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Posts Tagged ‘McCullough’s Kiddie Park’

Bumble Bee Ride

Bumble Bees and Herschell Carousel at McCullough’s Kiddie Park, Coney Island, September 3, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita

Remember Coney Island’s Bumble Bees? The popular kiddie ride in McCullough’s Kiddie Park left its spot on the Bowery when the family closed their park in 2012 after being unable to extend the lease. In April, the Bees will once again be awhirl after finding a wonderful new home in Canada.

ATZ learned the good news from the ride’s new owner, Jim Mills, who operates Select Shows, a traveling carnival based in Manitoba. “This past fall I purchased the Bumble Bee ride from McCullough’s Park in Coney Island,” Mills told ATZ. “During the past winter it has been totally rebuilt and going to hit the road this spring on my show.”

Coney Island Bumblebee

Coney Island Bumblebee under Restoration. Photo © Select Shows, Manitoba

Mills, whose family-run carnival operates from mid-April through the end of September in Manitoba and Ontario, sent us photos of the rehab. “There is a picture of the beginning of the make over and the rest are showing the painting of the last two as well as the new sweeps, all new hydraulics, electrical and complete body work, which alone for the Bees is about 400 man hours. We have put approximately $30,000 into this project so far,” says Mills, who promises to send more photos once the redo is completed and the ride is set up. He has put up a page on the show’s website about the history of the ride, which survived Hurricane Sandy. SO happy to see the Bees lovingly restored and ready to begin their new life on the road!

Coney Island Bumblebee under Restoration

Coney Island Bumblebee under Restoration. Photo © Select Shows, Manitoba, Canada

The McCullough family operated amusements in Coney Island for four generations and their kiddie park had been on 12th Street and the Bowery since the 1960s. The often-photographed Bumble Bee ride was emblematic of Coney Island and frequently photographed with the Wonder Wheel or Parachute Jump in the background. When Astroland closed in 2008, some photographers’ captions said it was the end of the Bees because they did not realize the ride was part of a different park.

On Flickr we posted: Please note the Bumblebee ride on the Bowery and the kiddie rides surrounding it are NOT part of Astroland. McCullough’s Kiddie Park has 12 kiddie rides and is open for the 2009 season. The McCullough family is related to the Tilyous and have owned and operated rides in Coney Island for many years and we hope many years to come!

Coney Island Bumblebee

Coney Island Bumblebee under Restoration. Photo © Select Shows, Manitoba, Canada

Fun Facts about the Bumble Bees:

The ride’s trademark name Bumble Bee Bop was first used in 2001. This aerial kiddie carousel was designed and manufactured by Sellner, the inventor of the Tilt-A-Whirl.

McCullough’s Bumble Bee ride inspired Galloping Boy Designs T-shirt of an adventurous tabby seeing the sights of Coney Island from the back of a bumble bee. The Bees can also be glimpsed in numerous films and music videos shot in Coney.

Artist Chris DAZE Ellis, who painted a mural adjacent to McCullough’s Kiddie Park for the Dreamland Artist Club in 2004, pays tribute to the Bumble Bees in his painting Kiddyland Spirits. The 1995 painting is among his works currently on view in the touring exhibit Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland at the Wadsworth Atheneum.

Chris DAZE Ellis

Kiddyland Spirits, 1995, oil on canvas. Painting copyright Chris DAZE Ellis

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June 4, 2014: Astroland Rocket Finds New Home Beside the Wonder Wheel

July 17, 2013: Astroland Rides Find Homes in Brooklyn, Costa Rica and Australia

September 4, 2012: Exclusive: McCullough’s Kiddie Park Closing After 50 Years in Coney Island

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

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Coney Island Sunset

Coney Island Sunset with Scream Zone and Parachute Jump. December 6, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

While putting together “Amusing the Zillion’s Top 10 Coney Island News Stories of 2012,” we considered doing a fave unposted photos of 2012 feature but there were too many pix to choose from. If a photo isn’t or doesn’t become newsworthy, it often gets overlooked. Since there’s a post-holiday lull in the usual Coney Island Melodrama, here’s an album of quiet photos from early December. What these images have in common are pieces of the Coney Island skyline.

