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Posts Tagged ‘Scream Zone’

“Coney Island Lights,” a new video by photographer and self-described “footage guru” Jim McDonnell, is lyrical and bewitching. Lights from Coney’s various amusement parks and attractions come together fluidly thanks to masterful editing by Jim, who knows Coney Island and has a talent for distilling its essence into a short film.

Luna Park’s Air Race ride looks like its performing a ballet with the whirling pinwheels on the park’s lighted gate. You’ll also catch sight of the dancing lights of the landmark Cyclone and Wonder Wheel, Deno’s Carousel and the blinking red eye of the Spook-A-Rama Cyclops, 12th Street’s Saturn 6, Surf Avenue’s Eldorado, the new Boardwalk signs and Scream Zone rides, and the old school carnival rides in Cha Cha’s Steeplechase Park.

In 2010 and 2011, ATZ posted Jim McDonnell’s “Coney Island Dancing” videos. We’re looking forward to “Coney Island Dancing 2012,” which is being shot over the course of this summer.

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New Coney Island ‘Funny Face’ Mural on Thor Equities Building at Surf and Stillwell. May 28, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Memorial Day Weekend in Coney Island saw the debut of new lights and signage as well as the return of some old favorites. The cute blue-eyed Funny Face pictured above is the first sight visitors will see when they exit Stillwell Terminal. It was painted on Memorial Day afternoon, along with a swath of yellow, on Thor Equities plywood-encased building at Surf and Stillwell. The muralist began work on Sunday, blocking out the words “Coney Island.”

Having complained that while everyone else in Coney Island has been busy painting and beautifying their property in preparation for Memorial Day, Thor has done nothing, ATZ was very happy to see this mural-in-progress. Of course, the generic-looking new building underneath, which was revealed when construction fencing came down in February, still looks like it belongs in a suburban mall. The plywood remains dotted with signs touting “CONEY ISLAND – The RETAIL RIDE of a LIFETIME – for leasing contact…” As we wrote last May: “Ain’t it just like Joe Sitt to tout retail when Coney Island, the birthplace of the amusement industry, is expecting its best season yet because of the success of Luna Park on land purchased by the City from Thor?”

New Sign for Grimaldi’s Pizzeria on Surf Avenue, Coney Island. May 26, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Grimaldi’s new sign also appeared in time for the holiday weekend, though the pizzeria isn’t open yet. Located on the north side of Surf Avenue next to the Tattoo Shot Lounge, the opening of Grimaldi’s second Brooklyn location in the coming weeks is sure to set off a Best Pizza in Coney Island contest with Neptune Avenue mainstay Totonno’s. The two pizzerias are already longtime rivals for the title of Best Pizza in New York. Grimaldi’s, whose original location is under the Brooklyn Bridge, chose a New York City skyline for their sign.

Coney Island Boardwalk

Brooklyn Beach Shop and Scream Zone, Coney Island Boardwalk. May 26, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The new look for the Boardwalk includes lighted custom signs replacing much of the quirky hand-painted signage of recent decades. One of the Boardwalk’s new stores, the Brooklyn Beach Shop, is a shining example of the new Coney Island. Located between the entrance to Scream Zone and Ruby’s Bar, the glass-fronted storefront features custom brickwork and a 6-foot-tall stone Steeplechase face sculpted by Italian artist Mario Ambroselli. The piece de resistance is a classic bare bulb sign in script that says “Beach Shop.” The airy renovated space formerly occupied by Coney Island Souvenir Shop is filled with private label T-shirts and beach gear.

Brooklyn Beach Shop also has roots in the past. The store is owned by Maya Haddad and her father Haim Haddad, who has owned and operated businesses in Coney Island since 1996, starting with Mermaid Horizons at Mermaid and Stillwell Avenues. In 2002, Haim opened Coney Island Beach Shop on Stillwell Avenue behind Nathan’s. They also operate a second Coney Island Beach Shop inside Stillwell Terminal and the new Nathan’s Gift Shop on the Boardwalk.

Coney Island Raceway Sign for New Go Karts. Scream Zone. May 26, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Memorial Day Weekend marked the return of go-karts to Coney Island’s Stillwell Avenue and the debut of a thrilling new ride on the Boardwalk. We snapped this photo of Coney Island Raceway’s new sign on the eve of the go-kart track’s opening day at the expanded Scream Zone. Go Karts were a popular attraction in Coney Island until 2006, when Thor Equities bought the Stillwell Avenue property leased by Batting Range and Go Kart City and evicted them. The second new ride to open this weekend at Scream Zone was the Skycoaster, a high thrill ride combining elements of skydiving and hang-gliding. It is already proving to be as much of a show as a ride with crowds gathering for the vicarious thrill of watching riders soar over the Boardwalk.

Lola Star Gift Shop

Lola Star Gift Shop, Coney Island Boardwalk. May 28, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Lola Star’s fashionably skinny boutique on the Boardwalk is crowned with a dazzling sign designed by the shop’s eponymous owner Lola Star aka Dianna Carlin. ATZ wrote about the sign’s upcoming debut several weeks ago, but this weekend was the first time we saw it illuminated and in action. On the new sign, blinking white lights encircle “Lola Star,” which is pink neon, as well as the 3D clouds and the words “Gift Shop.” Says Lola: “In Phase 2 there is going to be a gigantic disco ball rotating on the roof with a 3D Lola Star on Roller skates standing on the disco ball!” Bravissima!

