Posts Tagged ‘water flume’

Astroland sign from Neptune's Flume

Astroland sign from Neptune’s Flume. January 31, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita

This set of photos was taken five years ago– January 31, 2009–on Astroland’s very last day. It was as bitter cold as it is today. In the months after the park closed in September 2008, the rides and games were dismantled and trucked away. According to the terms of Astroland’s lease extension with Thor Equities, the property had to vacated by February 1st. Amusing the Zillion did not debut until April 2009, but we posted these pix along with our thoughts on flickr:

I expected my Jan 28th visit to Astroland to be my last visit (see set). But I had some business in the area so I stopped by Astroland on Jan 31. By then there wasn’t much left and I didn’t have the heart to take more than a half dozen or so photos. Jan 31 was Astroland’s very last day, the day the lease expired and the property had to be vacated.

On Feb 1, 2009, the Astroland property became the former site of Astroland Park. Since then I refer to it as Thorland after Thor Equities. Others call it Sittville or Sittland East after Thor CEO Joe Sitt. The predatory real estate speculator who owns the 3-acre site is pressuring the city to allow for time-share high rises and shopping mall style retail. Astroland, and now the Boardwalk businesses threatened by huge Thor Space for Lease signs, are pawns or hostages in Thor’s high stakes game with the City. The City’s controversial rezoning of the C-7 amusement district is currently underway.

Abandoned old arcade machines

Abandoned old arcade machines on last day of Astroland. January 31, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita

Among the items that remained and were about to be thrown into a dumpster were these broken old arcade machines. Boxing machines manufactured by Zamperla! Ironically, the parks division of Zamperla would build Luna Park on the former Astroland site in 2010, after this lot and other boardwalk property was bought by the City from Thor Equities for $95.6 million.

Astroland's American flag

Rescuing Astroland’s American flag – where will she wave? January 31, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita

Jeff rescues Astroland’s American flag, which flew from the Astrotower, from soon to be Thorland. Astroland’s signs and rides are safe in storage. NOT sold to Australia or anywhere else, not yet! Perhaps the reconfigured “Astroland,” signs and all, will be able to return to a new location or its old location (if Sitt sells to the city) in Coney Island? That would be a “long shot” (Astroland owner’s words in the press). But I don’t think we should give up hope completely if the owner still has hope. Some of Astroland’s historic signs were rescued today by the Coney Island History Project.

Astroland signage

Rescuing signage from Astroland’s water flume. January 21, 2009

Home of the hot dog? This building has been used as a workshop for the last forty-some years. Astroland workers swept up for the last time on Jan 31, 2009 before vacating the property. I took these photos for my friend “Coney Islander.” who says the tiles are not only Coney Island history, but American history too. He wanted a tile as a keepsake, but we couldn’t find a loose one.

tile floor in the old Feltman's Kitchen

Home of the hot dog? The tile floor in the old Feltman’s Kitchen Bldg was swept on Astroland’s last day. January 31, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita

Of course “the first hot dog” was invented when Feltman was pushing a pie wagon in the 1860s. But the building is all that remains of Feltman’s empire in Coney Island. The floor definitely has character. It has a story to tell. We just have to figure out what it is. Sometimes if the true story isn’t known, an apochryphal one fills the vacuum. The floor looks so old it’s easy to imagine the original hot dog falling on it. It may be doubtful as history goes, but captures the imagination.

The story unfolded a year later, when the building was being demolished to make way for Luna Park: Nathan Slept Here! Coney Island’s Feltman’s Kitchen Set for Demolition, (ATZ, January 19, 2010)

Tile floor in Feltman's Kitchen, Coney Island

Tile floor swept clean in historic Feltman’s kitchen on Astroland property. January 31, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita

Related posts on ATZ…

July 17, 2013: Astroland Rides Find Homes in Brooklyn, Costa Rica and Australia

March 16, 2012: Rest in Peace: Jerry Albert, Co-Founder of Coney Island’s Astroland Park

December 16, 2010: Blast from the Past: LFO’s Summer Girls Music Video

May 21, 2009: Astroland Closed But Your Kid Can Still Ride the USS Astroland This Summer!

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Pirate Ship from Surf Avenue, Sept. 7, 2008. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo57 via flickr

Since the July 4th demolition of the Astrotower, the last remnant of Astroland in Luna Park, readers have been asking “What happened to the rest of Astroland’s rides?” and there has been speculation on the Coney Island message board.

Astroland’s rides were taken down and removed from the property by the Albert family at the end of 2008 and the majority were sold to other parks, both in the U.S and abroad. ATZ spoke with Mark Blumenthal, former operations manager of Astroland, who has overseen the sale of the rides. The biggest surprise for readers will be that Neptune’s Water Flume, which was widely assumed to have been scrapped after being disassembled, was sold to a park in South America.

