Posts Tagged ‘storm damage’

Eldorado Ticket Window with High Water Mark from Sandy, Coney Island. November 5, 2012. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

The good news is Eldorado Auto Skooter and Arcade operator Gordon Lee, who bought the equipment from the Fitlin family last year, won a one-year lease from building owner Thor Equities. The bad news is no sooner was the lease signed than Hurricane Sandy barreled through, flooding both the ride and the arcade. The waterlogged arcade machines are believed to be ruined, but will the famed bumper cars ride again? “I can’t make that decision until I have more information,” Gordon told ATZ. He’s hoping that someone with expertise in restoring bumper car rides will come forward to help. “These cars have always been very pampered. They’ve always been indoors. I’m totally lost here. Every car was submerged under water. Salt water is very corrosive to metal.”

After Sandy: Hosing Down the Eldorado Bumper Car Motors, Coney island. November 11, 2012. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

On Sunday, the Eldorado’s crew was still cleaning up. Louis was clad in a hazmat suit while Thomas wore a face mask. Some equipment had already been sent out to be tested by a mechanic. Also damaged in the flood was the ride’s polished floor, the awesome sound system and new merchandise emblazoned with the Eldorado’s “Bump Your Ass Off” slogan. Gordon had put a lot of time and money into upgrading the Eldorado at the beginning of the 2012 season. “I’ve done a lot,” he said. “It’s aggravating to have to start over.” When we saw Gordon at a meeting for business owners at Tom’s Restaurant last week, the first thing we asked was if he was going to rebuild. He said that he had a difficult decision ahead of him and made it clear that reinvesting was a big gamble. “What would you do if you had only a one-year lease?”

Our answer was that if was too costly to invest in new bumper cars for one year, we’d stay and build something simple. How about a roller rink, a movie house, or a Dunk the Clown game? Gordon agreed it was an option. Yesterday we checked in to see what he was thinking. “Right now I’m looking for information to try and rebuild the bumper cars. I’m taking it hour by hour,” said Gordon. He was taking his inspiration from Dennis Vourderis of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, who said that’s how they were handling the cleanup at their park. Not day by day, but hour by hour. Says Gordon: “Every hour I’ve got something to do.”

This music video was shot at the Eldorado Auto Skooters in September 2012 by The DoD3.com, an amusement ride enthusiast from New Jersey. “Man, they just don’t run bumper cars like that anymore!” he wrote in his trip report. “It was three bucks to re-ride but I passed; I had thoroughly bumped my ass off.”

UPDATE March 11, 2013:

Great news from Gordon Lee of the Eldorado. The bumper cars, which were completely refurbished over the past few months, are expected to open by Palm Sunday or Easter Sunday!


Related posts on ATZ…

November 9, 2012: Update on Coney Island’s Amusement Area After Sandy

March 30, 2012: 60 Years of Family History in Coney Island End with Sale of Eldorado

October 13, 2010: Rest in Peace: Scott Fitlin, Coney Island’s Eldorado Man

March 14, 2010: Eldorado Auto Skooter: Coney Island’s Disco Palace of Bumper Cars

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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.


Related posts on ATZ…

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

November 13, 2012: Coney Island’s Eldorado Wins Lease But Bumper Cars Soaked by Sandy

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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Hurricane Sandy Aftermath in Coney Island

Surf Avenue: Flood Line on Coney Island Mural. October 30, 2012. Photo © Jim McDonnell

Jim McDonnell, whose beautiful photos and videos of Coney Island’s amusement area are frequently featured on ATZ, took this heartbreaking set of pix on Tuesday morning, the day after Hurricane Sandy struck. As you can see in the above photo of fellow photographer Bruce Handy at Surf and Stillwell Avenues, the flood line is at about 5 feet. During the peak of the storm, Surf Avenue as well as Mermaid and Neptune Avenues and adjacent streets were submerged in water that came from the bay, Coney Island Creek, overflowing sewers and the rising tide. In an image seen on the Coney Island webcam on October 29 at 7:53pm, the amusement parks appeared to be surrounded by a moat.

