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Posts Tagged ‘Spook-A-Rama’

Spook-A-Rama

Power-Washed Spook-A-Rama Cars and Murals Drying Out at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park. Coney Island. November 5, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

Coney Island’s oldest dark ride, which dates back to the 1950s and is part of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, was severely damaged due to flooding during Superstorm Sandy. Spook-A-Rama’s electrical, interior props and the floor inside the ride were destroyed but park owners Dennis and Steve Vourderis have vowed to rebuild the attraction. At last week’s IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando, they contracted with Scarefactory, Inc. to come in and lay out new props, according to Dennis Vourderis. The giant skeleton on Spook-A-Rama’s roof is a product of the design and fabrication studio, which specializes in creating haunted attractions and everything that goes into them.

Spook-A-Rama Skeleton

Giant Skeleton from Spook-A-Rama’s Roof Recuperating After Superstorm Sandy. November 17, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

Sadly, some of the destroyed props original to Spook-A-Rama and other historic Coney Island dark rides cannot be replaced. If it’s possible to save them, the old props will be put on static display (February 2013 Update: some of the rescued props will get new electronics!) The good news is that the legendary Cyclops, which came out of retirement two years ago to be inducted into the Coney Island History Project’s Hall of Fame, was unharmed. Another old-timer at the Wonder Wheel, the 1920’s fortunetelling machine Grandma’s Predictions, suffered water damage, but is being restored by an expert in antique arcade machines. Grandma’s “boyfriend” Zoltar was not so lucky –the popular machine which debuted at the park in 2011 will be replaced by a brand-new one.

zoltar

Zoltar Destroyed by Sandy, Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park. Coney Island. November 5, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

Also destroyed in the flood waters and being replaced is the Scarface-themed shooting gallery next to Spook-A-Rama. The new shooting gallery will be themed with some of the same spooky characters that visitors will see inside the refurbished dark ride. While the Wonder Wheel side of the park and the area beneath the kiddie park were inundated with 5 to 7 feet of flood waters, the 92-year-old landmark Wonder Wheel and the rides and games in Deno’s Kiddie Park on the Boardwalk escaped serious damage though a lot of work remains to be done. The park will re-open with its 25th Annual Blessing of the Rides Ceremony on Palm Sunday, which is Coney Island’s opening day and falls on March 24, 2013. (Update: On opening day, rides on the Wonder Wheel will be free of charge for one and all.)

Spook-A-Rama's Cyclops

Spook-A-Rama’s Cyclops Survived the Super Storm. Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park. Coney Island. November 17, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

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Coney Island After Sandy

Spook-A-Rama Cars Drying out at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, Coney Island. November 5, 2012. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

There were signs of hope today in Coney Island’s amusement area post-Sandy: the Cyclone cars went for a test run and Deno’s Wonder Wheel was jump started and went for a little whirl. “Wheel sounds good,” said Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park co-owner Dennis Vourderis, adding that the Wheel will still need extensive repairs or replacement of motor controller. Also damaged by Sandy were the Spook-A-Rama dark ride and the arcades on the Wonder Wheel side of the park, which was flooded and had to be pumped out. The Cyclops, a beloved folk art figure that came out of retirement last year, was unharmed and surveyed the cleanup effort with his big green eye.

Spook-A-Rama Cyclops

Coney Island’s Cyclops Survived Sandy, Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park. November 5, 2012. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

The Boardwalk eateries Tom’s Coney Island, Ruby’s Bar and Paul’s Daughter were miraculously untouched by the storm surge and will be open this weekend. Tom’s, located on the Boardwalk at Stillwell, is the meeting place for a volunteer cleanup of Coney Island that begins at 9am on Saturday and Sunday. Last weekend’s crew shoveled sand from the boardwalk but some streets remain deep in sand.

While Tom’s and Paul’s have power, the other stores including Ruby’s, Nathan’s, Lola star and Brooklyn Beach Shop, suffered damage to the electrical panel in the basement and do not have power yet. Ruby’s Bar, which is open for the first time since the hurricane, will be collecting donations of clothing, coats, blankets and other items for the Coney Island relief effort. Paul’s Daughter is donating all proceeds from weekend sales to the Coney Island History Project, whose free exhibit center was wrecked by the storm, and to Occupy Sandy’s relief effort in Coney Island. “I want to be open because it’s going to be 60 degrees,” said Paul’s daughter Tina Georgoulakos. “I want to do what I can to help out those who have lost so much.”

Storm Cleanup in Coney Island

Sanitation picks up storm damaged contents of Lola Star Boutique’s Stillwell Avenue store. Coney Island. November 5, 2012. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

During the peak of the storm, Surf Avenue as well as Mermaid and Neptune Avenues were submerged in water that came from the bay, Coney Island Creek, and overflowing sewers during the rising tide. Since every store was flooded by five feet of water, business owners were throwing out their ruined products and fixtures. It was heartbreaking to see the contents of the Lola Star Boutique on the sidewalk in front of Stillwell Terminal being picked up by the Department of Sanitation. Please note that Lola Star’s main location on the Boardwalk did not suffer any hurricane damage and remains open for business. Boutique owner Dianna Carlin has already created a “Coney Island Forever” T-shirt, tote bag, mug and other products. Profits from the design will be donated to Coney Island relief.

The Alliance for Coney Island, successor to the Coney Island Development Corp, launched this morning with a 9am meeting at Tom’s and a website featuring the hashtag #ConeyRecovers. “Repairing our community is our primary goal and with the long-term, concerted effort on the part of local leaders and the continued generosity of Coney Island fans around the world, we will continue the Coney Island renaissance,” said Dennis Vourderis, Chairman of the Alliance for Coney Island, in a press release posted on the site.

On Monday ATZ managed to get to Coney Island’s amusement area for the first time since the storm, but problems with internet connectivity and other post-hurricane issues have kept us from uploading more photos or blogging. As soon as the DSL is back, we’ll upload the rest of the photos to flickr and post the set here…

UPDATE March 7, 2013:

Coney Island’s traditional Palm Sunday Opener comes early this year – March 24th! The rides at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, Luna Park and Scream Zone, 12th Street Amusements and the Eldorado will go for their first spin of 2013. The Cyclone opens at 12 noon with the first 100 fans on line riding for free. At Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, the annual Blessing of the Rides ceremony starts at 11 am on the Boardwalk.

This year, to celebrate Coney’s comeback from Sandy, rides on the landmark Wonder Wheel are free for everyone on Opening Day. The Coney Island History Project’s free exhibit center will be open, along with its neighbors “Coney Island Always,” a window showcasing a miniature animated amusement park, and “Miss Coney Island” the dancing doll. It’s also the first official day of the season for the Boardwalk shops and eateries and the games on the Bowery.

Nathan’s on the Boardwalk will open on March 18 while the target date for reopening their main location on Surf Avenue is Memorial Day Weekend. Also expected to open on that weekend are Coney Island USA’s Circus Sideshow, The B&B Carousell at Steeplechase Plaza, and Big Mark’s Action Park. The New York Aquarium has announced it will partly reopen in the spring.

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November 24, 2012: Coney Island Post-Sandy: A Few Stores Reopen, Most Delayed by Damage

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November 10, 2012: A Coney Island Girl’s Story: 13 Days With No Power

October 30, 2012: Photo Album: Hurricane Sandy’s Aftermath in Coney Island

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