be here again and to have something substantive to offer this industry.”

Coney Islanders in Vegas: Dennis Vourderis of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park (center) visits Manny Cohen and Stan Fox of Coney Island Arcade USA in their booth. For Coney Island’s amusement operators, attending the IAAPA conference and trade show for the attractions industry is an annual ritual. Coney Island Arcade manufactures and sells coin op amusement games. Cohen also operates an arcade on the Bowery at 12th Street in the heart of Brooklyn’s world-famous amusement area. “Business was better than I expected. There was a lot of activity and interest,” said Fox, whose family owned arcades in Coney Island since the 1940s.

IAAPA estimates that 24,000 people, including approximately 14,700 buyers, from 108 nations participated in the IAAPA Attractions Expo 2009 in Las Vegas. Attendees from Coney Island included Steve Vourderis and sons, of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, and Cyclone roller coaster staff and crew members, who enrolled in IAAPA’s educational programs and ride safety seminars. On IAAPA Museum Day, Charles Denson of the Coney Island History Project attended the seminar “Museums, Arts and Culture, and Economic Development” presented by Jack Rouse and Stephen Sheppard. On November 20, it was goodbye Vegas, see you on Palm Sunday (opening day of the season) in Coney Island and next November at the IAAPA Attractions Expo 2010 in Orlando! A big thank you to Charles Denson for sharing his IAAPA photo album.

Related posts on ATZ…

January 2, 2010: Photo Album: Coney Island Boardwalk, New Year’s Day 2010

December 18, 2009: Ciao Coney Island! Will Ruby’s, Shoot the Freak, Astrotower & Other Oldies Survive?

November 23, 2009: The Contenders from A to Z: Coney Island Amusement Operator RFP

August 5, 2009: Coney Island Has 56 Rides and 33 More Days of Summer!


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