Wonder Wheel

Deno’s Wonder Wheel cars are newly lit by solar powered panels. May 26, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The solar-powered lights on Deno’s Wonder Wheel debuted on Memorial Day Weekend! In this photo taken from West 12th Street, you can see the jewel-like lights on the corners of the Wheel’s Swinging Cars as well as the Mangels lights around the park’s perimeter and the Wonder Wheel’s vintage neon sign and row of new booths on West 12th Street. Installing solar panels atop the cars is a longtime project of DJ Vourderis, whose family owns the New York City landmark. The goal is to bring back the wheel to the way it originally looked when it opened in 1920. Though the perimeter and spokes of the Wonder Wheel were lit, the cars had been in the dark since the 1980s, when park founder Denos Vourderis removed the lights due to safety concerns over high voltage.

Miss Coney Island

Miss Coney Island and Coney Island Always, West 12th St. May 26, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The dancing mannequin “Miss Coney Island” and the miniature animated rides of “Coney Island Always” got some new lettering over their windows: “Watch Her Dance Until the End of Love.” Along with Skin the Wire and other games, the whimsical windows moved to West 12th Street this year after 14 years on Jones Walk. The new booths look more delightful than ever, but the old overhead signage had to be left behind since the new space couldn’t accommodate them. More new signage is in the works. Miss Coney Island’s motto remains “Don’t Postpone Joy” and it’s still only “25 cents to fall in LOVE.” She occasionally has more to say on twitter!

Mr Shrimp

Mr Shrimp is back at Paul’s Daughter, Coney Island Boardwalk. May 26, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

As we reported last week, Paul’s Daughter and Ruby’s Bar opened their renovated stores on the Coney Island Boardwalk. We were happy to see the Mom & Pop businesses bring back some of their quirky old hand-painted signage. The popular favorites Mr. Shrimp, shown above, and Chiefito and Chiefita — the Nice N Sweet/Fluffy Cotton Candy Kids–were among the restored signs returned to the new facade of Paul’s Daughter. At Ruby’s Bar, the hand-painted sign advertising clams and fried shrimp was set out on the Boardwalk amid new tables and chairs. Along with the rest of Coney Island, both stores were packed with visitors over the Memorial Day Weekend. Cheers to a bright and prosperous new season!

Ruby's sign

Ruby’s Seafood Clam Bar Sign, Coney Island Boardwalk. May 26, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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SkyCoaster Construction

SkyCoaster Under Construction at Scream Zone, May 11, 2012. Photo © Bruce Handy. All Rights Reserved

Zamperla’s plans for Go Karts and a SkyCoaster on City-owned “Parcel C” in Coney Island were unveiled last November and on Friday the launch tower of the new thrill ride was put into place with a crane. Coney photographer Bruce Handy’s stunning photos juxtapose the SkyCoaster with the great-granddaddy of vertical thrill rides– the 250-foot tall tower of the landmark Parachute Jump. From the 1940s until it closed in 1964, the Jump was the high thrill in Coney Island and to this day it has supporters who clamor for it to be retrofit and made operable again. Will the new high thrill ride on the Boardwalk win them over?

The Coney Island SkyCoaster will be called Boardwalk Flight, according to Luna Park’s website: “Take flight over the Atlantic Ocean at heights of over 200 feet. Not thrilling enough? Try it at over 60 mph! This Sky-Coaster will propel you mid-air giving you a sky-diving sensation.” A SkyCoaster combines elements of skydiving and hang-gliding. Riders are harnessed into “flight suits,” winched to the top of a tower and then swing through the sky as they drop towards the ground. From the time you’re strapped in to the finish, each “flight” lasts about five minutes. At Scream Zone, the cost of the new ride will be 25/20/15 credits, which at $1 per credit equals $25/$20/$15, though bonus credits are available with the purchase of a Luna Card. (Update: When the ride opened on Memorial Day Weekend, the charge for riding was a flat fee of $20.)

SkyCoaster Coney Island

SkyCoaster Under Construction at Scream Zone, May 11, 2012. Photo © Bruce Handy. All Rights Reserved

A spokesman from Luna Park told ATZ the price of riding the SkyCoaster depends on the number of riders–one, two or three–since up to three people can ride at a time. A solo skydive over the Boardwalk will cost you $25, but if you ride with two friends you’ll each pay $15. Manufactured by SkyCoaster Inc., the ride debuted in 1993 and can be found at over 75 parks around the world, from the Jersey Shore to Brazil and South Korea. In gated amusement parks, it’s typically an “upcharge attraction,” meaning that an additional fee is charged to riders who have already paid general admission to the park. Here’s the official video. And here’s a vid of three guys riding the 180-foot SkyCoaster at Six Flags Darien Lake.

Along with the Coney Island Raceway–as the Go Kart track will be called–Boardwalk Flight will be part of an expanded Scream Zone. Earlier this year Central Amusement International, the park division of Zamperla, shelved the idea of creating a third Coney Island park called “Speed Zone” on Parcel C. In March, Scream Zone manager Beau Berni told ATZ that the new rides will instead operate as part of Scream Zone, which is just across Stillwell Avenue and has four rides, including two Zamperla coasters. The SkyCoaster and Go Karts are scheduled to open on May 25th.

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