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 After the Storm

Coney Island 2011 Winter to Spring: After the Storm. January 12, 2011. Photo © Jim McDonnell via smugmug

Photographer Jim McDonnell got back from a walk in snowy Coney Island and sent us a link to his first photos of the 2011 season. Among our faves is this snowed-in kiddie park at Bowery and 12th Street. Seeing the grinning Bumblebeez always puts us in a happy mood.

Although Jimmy McCullough’s Kiddie Park doesn’t get photographed as often as its larger neighbors, Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park and Luna Park, it has 12 kiddie rides packed into a surprisingly small area. McCullough is a cousin to the Tilyous and has owned and operated rides, including the B & B Carousell, in Coney Island for many years.

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November 18, 2010: Good News from Coney Island! Eldorado “Bump Your Ass Off” Bumper Cars To Reopen

September 4,2010: Go Up, It’s Great! Coney Island’s & Deno’s Wonder Wheel

May 21, 2009: Astroland Closed But Your Kid Can Still Ride the USS Astroland This Summer!

June 8, 2009: Coney Island Rides: Tug Boat and Carousel in McCullough’s Kiddie Park

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Denos Wonder Wheel in Coney Island. Photo © Barry Yanowitz via flickr

Deno's Wonder Wheel in Coney Island. Photo © Barry Yanowitz via flickr

photo via Barry Yanowitz, flickr

This post was written in 2009. Please see most recent ride census from April 2011: “Coney Island Has 64 Rides and 30 Weekends of Summer!”

“Coney Island Rides” and “What rides are in Coney Island?” continue to be the #1 search term used to arrive at Amusing the Zillion. Two months ago, ATZ did “Coney Island Ride Count: Veteran Ride Ops 40, Joe Sitt 10!” We broke the news about California’s Butler Amusements sending rides to Coney, including one from Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. Jacko’s Dragon Wagon is still in Coney Island, but a few other rides have come or gone. It’s time for an update.

On August 5, 2009, with 33 days left in the season, Coney Island has a grand total of 56 rides, plus a variety of sideshows, games and food stands. If you thought all of Coney Island closed when Astroland closed last year, you’ve been misinformed and missing out. Hope to see you on the Cyclone line before the end of the summer!


“What rides are open at Coney Island?”

The iconic Cyclone Roller Coaster is a New York City landmark operated by the Albert family, the former owners of Astroland Park (Surf Avenue at 10th St). Opened in 1927, the Cyclone remains a favorite of roller coaster fans as well as photographers from all over the world. On flickr, ATZ found more than 3,000 photos of the Cyclone!

photo via Coney Island Cyclone, flickr

Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park has 22 rides and is owned and operated by the Vourderis family. In addition to the Wonder Wheel, which is an official New York City landmark, and the legendary Spook-A-Rama dark ride, adult rides include the Thunderbolt, Bumper Cars and Tilt-A-Whirl. The Kiddie rides are the Carousel, Herschell Boats, Dizzy Dragons, Pony Carts, Jumping Motorcycles, Sea Serpent Roller Coaster, Mini Enterprise, Free Fall, Red Baron Airplanes, Willie the Whale, Fire Engines, Jets, Flying Elephants, Pirate’s Pond, Big Foot Trucks and Rio Grande Train.

Thunderbolt at Denos Wonder Wheel Park. Photo © Pablo57 via flickr

Thunderbolt at Deno's Wonder Wheel Park. Photo © Pablo57 via flickr

photo via pablo57, flickr

McCullough’s is a family owned park with 12 kiddie rides on the Bowery at 12th Street. The rides are the Bumblebeez, Ferris Wheel, Carousel, Swings, Motorcycles, Yellow Submarine, Dizzy Dragons, Himalaya, Ladybug, Frog Hopper, Circus Train and Tug Boat.

McCulloughs Kiddie Park in Coney Island has a dozen rides. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

McCulloughs Kiddie Park in Coney Island has a dozen rides. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Coney Island’s disco palace of bumper cars, the Eldorado Skooters, is a family owned business at Surf Ave between Stillwell and 12th St.

Coney Islands Eldorado Bumper Cars. Photo © Barry Yanowitz via flickr

Coney Island's Eldorado Bumper Cars. Photo © Barry Yanowitz via flickr

photo via Barry Yanowitz, flickr

The Guerrero family’s 12th Street Amusements has 5 adult rides including the Polar Express, Bumper Cars, Saturn 6, Ghost Hole and Virtual Reality. There’s a second Virtual Reality simulator on Jones Walk.

