Advertisements
Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘rides’

Before television, newsreels like this one filmed in Coney Island circa 1945 were shown in movie theaters. The film starts with the Wonder Wheel (described by the narrator as “a mass of iron lace”) and ends with the Parachute Jump (“the highest in the whole United States”) and the Cyclone (“mountain climbing on wheels”). Among the long-vanished rides that appear are the Virginia Reel, Looper, Whip, Octopus, Caterpillar, Rocket Ships, a carousel with a ring machine and the original Steeplechase horse race.

Share

Related posts on ATZ…

September 9, 2012: On the 5th Anniversary of the Closing of Astroland

August 27, 2012: Video of the Day: Raw Footage of 1960s Coney Island

August 16, 2011: Video of the Day: “IT Girl” Clara Bow in Coney Island

March 10, 2011: Video: Seasons of the Cyclone Roller Coaster by Charles Denson

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Brooklyn Borough Prez Marty Markowitz and Borough Historian Ron Schweiger on the Cyclone’s Opening Day of the Season. After Labor Day, the Cyclone is open weekends through Sept 20. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Brooklyn Borough Prez Marty Markowitz, Borough Historian Ron Schweiger and Erik Knapp’s Tattoo on the Cyclone’s Opening Day of the Season. After Labor Day, the Cyclone is open weekends through Sept 20. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

UPDATE: This is a post from September 2009! Please see report from September 13, 2013: “Coney Island Always: Visiting the Big CI Year-Round” here.

After Labor Day, Coney Island’s beach “officially” closed for the summer, the Ringling Circus left for Europe and Thor Equities’ on-again, off-again “Dreamland Amusement Park” with its dozen rides became an empty lot again. Contrary to popular perception, the rest of Coney Island remains open. The amusement area still has over 40 operating rides including the City-owned Cyclone roller coaster, open weekends through September 20, McCullough’s Kiddie Park (12 rides), open weekends through September, and Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park (22 rides) and Eldorado Bumper Cars open weekends through October. Weather permitting of course. Call ahead for hours.

Eldorado Auto Skooter. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Eldorado Auto Skooter. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

What’s more, Coney’s quirky performers and cultural entrepreneurs have dreamed up some unique events to lure you to our sandy shore. This weekend’s calendar includes the 1st annual Coney Island Performance Festival, the 2nd annual Beard and Moustache Competition, and a Pat Benatar Tribute at the Dreamland Roller Rink. Check the Coney Island Fun Guide for details of upcoming events such as the Coney Island Tattoo & Motorcycle Show (Sept 20), Shakespeare’s The Tempest on the Beach (Sept 26-27) and the Coney Island Film Festival (Oct 2-4). True to the spirit of the People’s Playground, the events are free or reasonably priced, so come out to “the Island” and have some post-beach season fun!

SATURDAY & SUNDAY, SEPT 12-13
Meet me by the Jellyfish Tank in the Aquarium for Parachute: The Coney Island Performance Festival.
Poet and festival organizer Amanda Deutch has lined up a talented array of Brooklyn-based writers and performers for the first annual event. Africasso, Patricia Spears Jones, John Ventimiglia from The Sopranos reading Henry Miller, Eileen Myles (“the rock star of modern poetry”), former Brooklyn Poet Laureate Dennis Nurkse and Coney historian Charles Denson are among the scheduled readers. The free event begins at 6:30 pm. Prior to the performance, visitors can stop by the Coney Island History Project under the Cyclone from 2-6 pm to pick up a festival program, have a free cup of Stumptown coffee, view photos of Astroland circa 1964, and ring the century-old Dreamland Pier Bell.
Parachute: The Coney Island Performance Festival, New York Aquarium, 6:30 pm, FREE. Surf Ave @ West 8th Street, (718) 265-FISH.
Coney Island History Project, 2 – 6 pm, FREE. 824 Surf Ave under the Cyclone, (718) 266-0012

Halston & Donny Vomit. Photo © ci_moustache via flickr

Halston & Donny Vomit. Photo © ci_moustache via flickr

SATURDAY, SEPT 12
The hairiest event of the season at the Coney Island Circus Sideshow is undoubtedly the Coney Island Beard and Moustache Competition. Hosted by the sideshow’s moustachioed m.c. and performer extraordinaire Donny Vomit, the Variety and Awards show features Albert Cadabra the Great Deceiver and special guest performer Jennifer Miller the Bearded Lady. Prizes will be awarded for best natural and best styled beard or moustache, best in show, worst in show and best female fake beard or stache. The Coney Island Circus Sideshow remains open weekends through the end of September. Special events are scheduled in October.
The Second Annual Coney Island Beard and Moustache Competition, Sideshows By The Seashore Theater, 6 – 9 pm, $10. 12th Street @ Surf Ave, 718 372 5159

