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Posts Tagged ‘Parks Department’

concrete boardwalk

Slab Walk: The new concrete slab section of the Coney Island boardwalk in Brighton Beach. October 26, 2011. Copyright © silversalty via flickr. All Rights Reserved

The New Year brings a new petition from concretewalk opponent and founder of the Coney-Brighton Boardwalk Alliance Rob Burstein. “Keep the Boards in the Coney Island Boardwalk–No Concrete! and Save the Rainforests” is circulating among our Coney friends on Facebook and has already gathered more than 365 signatures out of goal of 5,000. Addressed to 23 elected and appointed officials, the petition’s goal is to put a stop once and for all to the Parks Department’s plan to pave all but four blocks of the 2.7 mile Boardwalk with concrete and plastic wood. Some parts of the Boardwalk, like the spot in the above photo, have already been paved as part of a pilot project. The petition says in part:

If the Parks Department has its way, the Boardwalk will be turned into a concrete sidewalk! Their explanation for this choice is the citywide dictate to limit the use of rainforest wood, but there are in fact many other options available. Send a message to New York’s Parks Department to tell them that the choice is not between saving the rainforest and saving the Boardwalk — the correct choice is to do both! Stop the use of rainforest wood, and replace it with one of the available sustainable domestic hardwoods such as Black Locust or White Oak for the surface decking (the part that we all see and on which we walk). The support structure underneath should be made from recycled plastic lumber, which the U.S. Army has used to build bridges that support tanks and locomotives. This design would be both cost-effective and desirable, and, most importantly, would preserve the basic elements of what makes the wondrous Coney Island Boardwalk a boardwalk.

Brighton Beach

A walk in the mist, Brighton Beach. April 3, 2009. Copyright © silversalty via flickr. All Rights Reserved

The last time ATZ wrote about the proposed concretewalk was in October, when the City’s Public Design Commission refused to approve the Parks Department’s plan. The PDC, a distinguished group of architects, artists and representatives of the City’s cultural institutions, told Parks that more environmental and engineering studies were needed to address the questions that they had.

According to a report on the blog A Walk in the Park, no one on the commission supported the use of concrete. “Why do we need the concrete at all,” one commissioner said. It was a victory for concretewalk opponents, winning time to organize more support for keeping the boards in the Coney Island Boardwalk.

UPDATE, March 13, 2012…

For an update read “The 10 People Who Will Decide the Fate of Coney Island Boardwalk” (ATZ, March 9, 2012)

The Coney-Brighton Boardwalk Alliance’s website http://savetheboardwalk.wordpress.com went live on March 5, 2012 while an online petition continues to gather signatures.

concretewalk

Toeing the Line. Brighton Beach, New York. October 26, 2011. Copyright © silversalty via flickr. All Rights Reserved

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Related posts on ATZ…

February 29, 2012: Exclusive: Coney Boardwalk Group’s Letter to PDC Rebuts Parks

December 4, 2011: Brass Ring Dept: Coney Island “Carousell” RFP Up for Grabs

May 5, 2011: May 7: Coney Island Boardwalk Trash Can Art Contest

November 15, 2010: Nov 16: Concrete, Wood or Plastic? Discussion on Future of Coney Island Boardwalk

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Coney Island Lifeguard

Coney Island Lifeguard. Photo © Joe Fishman. All Rights Reserved

Wanna spend your summer getting paid to get a great tan and sand between your toes on Coney Island’s Beach? If you’re a strong swimmer, the time to apply to be a New York City Parks lifeguard is now. The qualifying test for the 2012 summer season is being held through January 13 at Chelsea Recreation Center in Manhattan on weekdays at 4:30 pm and 6:30 pm. Additional sites and dates are listed on the “Become a Lifeguard” page of the New York City Parks Department’s website.

Swimmers who pass the test will be enrolled in the 40-hour Municipal Lifeguard Training Program and upon completion may be offered one of 1,200 jobs watching over New York City’s 20 million swimmers. First-year lifeguards earn a minimum of $13.57 per hour for a weekly salary of over $650.

Can you request Coney Island duty? A Parks spokesman tells ATZ that assignments are by seniority, but lifeguards may request a preferred or convenient location. Beach lifeguards must be able to swim 440 yards in 6 minutes and 40 seconds and must also complete a 300-yard ocean swim prior to receiving their assignment.

To qualify, you must:

— Be able to swim 50 yards in 35 seconds with proper form.
— Have a minimum of 20/30 vision in one eye and 20/40 in the other, without corrective lenses. Glasses and contact lenses
may not be worn during the eye exam.
— Be at least 16 years old when the position begins.

Oh, and it can’t hurt to memorize the lyrics to Blotto’s ’80s hit “I, I, I Wanna Be a Lifeguard…” According to the band’s official history, in 1980, “Blotto even had something most other bands didn’t at the time – a music video, thanks to the efforts of two SUNY students who filmed the band for a senior project. ‘I Wanna Be A Lifeguard’ was among the videos aired on MTV’s first broadcast day, and remained in heavy rotation for months.”

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Forest Park Carousel

The Forest Park Carousel. June 12, 2008. Photo © Rorrises via flickr

On Tuesday, the City’s Parks Department issued an RFP (Request for Proposals) to renovate, operate and maintain the antique carousels in Flushing Meadows Park and Forest Park in Queens for a 15-year term. It’s the fourth go-round for an RFP to run the Forest Park Carousel, which has been shuttered since September 2008, and the second for Flushing Meadows. Parks did not receive any proposals for their first two RFPs for the Forest Park ride, though there were responses to the most recent RFP in April, which also included the Flushing Meadows Carousel.

After the last RFP was issued in April, a Parks Department spokesman said there were no suitable proposals, according to Project Woodhaven, a local website that has been advocating for the reopening of their neighborhood carousel. Here’s a video they made on the occasion of the site tour in April 2011. Let’s hope the fourth time round is the charm for Forest Park!

The Forest Park ride was manufactured in Philadelphia in 1910 and is one of two Daniel Muller carousels still in operation. “In his dedication to reality, Muller would carve stitching holes in the saddles and insert heavy thread to give the illusion that real leather had been used,” writes William Manns in Painted Ponies: American Carousel Art. “”His Indian Ponies were adorned with lifelike feathers and his saddles and bridles sometimes were carved to resemble tooled leather.”

The Flushing Meadows Carousel has a Coney Island pedigree. It is the work of amusement ride inventor and manufacturer William F Mangels and developer of the “Coney Island style of carousel wood carving” Marcus C Illions. The ride is comprised of two Coney island carousels that were combined and brought to Queens for the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. The frame, organ, chariots and 47 horses are from the Stubbman Carousel (1908) and 24 horses are from the Feltman Carousel (1903).

Flushing Meadows Carousel

Flushing Meadows Carousel. May 9, 2009. Photo © agent j loves agent a via flickr

Close-up photos of some of Muller’s and Illions’ carvings may be viewed on the “Carousels: Queens” page of RoadsideArchitecture.com

How much can a concessionaire expect to make operating the two Queens carousels? In 2008, the Forest Park Carousel had gross receipts of $72,000. The guaranteed annual fee to Parks was $20,000 or 10 per cent of gross receipts. In previous years the annual fee ranged from $15,000 to $17,500. In 2010 – 2011, the Flushing Meadows Carousel had gross receipts of $160,554 for carousel rides, $76,824 for food sales, $37,205 for toy sales, and $1,036 for special events. The guaranteed annual fee to Parks was $80,000 or 10 per cent of gross receipts.

According to the current RFP, “In the last agreement, the fee paid to Parks was the higher of the minimum annual fee or percentage of gross receipts. However, in responding to this request for proposal, proposers should express their fee offer only as a flat fee, and not on a percentage of gross receipts.”

 Flushing Meadows Carousel

A busy day at the carousel in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, June 1968. Courtesy of the Parks Department Photo Archive

Here’s the hitch: the City requires a substantial investment from the operator, who is responsible for all costs associated with the renovation, operation, and maintenance of the antique rides and their pavilions. According to an article in last week’s Queens Chronicle, the cost of renovation work on the Forest Park Carousel adds up to about $150,000. But there is already one potential proposer: Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven) recently met with the Parks Department and reps from Independence Residences Inc., an area nonprofit interested in operating the carousel, the paper reported.

Proposals for the current RFP, which may include the option to develop and operate a “family amusement venue” at Forest Park and “children’s amusement rides” and mobile food units and souvenir carts at Flushing Meadows Park are due on January 27, 2012. An on-site proposer meeting and site tour will be held at both locations on January 12th.

Last month the City’s Parks Department also issued an RFP to operate and maintain the restored B & B Carousell at Coney Island’s Steeplechase Plaza next to the landmark Parachute Jump. Proposals to operate the B & B are due on January 17, 2012. (Update: On December 30th, Parks sent out an addendum to provide a website where available plans may be downloaded and extended the deadline for the B & B to January 30th)

carousel tiger

Forest Park Carousel Tiger. Courtesy of the Parks Department Photo Archive

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December 4, 2011: Brass Ring Dept: Coney Island “Carousell” RFP Up for Grabs

February 1, 2011: Bring Back the Whip! A Birthday Gift for William F Mangels

December 8, 2010: Children’s Book Tells Coney Island Carousel Carver’s Story

February 26, 2010: Made in Brooklyn: The World’s Only Jet-Powered Merry-Go-Round

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B & B Carousell

Painting and signage at B & B Carousell, Coney Island. August 2005. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Wanna grab the brass ring in the new Coney Island? New York City is seeking an operator for Coney’s historic B & B Carousell, which was saved from auction in 2005 when the City purchased the ride for $1.8 million. If you fancy the idea of running it, there’s a proposers meeting on Tuesday at 11 am at the Arsenal in Central Park that you shouldn’t miss. Last month the City’s Parks Department issued an RFP (Request for Proposals) to operate and maintain the restored 1919 carousel at the new Steeplechase Plaza next to the landmark Parachute Jump. Proposals to operate the B & B are due on January 17, 2012. (December 30, 2011 Update: Parks sent out an addendum today to provide a website where available plans may be downloaded and extended the deadline to January 30th)

In the RFP, the $2.00 ticket price for a whirl on the Central Park Carousel is cited as a point of reference for proposers. In 2009, the Central Park Carousel took in $188,123 and the concession fee there is $7,500 per month, according to the New York Post. You may not get rich selling tickets, but the ten-year lease for the B & B also includes a food service facility, merchandise kiosks, vending machines and a special event room, which is expected to be a popular spot for birthday parties.

B & B Carousell

B & B Carousell, Coney Island. August 2005. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The carousels in Central Park and Prospect Park as well as the horses on the Flushing Meadows Carousel were all relocated from Coney Island, which once had dozens of operating carousels. B & B is short for Bishoff and Brienstein, who brought the carousel back home to Coney Island from New Jersey’s Bertrand Island in 1932. The frame was the work of Coney’s William F. Mangels Carousell Works and the carvings were done by Charles Carmel. Jimmy McCullough and Mike Saltzstein owned and operated the ride since the 1970s.

These snapshots of the B & B were taken with a film camera in August 2005 after the City purchased the carousel. It was the last time that we saw the B & B. The ride was soon packed up and moved from its longtime location on the north side of Surf Avenue and sent to Ohio for restoration. A fairground art collector once told us that the scenic art gracing the B & B and its pavilion was the work of August Wolfinger, a German immigrant who worked closely with Mangels. As a banner painter he was known as “The Michelangelo of the Midway.” Some of the medallions and signs shown in the photos will be back on view when the B & B reopens in Steeplechase Plaza in 2013. The ride will be installed in a glass pavilion with large-scale neon lettering spelling B & B CAROUSELL with a double L, of course.

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Related posts on ATZ…

May 26, 2013: A Portrait of Abe Lincoln on Coney Island’s B&B Carousell

February 1, 2011: Bring Back the Whip! A Birthday Gift for William F Mangels

December 8, 2010: Children’s Book Tells Coney Island Carousel Carver’s Story

February 26, 2010: Made in Brooklyn: The World’s Only Jet-Powered Merry-Go-Round

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