Ghost Hole Dark Ride on 12th St in Coney Island. Photo © Barry Yanowitz via flickr

Ghost Hole Dark Ride on 12th St in Coney Island. Photo © Barry Yanowitz via flickr

photo via Barry Yanowitz, flickr

Thor Equities “Dreamland Park” (a temporary amusement area on the former Astroland property) currently has 13 rides brought in by Geren Rides and Butler Amusements. Adult rides are the Ring of Fire, Scrambler, Trabant and Star Dancer. Eight kiddie rides include a Carousel, Dragon Wagon from Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch, Kid Zone, Drive In, Kiddie Ferris Wheel and Banana Boats. There’s also a pony ride. Geren Rides’ Wisdom Himalaya and Spin Out recently left Coney Island for fairs in Tennessee and Georgia. Ride owner Glen Geren told ATZ he expects to have a Tilt-A-Whirl, Bumper Cars and a Reverchon Himalaya up and running within a couple of weeks. Ride #56 on our list is the Himalaya, which is on site in Dreamland, where it’s being sanded and painted in preparation for set up.

UPDATE 8/29 CONEY ISLAND IS OPEN, ONLY DREAMLAND HAS CLOSED Although Thor Equities closed “Dreamland Park,” Coney Island still has 43 rides including the Cyclone and Wonder Wheel open for business. There’s also the Ringling Bros. Boom A Ring Circus, Coney Island USA’s Circus Sideshow and Burlesque, Dreamland Roller Rink, the Coney Island History Project, games, arcades, and much more to enjoy.

Rabbit figure on Butler Amusements Carousel currently at Dreamland, Coney Island.  Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Rabbit figure on Butler Amusements Carousel currently at Dreamland, Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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Related posts on ATZ...

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

April 14, 2010: Photo Album: Heroic 24/7 Race to Build Coney Island’s New Luna Park

April 6, 2010: Photo Album: Yes, We’re Open! Easter Sunday in Coney Island

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McCulloughs Kiddie Park on Bowery @ 12th Street has 12 rides including this cute tug boat and classic carousel. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

McCullough's Kiddie Park on Bowery @ 12th Street has 12 rides including this cute tug boat and classic carousel. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

photo via me-myself-i, flickr

Coney Island’s much photographed Bumblebee ride and the kiddie rides surrounding it are part of McCullough’s Kiddie Park. Located on the Bowery at 12th Street, the park has 12 kiddie rides and is open for the 2009 season. The rides are the Bumblebeez, Ferris Wheel, Carousel, Swings, Motorcycles, Yellow Submarine, Dizzy Dragons, Himalaya, Ladybug, Frog Hopper, Circus Train and Tug Boat. The McCullough family is related to the Tilyous and has owned and operated rides in Coney Island for many years and we hope many years to come!

Although Astroland closed in 2008, Coney Island still has 52 rides up and running in the 2009 season.

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November 18, 2010: Good News from Coney Island! Eldorado “Bump Your Ass Off” Bumper Cars To Reopen

October 17, 2010: Coney Island to Get Flying Coaster from Denver’s Elitch Gardens

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

May 21, 2009: Astroland Closed But Your Kid Can Still Ride the USS Astroland This Summer!

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The Wonder Wheel....Go Up...Its Great! Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

The Wonder Wheel....Go Up...It's Great! Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

photo via me-myself-i, flickr

This post was written in 2009. For updated info, please see most recent ride census from April 2011: “Coney Island Has 64 Rides and 30 Weekends of Summer!”

* * * * *

Yesterday a teller at my bank said she thought Coney Island had been redeveloped into a flea market with just a few rides. Where’d she get that idea? Joe Sitt’s cartoonish “Festival by the Sea” subway posters. Some of the search terms being used to find ATZ have been “What rides are left at Coney Island?” and “Are the rides and games open at Coney Island?” When people hear that Astroland closed, they mistakenly think ALL of Coney’s rides have closed. I went around and did a ride count last weekend (May 30-31). The numbers may surprise you.