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath in Coney Island

Surf Avenue, Coney Island: Interior of Grimaldi’s Pizzeria. October 30, 2012. Photo © Jim McDonnell

Looking down from his apartment window high above the Aquarium, Bruce texted ATZ on Monday night at 9pm: “Coney completely flooded. Cars floating. Car on fire.” On Tuesday morning a tour of the area began to reveal the damage. Sad to see Grimaldi’s metal gate gave way to Sandy and the interior of the popular new pizzeria wrecked by the wind and flood waters. We dined there just a few days ago and it is one of our faves! The cobwebs in the above photo, which were part of the Halloween decor, look genuinely eerie. Eldorado Auto Skooter, Game World Arcade, Coney Island USA, Denny’s Ice Cream, Popeye’s, the Coney Island History Project and the game booths on both West 12th Street and the Bowery were flooded with 4 to 5 feet of water and left with interior damage yet to be assessed. November 1st Update: Also flooded in Coney’s amusement area were Nathan’s, the stores in Stillwell Terminal, the Wonder Wheel side of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park and the Aquarium. In fact all of the buildings on Surf, Mermaid and Neptune Avenues from one end of Coney Island to the other were inundated by the flood waters.

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath in Coney Island

Surf Avenue, Coney Island: Shore Theater. October 30, 2012. Photo © Jim McDonnell

The sign on the Shore Theater, a New York City landmark which is vacant and for sale, was twisted and appeared to be hanging by a thread. The street was blocked off with caution tape in case it fell. Coney’s landmark rides–the Cyclone, Wonder Wheel and Parachute Jump–stood their ground against Sandy, but Steeplechase Pier was damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath in Coney Island

Steeplechase Pier, Coney Island. October 30, 2012. Photo © Jim McDonnell

While the sand was piled up two feet high on the Boardwalk, the sandbagged stores–including Ruby’s, Lola Star and Brooklyn Beach Shop–suffered blessedly little or no damage. On Monday night at 7pm, Jimmy Kokotas of Tom’s Coney Island came to check on his store. This morning he told ATZ that he managed to get out just in time before the flood waters starting rising on Surf Avenue.

Maya Haddad of Brooklyn Beach Shop said she was very grateful that the Parks Department put up sand walls to protect the boardwalk businesses. She was able to get into her shop on Tuesday and was happy to find no water damage from the storm surge. “It didn’t look like any water got in,” Maya said. On Stillwell Avenue it was another story: “Coney Island Beach Shop was flooded 4 feet high. Most merchandise and fixtures destroyed. Wasn’t able to get into the shop in the train station either. I will assume the merchandise there was most likely also damaged.” November 21 Update: While the Boardwalk businesses escaped structural damage, with the exception of Tom’s and Paul’s Daughter, all have electrical issues due to flooded basements and do not yet have power. The two parks have partial power or are using generators. The entire neighborhood is suffering from the same situation. Many have to redo the electrical wiring before they can get power restored.

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath in Coney Island

Coney Island Boardwalk: Ruby’s Bar and Lola Star Boutique. October 30, 2012. Photo © Jim McDonnell

A beloved icon is gone though. “So sad, it looks like Mama Burger is missing,” said Tina Georgoulakos, owner of Paul’s Daughter, in an email to ATZ. “She must have blown away, We don’t know where she is. After all these years!!” Papa Burger, the other half of the A & W root beer duo, withstood Sandy and anchors the other end of the building. “One of the gates blew open during the storm so the store is filled with sand but its way better than what happened on Surf,” Tina added. November 1st: GOOD NEWS Update from Paul’s Daughter: “Just wanted to let you know that we found Mama Burger!! I posted about it on FB but wanted to let you know as well. She was on the roof, Burger-less and Beer-less but ok. We tried to find the Burger on 15th street (where someone posted a picture of it) but we couldn’t find it. At least we have her. Now we just have to get all of the sand out of the store.”

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath in Coney Island

Coney Island Boardwalk: Mama Burger Blown Off Roof of Paul’s Daughter. October 30, 2012. Photo © Jim McDonnell

Deno’s Wonder Wheel, built in 1920, has withstood many a storm including this historic hurricane. On Monday morning, co-owner Steve Vourderis put extra cables on the Wheel to further secure the landmark from Hurricane Sandy’s high winds.

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath in Coney Island

Coney Island Boardwalk: Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park. October 30, 2012. Photo © Jim McDonnell

Luna Park, which took down its Halloween mazes and prepped for Sandy on Sunday, thankfully appeared to have no visible damage to the rides. A steel fence at the new Scream Zone annex was bent, but the 85-year-old Cyclone roller coaster withstood the storm. However, waterlogged equipment and cleanup is a concern for all of the parks, arcades and other businesses in Coney Island’s amusement area.

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath in Coney Island

Coney Island Boardwalk: Scream Zone Fence. October 30, 2012. Photo © Jim McDonnell


Related posts on ATZ…

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

November 21, 2012: Coney Island Post-Sandy: Flooded Spook-A-Rama to Get New Stunts

November 20, 2012: Coney Island Post-Sandy: Mini-Golf or Roller Rink to Replace Denny’s?

November 9, 2012: Update on Coney Island’s Amusement Area After Sandy

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