Water flume ticketbooth

Astroland’s last night, water flume ticket booth. September 7, 2008. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

The only Astroland ride currently in Coney Island is the Barbieri bumper cars with their psychedelic artwork and rainbow-trimmed pavilion. The ride was refurbished by Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park and brought back home to Coney Island in 2012 with new cars added post-Sandy. You can catch a glimpse of the ride in the “I Love New York” TV commercial about New York’s beaches in which Wonder Wheel Park is featured.

Bumper Cars at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, Coney Island. May 15, 2013. Via Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park flickr

Here’s a rundown of the Astroland rides new locations, courtesy of Mark Blumenthal. He now manages Adventurer’s Park in Brooklyn, where the Astroland Teacups and Circuit 2000 have found a new home.

Dante’s Inferno, the Tilt-A-Whirl and the Scrambler are still for sale, he says, along with the Bonanza Shooting Gallery, which was next to Gregory & Paul’s on Surf Avenue.


Topspin on Astroland’s Last Night, September 7, 2008. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo57 via flickr

The Topspin relocated to Seaside Heights, New Jersey, where it survived Sandy and has since been sold to Deggeller Attractions, a traveling carnival.

The Enterprise at Casino Pier in Seaside Heights also survived Sandy but is not running this year due to damage to the pier.

The Pirate Ship and Breakdancer went to Costa Rica. The Kiddie Coaster is in Australia.

One of the Astroland stars from the Surf Avenue gate is in the collection of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. The 8-foot by 7-and-a-half-foot lighted star will be on display with other space-age icons in the Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center after construction is completed.

UPDATE January 20, 2015:

Remember Astroland’s Scrambler? It’s back at home in Coney Island at Deno’s! The Scrambler will be located between the Wonder Wheel and the Barbieri Bumper Cars, which also hail from Astroland and were refurbished and returned in 2012.

Coney Island 2015: Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park Adds Scrambler, ‘Twist & Shout’ Drop Tower

UPDATE January 6, 2014:

BLAST OFF! Today the Coney Island History Project announced: “In late December our proposal for the return of the Astroland Rocket was approved by the City and we’re now planning an extensive exhibit about the rocket and space-themed Coney attractions of the past. Ownership of the historic Rocket will be transferred to the History Project and the Vourderis family will provide a permanent home for it in Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park.”

Deno's Wonder Wheel Park

Astroland Bumper Car Pavilion in Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, Coney Island. June 21, 2013. Via Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park flickr


Related posts on ATZ…

July 9, 2013: Photo Album: Remembering the Astrotower (1964-2013)

July 3, 2013: Long Live Coney Island’s Swaying, Singing Astrotower!

March 16, 2012: Rest in Peace: Jerry Albert, Co-Founder of Coney Island’s Astroland Park

May 21, 2009: Astroland Closed But Your Kid Can Still Ride the USS Astroland This Summer!

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Wild River Aerial View. Photo © Godzilla40 via flickr

Fun Forest Park 2007: Wild River Aerial View. Photo © Godzilla40 via flickr

Do you miss Neptune’s Water Flume, which was dismantled when Astroland closed in 2008? The log flume was one of our faves too and we treasure the fading souvenir photo from our last ride. The good news is a Reverchon flume will be among the 19 rides at Coney Island’s new Luna Park this summer. The ride was purchased from Seattle’s Fun Forest Park and will be the only used ride in the park according to a poster on the ultimaterollercoaster forum.

Wild River Close-Up. Photo © Godzilla40 via flickr

Wild River Close-Up. Photo © Godzilla40 via flickr

The photos above and below show the flume in Fun Forest Park with the Experience Music Project building in the background. Fun Forest was created at the base of Seattle’s Space Needle after the 1962 World’s Fair, but the park’s operators lost their lease on the city-owned property and will close after Labor Day 2010. The park’s biggest rides have already been dismantled and sold.

Roller Coasters of the Pacific Northwest reports that the Windstorm roller coaster was sold to Steve Vandervorste (an independent ride operator based in Texas); the log flume to Zamperla; the Orbiter, Jet Spin and Himalaya to Butler Amusements; the Galleon to Oscar’s Amusements of Pennsylvania; and the Century Wheel to Helm and Sons of California.

As we wrote in an article about Astroland for IAAPA Funworld in 2004, Neptune’s Water Flume was one of Astroland’s most popular rides. Mark Blumenthal, the park’s operations manager said, “It was one of the early flumes made by Arrow Development in the early 1960s, right after the New York World’s Fair, and it was built specifically for this park.”

We’re thrilled that Fun Forest’s Wild River has found a new home in Coney Island. Seattleites visiting New York City this summer are especially welcome to come to the new Luna Park and cool off on their flume!

Wild River flume ride at Fun Forest Amusement Park. Photo © M.V. Jantzen via flickr

Wild River flume ride at Fun Forest Amusement Park. Photo © M.V. Jantzen via flickr

Wild River by M.V.Jantzen, using a Creative Commons License


Related posts on ATZ…

May 8, 2010: Photo of the Day: Iconic Luna Park Logo Rises on Coney Island’s Horizon

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!

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

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