THE GOOD NEWS

Coney Island currently has a grand total of 50 operating rides, That’s right FIFTY RIDES. Pretty good for a place that’s rumored to have closed. Forty rides are owned and operated by longtime Coney ride ops Cyclone Coasters, Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, McCullough’s Kiddie Park, 12th Street Amusements and Eldorado Skooters.

On real estate speculator Joe Sitt’s property, there are currently 10 rides of the “more than 25 fun-filled rides” promised by Thor Equities in an April 2 press release.

A carousel under construction on May 25 is one of 10 rides in Thor Equities Dreamland Park. Photo © me-myself-i/ Tricia Vita via flickr

A carousel under construction on May 25 is one of 10 rides in Thor Equities "Dreamland Park." Photo © me-myself-i/ Tricia Vita via flickr

photo via me-myself-i, flickr

Sitt’s pr team hasn’t said a word about rides lately, but the Coney Island Rumor Mill is abuzz with rumors of everything from coasters to kiddie rides being on the way. ATZ will keep you posted if and when more rides do arrive in Sittland East aka “Dreamland Amusement Park,” which is a work in progress.

If you want to see the full list of Coney Island’s 50 rides, Click here for the second part of my post, “What rides are open at Coney Island?”

STARTLING STATS

When you break down the current ride count, forty (40) rides are owned and operated by Coney’s veteran ride owners on land that is NOT owned by Joe Sitt or Thor Equities. Sitt is the largest property owner in Coney Island, with 80% of the land in the amusement district in Thor Equities investment portfolio. Yet two months after Coney’s opening day of the season, Sitt has mustered only ten (10) carnival rides for his so-called Dreamland Amusement Park. McCullough’s Kiddie Park, which occupies a tiny piece of land at the Bowery and 12th Street, has squeezed more rides onto their site than Joe Sitt has in all of Coney Island. The score is McCullough 12, Sitt 10. Or Veteran Showmen 40, Predatory Real Estate Speculator, 10. If this were a ball game, the showmen would win!

McCulloughs Kiddie Park in Coney Island has 12 rides. Photo © me-myself-i/ Tricia Vita via flickr

McCullough's Kiddie Park in Coney Island has 12 rides. Photo © me-myself-i/ Tricia Vita via flickr

photo via me-myself-i, flickr

The “dozens of amusement rides” ballyhooed by Thor’s pr firm Knickerbocker SKD in their April 2 press release later dwindled to the promise of “25 rides and attractions” and “upwards of 25 rides”. Obviously Thor Equities picked the number “25” to say, see you’re not missing anything, we’re replacing the evicted Astroland’s old rides with an equal number of new rides.

The startling fact is that last year during Thor Equities “Summer of Hope” (May 22-June 2), Sitt had 52 rides on all of his Coney Island properties. This year, he has only 10. This means Coney Island is down 42 rides from last year during the same time period.

On Sitt’s property on the last weekend of May 2008:

52 rides including

Astroland – 24 rides (Palm Sunday- Sept 7)

Reithoffer Carnival – 18 rides (May 22-June 3)

Geren Rides – 10 rides (May 22- mid-July)

On Sitt’s property on the last weekend of May 2009:

“Dreamland Amusement Park” 10 rides

This year Thor has come up very short. Instead of spending huge amounts of money on the tents and advertising for his flopped Festival by the Flea, oops I mean Festival by the Sea, Sitt should have bought rides and set them up on the property, which is zoned for amusements. A batting range, go karts, bumper boats, mini-golf and other popular amusement attractions thrived here before Joe Sitt bought the property and bulldozed them in 2007 to deliberately create his empty lots and the opportunity for a zoning variance.


“What rides are open at Coney Island?”

Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park has 22 rides. In addition to the legendary Wonder Wheel and Spook-A-Rama dark ride, adult rides include the Thunderbolt, Bumper Cars and Tilt-A-Whirl. The Kiddie rides are the Dizzy Dragons, Mini Enterprise, Willie the Whale, Fire Engines, Pony Carts, Jets, Free Fall, Boats, Carousel, Flying Elephants, Jumping Motorcycles, Pirate’s Pond, Red Baron Airplanes, Big Foot Trucks, Rio Grande Train and Sea Serpent Roller Coaster.