Coney Island Skyline

Coney Island Skyline, December 6, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

Hoax photos from Hurricane Sandy of the Parachute Jump snapped in two and real photos of a coaster underwater in Seaside Heights have visitors coming to ATZ to find out if Coney Island’s rides survived. The answer is yes! Coney Island’s rides will open for the 2013 season on March 24th, Palm Sunday, with a complimentary spin on the Wonder Wheel. Seen in the photo above from left to right: the Astro Tower, which is no longer an operating ride, but will be lit with LEDs; the Cyclone Roller Coaster; Deno’s Wonder Wheel, minus its cars, which are removed for the winter; and Scream Zone’s Steeplechase Coaster and Zenobio.

Brooms lined up post-Sandy

Brooms lined up post-Sandy inside Luna Park Coney Island. December 6, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

In November, Luna Park pitched in to help Coney Island recover from Hurricane Sandy by rewarding volunteers who signed up for four hours of clean-up with an unlimited ride, four-hour wristband to the park. “Over 300 people volunteered their time with Luna Park as part of a massive effort to rebuild Coney Island,” according to a post on the park’s Facebook page. “Luna volunteers cleared 4 parks and playgrounds, served 3 churches, cleaned 9 homes and 2 streets and helped clear the boardwalk by the amusement areas.”

Victim of Sandy

Victim of Sandy. December 6, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

This surreal image of a discarded carnival prize in post-Sandy Coney Island was just too sad to post on the day that we snapped it. A big part of it was the game that it came from is owned by a friend. The storm-damaged plush bear and fellow prizes were photographed here and there in the amusement area before being carted away.

The Last of McCullough's Kiddie Park

The Last of McCullough’s Kiddie Park. December 6, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

Even sadder was our last look at the last remaining ride sign in McCullough’s Kiddie Park, which had been torn down and was being trucked away. The Bumblebees, Kiddie Ferris Wheel and Himalaya are all gone. Today, there’s an empty lot where the kiddie park existed since the 1960s. As ATZ reported in September, the McCullough family operated amusements in Coney Island for four generations and are related to the Tilyous of Steeplechase Park. They closed the kiddie park, their last remaining business here, after being unable to come to an agreement on terms for a lease extension with property owner Thor Equities.

On the bright side, Pete’s Clam Stop and its old school signage on Surf Avenue at 15th Street is here to stay. Along with Williams Candy next door, it is owned by Peter Agrapides, who has worked in Coney Island for six decades.

Pete's Clam Stop

Pete’s Clam Stop, Coney Island. December 6, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

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January 3, 2013: Photo Album: New Year’s Day Coney Island Photo Diary by Bruce Handy

December 7, 2012: Photo Album: Signs of the Times in Post-Sandy Coney Island

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

October 31, 2011: Photo Album: Snowtober in Coney Island by Bruce Handy

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McCullough's Kiddie Park

Kiddie Wheel Being Taken Down, McCullough’s Kiddie Park, Coney Island. October 15, 2012. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

On Monday, workers at McCullough’s Kiddie Park at the corner of West 12th Street and the Bowery in Coney Island began dismantling the little yellow wheel and the Herschell carousel under the gaze of the Bumblebees. As ATZ reported last month, the park’s lease with property owner Thor Equities ended this year (Exclusive: McCullough’s Kiddie Park Closing After 50 Years in Coney Island, ATZ, September 4, 2012). Since the parties could not agree to terms of a lease renewal, Jimmy McCullough, who is Coney’s oldest ride operator, is closing his family’s last remaining business here.

“Jimmy McCullough and the McCullough family would like to thank our customers for generations and decades, and all of our business associates in Coney Island,” said his daughter Carol McCullough in an interview with ATZ in September. The McCullough family has operated amusements here for four generations and is related to the Tilyous of Steeplechase Park. In the 1950s, they had Kiddielands at Surf Avenue and 15th Street as well as Surf Avenue and 8th Street next to the Cyclone. The Kiddie Park at 12th Street has been in operation since the 1960s and had ten kiddie rides after a sublease expired on an adjacent property also owned by Thor Equities.

The McCullough family’s lasting legacy is the three historic wooden carousels that they once operated in Coney Island. The rides remain in New York City’s parks: the Prospect Park Carousel, the Flushing Meadows Carousel, and the B&B Carousell, which will reopen in Coney Island’s new Steeplechase Plaza in 2013.

McCullough's Kiddie Park

Aerial View of McCullough’s Kiddie Park. October 14, 2012. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

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