FRIDAY-SUNDAY, Sept 11-13
Shadows of the Night! Pat Benatar Roller Skating Tribute Party at Lola Staar’s Dreamland Roller Rink. $12 admission/$10 with “80s Rock n’ roll glam attire.” Skate rentals available for $5, Free skate rentals before 8:30 pm. The Dreamland Roller Rink in the terracotta palace known as the Childs Building on the Boardwalk will be open weekends through the end of September.
–Every Friday Night: Funk-Gospel-Soul Skate Party, 7 -11 pm, $10
–Weekly Family Skate on Saturdays, 2 – 6 pm, $10
–Every Sunday: Retro Disco Skate at Dreamland Roller Rink, 3- 7 pm, $10
Dreamland Roller Rink, 3053 W 21st St on the Boardwalk, 800-362-5116

Dreamland Roller Rink

Lola Staars Dreamland Roller Rink. Photo © Bruce Handy (Pablo57) via flickr

Here’s a quick rundown of what’s open year round…..Nathan’s, New York Aquarium, the Coney Island Museum (Sat-Sun), Williams Candy, Coney Island Beach Shop. Visitors may tour the area 365 days a year with the Coney Island History Project’s free audio/video tour of “The Amusement Area: Past and Present.” The tour is downloadable to iPods and other portable players and may be listened to live via iPhone. The free download and a map are available on the History Project’s website.

Cotton candy is a summer treat, but the NY Aquarium is open year round.  Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Cotton candy is a summer treat, but the NY Aquarium is open year round. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Share

Read Full Post »

On location in Coney Island: Reverchon Himalaya recently purchased by Geren Rides from Cumberland Valley Shows.  Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

On location in Coney Island: Reverchon Himalaya recently purchased by Geren Rides from Cumberland Valley Shows. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

In anticipation of a third season on Thor Equities property in Coney Island, carnival operator Glenn Geren recently purchased a Schwarzkopf Wildcat Coaster, Reverchon Himalaya, Watkins Swinger and Tempest, and Bumper Cars from Cumberland Valley Shows through usedrides.com. For the past two summers, Geren Rides of Valdosta, Georgia, has operated 10 rides in “Dreamland,” the temporary amusement park on Thor Equities vacant lots in Coney Island.

The news that real estate speculator and Thor CEO Joe Sitt is close to selling his Coney Island property to the City doesn’t worry Geren. Does the carnival operator know something we don’t know? “I’ve just got an assurance is all I have,” says Geren, who admits he doesn’t have a contract with Thor. “I was told if we don’t set up on this side of Coney Island, we’d set up on the other side of Coney Island. I’ve been testing the waters and I’ve already made a pretty good investment for next year.”

The five rides were purchased from Cumberland Valley Shows of Lebanon, Tenn., which had the equipment in storage at their winter quarters for several years. Jeremy Floyd of CVS confirmed that the coaster purchased by Geren was a Wildcat owned by his family’s carnival. A coaster website had previously listed CVS’s portable coaster as a Pinfari Zyklon. The first steel coaster made by famed roller coaster designer Anton Schwarzkopf, Wildcat coasters can be found at Washington State’s Puyallup Fair and the Jolly Roger Amusement Park in Ocean City, Md.

Wildcat at Jolly Roger Amusement Park in Ocean City, Maryland. Photo © www.CanobieFan.com via flickr

Schwarzkopf Wildcat Coaster at Jolly Roger Amusement Park in Ocean City, Maryland. Photo © http://www.CanobieFan.com via flickr

photo via Canobie Fan, flickr

Early this season, the Coney Island Rumor Mill was sayin’ a Zyklon was coming to Dreamland. Thor Equities CEO Joe Sitt promised “two dozen rides” in a statement in Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz’s summer newsletter and Sitt’s spokesman kept insisting the rides were on the way! It turns out Geren had expected to close on the rides before the Fourth of July, but financing was delayed. When can we expect the Wildcat in Coney Island? “I’m gonna see if I can get it here for Labor Day but if not it’ll be for sure Easter of next year,” says Geren. “Actually it would probably be better if the park were closed to set up because it takes 7 semis to haul it.”