Mangels Pony Cart Ride at Denos Kiddie Park, Coney Island. Photo © me-myself-i/ Tricia Vita via flickr

Mangels Pony Cart Ride at Deno's Kiddie Park, Coney Island. Photo © me-myself-i/ Tricia Vita via flickr

photo via me-myself-i, flickr

McCullough’s Kiddie Park has 12 kiddie rides on the Bowery at 12th Street. The rides are the Bumblebeez, Ferris Wheel, Carousel, Swings, Motorcycles, Yellow Submarine, Dizzy Dragons, Himalaya, Ladybug, Frog Hopper, Circus Train and Tug Boat.

Thor Equities new “Dreamland Park” (former Astroland property) has 10 rides. Adult rides are the Himalaya, Spin Out, Ring of Fire, Scrambler, Trabant and Star Dancer. Kiddie rides are the Carousel, Dragon Wagon, Kid Country and Drive In.

The world famous Cyclone Roller Coaster is a city owned landmark and continues to be operated by the Alberts, the former owners of Astroland Park (Surf Avenue at 10th St)

Erik Knapp, the Cyclones first rider on opening day, April 5, 2009. Photo (c) Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Erik Knapp, the Cyclone's first rider on opening day, April 5, 2009. Photo (c) Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

photo via me-myself-i, flickr

The one and only Eldorado Skooters is a family owned business at Surf Ave between Stillwell and 12th St.

Eldorado Bumper Car Crew. Photo © Tricia Vita/me/myself/i via flickr

Eldorado Bumper Car Crew. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

photo via me-myself-i, flickr

Another family business 12th Street Amusements has 4 adult rides including the Polar Express, Bumper Cars, Saturn 6 and Ghost Hole.

The Polar Express. Photo © me-myself-i/ Tricia Vita via flickr

The Polar Express. Photo © me-myself-i/ Tricia Vita via flickr

photo via me-myself-i, flickr

AUG 5 2009 UPDATE: Coney Island Has 56 Rides and 33 More Days of Summer!

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

April 23, 2010: Photo Album: Coney Island Boardwalk Businesses Open for 2010

April 14, 2010: Photo Album: Heroic 24/7 Race to Build Coney Island’s New Luna Park

April 6, 2010: Photo Album: Yes, We’re Open! Easter Sunday in Coney Island

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USS Astroland, Herschell Boat Ride at Deno's Kiddie Park in Coney Island. Photo by me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

USS Astroland, Herschell Boat Ride at Deno's Kiddie Park in Coney Island. Photo by me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

photo via me-myself-i, flickr

Astroland closed in September 2008, but your kid can still ride the USS Astroland in 2009, and 2010, and far into the future. Wish I could ride too–but grownups aren’t allowed. This classic Allan Herschell kiddie boat ride is in Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, which according to a new sign is “open this year, & next, & next, & next, & next…” Deno’s owns the Wonder Wheel and the land beneath it and has a lease on the kiddie park property through 2020. Last October, the City entered into a purchase agreement to acquire the 1-acre kiddie park parcel for $11 million from the Ward family after Thor Equities dropped out of the deal. The Coney Island Rumor Mill is sayin’ the closing is imminent. Will city officials break a bottle of Brooklyn egg cream against the hull of one of the kiddie boats to celebrate the land acquisition? Of course, the rides belong to Deno’s and are not part of the deal.

Each little boat is named after a different Coney Island park, all defunct now except for Deno’s, whose namesake is the ocean blue USS Deno’s Wonder Wheel. When the rides were repainted a few years ago, former arcade owner and history buff Stan Fox had the idea it would be a neat way to pay tribute to Coney’s amusement heritage. The other boats are named after Boyton’s Sea Lion Park (1895-1902), Luna Park (1903-1946), Dreamland (1904-1911) and Steeplechase (1897-1964).

Although Astroland closed in 2008, Coney Island has 50 54 amusement rides up and running in 2009!

Denos Wonder Wheel Parks new banner proudly proclaims We ARE Coney Island! Photo by Pablo57 via flickr

Deno's Wonder Wheel Park's new banner proudly proclaims "We ARE Coney Island!" Photo by Pablo57 via flickr

photo via pablo57, flickr

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December 30, 2009: Looking Back & Forward: Astroland Shrine on New Year’s Day 2009

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

June 8, 2009: Coney Island Rides: Tug Boat and Carousel in McCullough’s Kiddie Park

May 29, 2009: Astroland Star from Coney Island’s Space-Age Theme Park Donated to the Smithsonian

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