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Posts Tagged ‘ride operator’

Coney Island Zip LineThis summer in Coney Island may be remembered as the year people harnessed up and took flight over the upturned heads of astonished visitors. Scream Zone’s 110-foot-tall SkyCoaster, which debuted in May as “Boardwalk Flight,” has riders soaring out over the Boardwalk. Next month, Patrick Ingram of Category 5 Ziplines plans to install a 60-foot-high, 400-foot-long zip line in Coney Island that will let riders glide in the sky over Stillwell Avenue.

“I’m a skydiver who has taught people how to skydive without jumping out of airplanes,” says Ingram, owner of Michigan-based Category 5 Productions. “I started with wind tunnels twelve years ago. It evolved into zip lines over the past three years.” Coney Island Zip Line is expected to open July 21st with four stationary zip lines.

Ingram tells ATZ that the starting point will be just beyond the new MegaWhirl ride in Cha Cha’s Steeplechase Park on the east side of Stillwell. The zip line will traverse Stillwell Avenue, with its ending point being on the other side of the BK Festival’s vendors behind Nathan’s Famous! “It’s a little longer than your typical zip line, which is 200 to 300 feet,” he says. The ride itself is about 25 seconds but the entire experience from the time the rider gets into the harness is 15 to 20 minutes.

Ingram says that he has installed and operated zip lines at college events as well as last year’s Oshkosh Air Show. In addition to Coney Island, Category 5 Ziplines are planned for Miami and Alabama’s Gulf Shore this year. An ad on New York’s Craigslist is seeking a crew of eight to ten to help operate the Coney Island Zip Line. Says Ingram, “We expect to be there in the next couple of weeks, putting the rigging together and getting the staff trained.”

Coney Island Zip Line

Originally planned to open on July 1, the zip line’s debut has been rescheduled for July 21 due to paperwork delays. “It’s taken a bit longer than we thought to get the engineering drawings required for this project,” says Ingram, who adds that everyone he’s working with in New York City is excited about the zip line.

An introductory special on Pinchit offering 50 per cent off regular prices expires today, but he plans to offer similar deals via Living Social and Groupon. The regular price will be $20 on weekdays and $25 on weekends, with a $100 All-Day Zip Pass including an express line. Customers must weigh between 85 and 230 pounds, wear closed toe shoes and sign a waiver.

UPDATE September 14, 2012

The abandoned zipline was finally dismantled and trucked away in May of 2013! Exclusive: Coney Island Zip Line to Be Dismantled Today (ATZ, April 30, 2013)

UPDATE September 14, 2012

Long-Delayed Coney Island Zipline Is Officially Open!
PS: Please read this post and news updates in comments before coming out to ride!

UPDATE August 5, 2012

Coney Island Zip Line Still Under Construction, ATZ, August 5, 2012.

UPDATE July 31, 2012

The zip line is currently being assembled by a crew of about 17 or 18 people! It is being set up behind Nathan’s and runs from the Bowery and Stillwell Avenue to West 15th Street.

UPDATE July 22, 2012

BK Festival spokesman William McCarthy responded to an email query that we sent today: “Working on permits – I will give you positive update as soon as we get through process.”

UPDATE July 21, 2012

The zip line was nowhere to be found today. It wasn’t set up in Coney Island. Rumor on the street is it won’t be opening, but we can’t confirm it. The person who was set to be the on-site manager of the operation did not return calls for comment.

UPDATE July 15, 2012

On Saturday in Coney Island flyers along Stillwell Avenue advertised interviews for jobs working the zip line. Mark Zientek, operations manager at Cha Cha’s Steeplechase Park, told ATZ that the zip line is expected to arrive in Coney Island on Wednesday. He said the zip line will be located on the west side of Stillwell Avenue in the BK Festival lot behind Nathan’s. It will not traverse Stillwell Avenue as originally planned by the operator.

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August 19, 2012: BK Festival Vendors Back in Business, Coney Zipline Isn’t

June 15, 2012: Amusing the Zillion’s Guide to Free Summer Events in Coney Island

February 24, 2012: Summer Jobs: From Coney Island to the Carnival Midway

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

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Employees at Luna Park Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

UPDATE: See post for 2015 season here: “Coney Island Amusement Park Jobs from Entry Level to Managerial Up for Grabs,” February 22, 2015

Running away with the carnival is easy but sticking with it through the end of the season is hard work. Once upon a time it was a rite of passage for American kids who wanted to see the world beyond their hometowns. Nowadays, the amusement industry still recruits high-school grads and college students, as well as retirees and others with merry-go-round memories and itchy feet. If you’d like to work in Coney Island or travel across the country with a carnival, now is the time of year to apply for a job.

Next week, Central Amusement International, operator of Coney Island’s Luna Park and Scream Zone, and Nathan’s Famous, together with the Coney Island Development Corporation, will begin recruiting for seasonal positions. “This is a unique opportunity to become a part of ‘The One and Only Coney’ by joining the team of dedicated employees that make Coney Island an entertainment destination worldwide,” says the CIDC event flyer for the upcoming screenings. (Update: If you are viewing this post in 2014, check out this season’s job information at “A Head Start on Summer Jobs in Coney Island”

The job screenings are February 28, March 1, April 24 and April 26, 2012 from 12 noon till 6 pm at the Brooklyn Cyclones’ MCU Park, 1904 Surf Avenue in Coney Island. In past years, nearly a thousand people have shown up on a single day, so we recommend getting there early. Qualified candidates, who must be 18 years of age or older, will be referred for an interview. Seasonal jobs include Ride and Game Operators, Food and Beverage Service, Park Service, Customer Service/Retail Sales and Ticket Sales Associates/Cashiers.

Lunatic Dance Team, Luna Park Coney Island. July 15, 2011. Photo © Jim McDonnell. All Rights Reserved.

If you’re reading this after the screening events have taken place or can’t make it, visit the Career Opportunities pages at Nathan’s Famous and Luna Park and also check Craigslist. Luna Park currently has an ad on Craigslist for dancers and performers for the Lunatic Promotion Team, which pays $10 per hour. According to the ad, “the team will attend offsite promotions to inform new guests about the park and all the amazing things Coney Island has to offer. The second task will be to handle on-site events, promotions, photo opportunities and guests experience surveys.” Performers, including singers, dancers and DJs, will take part in the Cyclone roller coaster’s 85th birthday celebration and Coney Island’s first end of the summer concert.

Game operator

Game operator with North American Midway Entertainment. Via Facebook.com/Namidway

A dozen years ago, homesick for the midways of my carnival childhood, I went on the road with S & S Amusements, touring the Pennsylvania fairs. Since then, I’ve worked as a game agent with Wade Shows at New York City’s “Big A” Fair, the Delaware State Fair, the Michigan State Fair and the Central Florida Fair, and on Coney Island’s Jones Walk. One advantage to working in Coney is being able to sleep in my apartment at night, though when I got home from being on the road all summer it took a bit of getting used to having townhouses across the way instead of a Tilt-A-Whirl.

“The carnival business, which supports America’s state and sounty fairs, festivals and community events, needs seasonal workers who are willing to travel, work nights, weekends and Holidays,” Bob Johnson, President of the Outdoor Amusement Business Association tells ATZ. A look at the websites of OABA member carnivals shows that these carnivals are hiring ride operators and attendants, food and game agents, maintenance, electricians and welders. “Weekly pay is based on State and Federal minimum wage rates, and other State regulations, such as overtime pay,” notes Johnson “Over 5 million seasonal workers support this industry and many come back year after year as they love to travel and entertain over 300 million patrons who visit the carnival midways.”

North American Midway Entertainment

Ride operators with North American Midway Entertainment. Via Facebook.com/Namidway

If the idea of traveling to 20 states and 4 Canadian provinces, including 10 of the top 50 fairs in North America is appealing, then you may want to check out North American Midway Entertainment’s Careers page.

ATZ talked with Ed Dame, Director of Operations for NAME, “the world’s largest traveling outdoor amusement park,” about opportunities with his company. “Eighty percent of our employees are locals,” he said. “We advertise in newspapers and state workforce agencies.” The carnival company has an Employee Appreciation Program, which rewards workers with gift certificates, iPads and computers.

Group activities include day trips to Major League baseball games, Banff, Niagara Falls and New York City, as well as BBQs, bowling nights and jamborees. Among the fairs played by NAME are The Eastern States Exposition in Massachusetts, Toronto’s CNE, the Calgary Stampede, Miami-Dade County Fair & Expo and State Fairs in Mississippi, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois.

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January 10, 2014: A Head Start on Summer Jobs in Coney Island

February 2, 2010: Traveler: North American Midway’s Giant Vertical Swing at Super Bowl!

August 16, 2009: Coney Island Carnival Games: My Photo Album

January 26, 2010: Scoop: Zamperla’s $24M Coney Island Park to be Named Luna Park!

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