ATZ talked with Geren after his Wisdom Himalaya packed up last week and Coney ride fans began to ask if this year would be a repeat of last. In 2008, Thor Equities much-hyped Dreamland Park on Stillwell Avenue was supposed to run through Labor Day, but Geren’s Himalaya left Coney Island in mid-July for a Tennessee fair and the rest of his rides soon followed. Thor’s so-called “Dreamland” disintegrated into empty lots while the rest of Coney Island’s amusement rides and attractions remained open through September.

This year Dreamland will remain open, Geren says. The Wisdom Himalaya left Coney Island for Tennessee’s Putnam County Fair and the Spin Out will follow, but the rest of his rides—the Ring of Fire, Scrambler, Trabant and kiddie rides will stay for the rest of the season. “I’ve got other rides coming in. Actually I’ve already got my Bumper Cars here parked behind Nathan’s and there’s two more trailer loads of Himalaya parked over there too.” The Reverchon Himalaya, which takes three trailers, is currently on site being sanded and painted in preparation for set up. If you’re planning a visit to Coney, don’t let that dissuade you because Coney Island currently has 56 rides and 30 more days of summer!

Just Arrived... Bumper Cars & Himalaya Parked Behind Nathans. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Just Arrived... Bumper Cars & Himalaya Parked Behind Nathan's. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

With only 30 days left till Labor Day, the question is will Dreamland’s replacement rides be set up and ready to open before the season is over? Geren hopes to have the rides up and running within a couple of weeks. As for whether the season will be extended through September, Geren says “I’m kind of in uncharted waters here.”

In fact, all of Coney Island is uncharted waters since the City’s Rezoning passed in the City Council. But Geren’s certainty that he’ll be back in Coney in 2010 doesn’t surprise us in the least. As a reporter for the trade publication Amusement Business, I’d interviewed Geren and found him to be a risk taker. The show owner made waves in the fair industry in 2003 when he bought 13 fair and festival contracts for $114,010 plus 15% of ride grosses at the bankruptcy proceedings of United Shows. He’s kept some of these spots, but he’s also lost some. “I’m either a gambler or a fool,” Geren says with a laugh.

The biggest gambler or fool may turn out to be the City for going ahead and passing the Coney rezoning before a deal was in place with Thor Equities. Now that Sitt’s land has been upzoned, it’s going to be vastly more expensive to purchase and the City has lost bargaining power. Is Sitt under any obligation to sell to the City? What’s stopping him from flipping it to another developer just as he did with Washington Baths and Albee Square Mall? As Joe Sitt famously said last month, “I’m the guy who controls this – it’s my sandbox.” Nice spot for a Schwarzkopf.

Coney Island 2010 Update: The Contenders from A to Z: Coney Island Amusement Operator RFP

Related posts on ATZ…

April 28, 2010: New Coney Island Coaster Pays Homage to Luna Park’s 1906 Tickler

March 29, 2010: Photo of the Day: First Ride of the Season on Coney Island’s Cyclone!

February 22, 2010: Coney Island’s Luna Park Launches Blog Site, Lists Job Openings

February 3, 2010: New in 2010: Coney Island Fun Phone Addition to CI Fun Guide

Share

Read Full Post »

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

Share

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

Read Full Post »

This Dragon Wagon Kiddie Coaster in Coney Island was purchased by Butler Amusements last year from Michael Jacksons Neverland Ranch. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

This Dragon Wagon Kiddie Coaster in Coney Island was purchased by Butler Amusements last year from Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

On the Boardwalk side of Joe Sitt’s “Dreamland Park” on the former Astroland site, you’ll find the Dragon Wagon Kiddie Coaster. The Wisdom Industries ride is a familiar sight on the carnival circuit. But the Coney Island ride’s claim to fame is that it came out of Michael Jackson’s private amusement park at Neverland Ranch.

Although the Dreamland Dragon Wagon’s history has not been publicized, Jackson’s death has thrust the former Neverland rides at carnivals and parks across the country into the media spotlight. At Beech Bend Park in Bowling Green, Ky, which has the pirate ship ride said to be Jackson’s favorite, complimentary rides were offered as a tribute to the King of Pop and a temporary memorial will soon be replaced with a permanent plaque. Will Coney’s Dragon Wagon follow suit with its own tribute to Michael Jackson?

ATZ learned of the Coney Island ride’s Neverland provenance earlier this month in a conversation with the ride’s owner, Earl “Butch” Butler, CEO of California-based Butler Amusements. The carnival owner purchased four rides from the Jackson ranch last year including the Balloon Samba ride, which is currently at California’s Alameda County Fair. Butler is the new carnival provider for the California State Fair and has a strong fair and festival route in California, Oregon and Washington State.

Butler Amusements Cotton Candy Wagon in Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Butler Amusements Cotton Candy Wagon in Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

As a reporter for the trade publication Amusement Business, I’d interviewed Butler and found him to be a class act. His show was awarded the prestigious Circle of Excellence Designation by the Outdoor Amusement Business Association (OABA) in 2005. When ATZ saw “Butler Amusements” name on the cotton candy trailer in Thor Equities’ temporary park in Coney Island, we were absolutely astonished. What made Butler come all the way from California to Coney’s sandy shore when East Coast ride operators galore turned down offers to play Joe Sitt’s Dreamland? We figured either Butler knew something we didn’t (Sitt decides to sit on land and offers multi-year contracts?) or we knew something Butler didn’t (Joe Sitt said amusements don’t make money. Shopping is the new amusement, full speed ahead with rezoning for big box retail!). We phoned Butler to get the scoop.

It turns out that Butler’s Coney connection is his friend and fellow Californian John Strong whose sideshow has been operating in Sitt’s would-be Dreamland since April. “John grew up on our show,” said Butler, “but has since gone off on his own. He said, ‘you’ve got to come out and see this.’ ” At first Butler thought Coney Island was too far, but Strong kept calling him and said they were having trouble getting rides. Butler agreed to fly out and see the situation. His impression: “Coney Island needs upgrading.”

New Ride on the Skyline: Butler Amusements Star Dancer. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

New Ride on the Skyline: Butler Amusements Star Dancer. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Butler agreed to send four rides from his arsenal of 135 rides. The rides include the Star Dancer, a 101-foot tower ride by Larsen International that combines the carousel and Gondola wheel. It offers a spectacular view of the midway. “The Star Dancer would fit here because people could look out over the beach and the Boardwalk,” said Butler, who noted that he could spare the ride because it’s not popular at fairs where it loses riders to more thrilling rides. He also sent a jewel box of a carousel equipped with menagerie animals as well as horses. The ride had been in storage since it came out of a mall in Chula Vista. The kiddie rides are the Dragon Wagon purchased from Neverland in 2008 and a walk-though play attraction called Kid Zone.

Cat figure on Butler Amusements Carousel. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Cat figure on Butler Amusements Carousel. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Asked if he would be sending more rides, Butler said he sent the four rides to “test market” Coney Island. He also sent his right hand man Bobby Merten, former owner of B & B Amusements, to set up the rides and oversee operations for the first couple of weeks. Butler’s strong fair route precludes sending more rides at this time, but he has hopes of putting kiddie rides in Thor Equities “Flea by the Sea” tents on Stillwell for the Christmas season.

ATZ has spoken with East Coast amusement operators who declined offers to bring their rides to Sitt’s temporary park due to inflated rents or because they already have a strong route and cannot spare the rides. One operator told ATZ the rent was twice as much as he would expect to pay. Asked about his contractual arrangements with Sitt, Butler said that he has a one-year contract with an option for another year, and that the rent was 35 per cent higher than what he would usually pay.

Butler Amusements Star Dancer in Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Butler Amusements Star Dancer in Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Although Butler has over 135 rides, he also has major commitments including contracts with four state fairs with concurrent dates: the California State Fair, (Aug 21-Sept 7), the Evergreen Washington State Fair (40 rides; Aug 27-Sept-7) and both the Western and Eastern Idaho State Fairs (late August-early September). In the case of Cal Expo, Butler’s new contract is for a ten-year term and requires him to provide a minimum of 55 rides, 40 games and 13 food stands.

This illustrates the absurdity of Thor Equities so-called efforts to recruit amusement operators to bring spectacular or major rides to Coney Island. If amusement ride operators are operating on a year to year basis, they simply can’t afford to invest in new equipment. As for whether the temporary fair that Joe Sitt calls “Dreamland Park” will be operating next year, much depends on whether the City rezoning plan for Coney Island passes in the City Council this month. And whether or not the City comes to some kind of 11th hour deal to acquire the property from Thor Equities.

Medallion on Butler Amusements Carousel in Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Medallion on Butler Amusements Carousel in Coney Island. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Share

Related posts on ATZ…

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

August 26, 2009: Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ride for Sale in Coney Island!

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

July 8, 2009: Coney Island Wish List: Michael Jackson’s Bumper Car Ride for Sale on eBay

Read Full Post »

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.

Share

Related posts on ATZ…

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!

Read Full Post »

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!

Share

Related posts on ATZ…

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

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: