Posts Tagged ‘Zamperla’

Parachute Jump Lighting Tes

Parachute Jump Lighting Test, Coney Island. June 20, 2013. Photo © Bruce Handy

On Friday night in Coney Island, the landmark Parachute Jump will be lit with 8,000 LED lights. Brooklyn’s Eiffel Tower will have enough bling to be visible from outer space, advance reports claim. The lighting was installed by Zamperla’s Central Amusements International, which operates Luna Park. Last night, the crowd on the Boardwalk was treated to a dazzling preview of the light show and Coney Island photographer Bruce Handy took this series of photos. “Parachute Jump vibrating to the beat of mermaid’s soul vibrations,” he said, in anticipation of Saturday’s Mermaid Parade.

Parachute Jump Lighting Test

Parachute Jump Lighting Test, Coney Island. June 20, 2013. Photo © Bruce Handy

Originally designed by a retired Naval commander to train military paratroopers in the 1930s, parachute towers were soon modified into amusement attractions when civilians clamored to ride. Coney Island’s Parachute Jump first wowed visitors at the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair. Afterwards, the ride became the star attraction at Steeplechase, the world-famous amusement park that opened on Coney’s fabled shore in 1897.

Parachute Jump Lighting Test

Parachute Jump Lighting Test, Coney Island. June 20, 2013. Photo © Bruce Handy

Along with the pier, the Jump’s tower is the sole survivor of the park that once billed itself “Coney Island’s Only Funny Place, Where 25,000 People Laugh at One Time.” The city-owned landmark’s proximity to the Brooklyn Cyclones’ stadium gave it a new lease on life when the ballpark opened in 2001.

Parachute Jump Lighting Test

Parachute Jump Lighting Test, Coney Island. June 20, 2013. Photo © Bruce Handy

Summer officially arrives this weekend. Friday night’s lighting ceremony will be followed by Coney Island’s first fireworks show of the 2013 season and Saturday’s 31st Annual Mermaid Parade.

Parachute Jump Lighting Test

Parachute Jump Lighting Test, Coney Island. June 20, 2013. Photo © Bruce Handy

Related posts on ATZ…

June 4, 2013: Coney Island Fireworks 2013: Fridays, 6 Saturdays and More

May 26, 2013: A Portrait of Abe Lincoln on Coney Island’s B&B Carousell

April 29, 2012: Photo of the Day: Space Shuttle Over Coney Island’s Parachute Jump

January 18, 2012: Video of the Day: Climbing Coney Island’s Parachute Jump

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Surf's Up on the Boardwalk?

Surf’s Up on Coney Island Boardwalk, March 24, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

Surfboard parked on the Coney Island Boardwalk? Not exactly, it’s one of the signs that was about to go up on Zamperla’s new Place to BEach Bar (the capital “E” is a pun). The surfboard signage and other finishing touches, including tables and a deck, were being put in place this week at the new bar and Mexican grill on the Boardwalk at Stillwell Avenue.

Adjacent to Scream Zone, the location was formerly Steve’s Grill House and Beer Island, whose owners were evicted after the 2011 season. Valerio Ferrari, CEO of Zamperla, famously told the New York Times that he wanted something more “refined, cleaner. A little more year-round, if it’s possible, with sit-down restaurants and sports bars.” It’s happening. Last year, the facades of the remaining Boardwalk businesses got a sleek redo and Tom’s proved that a Boardwalk restaurant can stay open through the winter.


New PTB Bar AKA Place to BEach Bar, Coney Island Boardwalk. March 24, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

The new “Place to Be” was expected to open Easter weekend along with the Cyclone Cafe and food kiosks inside Luna Park. These venues will be operated by CAI Food LLC, the new food division of Zamperla’s Central Amusement International. An additional CAI restaurant will open in the B&B Carousel Pavilion at Steeplechase Plaza in May.

The opening of PTB Bar and the other CAI eateries marks the amusement park operator and ride manufacturer’s first foray into the food business in Coney Island. Until this season, food service giant Sodexo was Zamperla’s partner for “On Site Service Solutions.” The French multinational, the world’s 22nd largest employer, paid a rental fee to Zamperla. Sodexo kept such a low profile in Coney Island that the only sign we’ve ever seen with their name is the piece of paper at the bottom of this post. It was put up to direct trainees to their restaurant. Yet it was their staff who operated the Cyclone Cafe and the food kiosks since Luna Park opened in 2010.


Food display at Sodexo-operated Cyclone Cafe last summer, June 22, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita

At the time, Ferrari told ATZ that Sodexo was investing $1.4 million in a new sit-down restaurant, which was expected to be year-round and feature waiter service. As it turned out, the Cyclone Cafe was open the same hours as the park and its food offerings were what you’d expect from a corporation with a completely centralized purchasing system, which requires clients to choose from a list of “Right Products.” Sodexo is known for its cafeterias and individually branded restaurants at schools, hospitals, military bases and prisons, but nationally branded subtenants are also brought in under franchising or licensing agreements for the appearance of variety.

Sodexo’s departure had long been rumored and is something to cheer about. According to the partnership agreement, after 3 years either party was free to terminate the lease, with CAI having to reimburse the remaining value of Sodexo’s initial investment, with interest. A Sodexo manager who was working on site with cleanup after Sandy confirmed to ATZ that her company was leaving Coney Island.

Sodexo This Way

Sodexo This Way: Sign directing trainees to Sodexo restaurant in Luna Park, Coney Island. April 12, 2011. Photo © Mr Jones via Amusing the Zillion


Related Posts on ATZ…

March 17, 2013: Photo Album: Coney Island Getting Ready for Opening Day

March 11, 2013: Luna Park’s Pinwheels Go Up on Coney Island Boardwalk

August 29, 2012: Coney Island Has a New Lighthouse: It’s a Beach Bar

November 23, 2010: Meet Sodexo: Luna Park Coney Island’s Partner for “On-Site Service Solutions”

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A new portable version of Zamperla’s Air Race designed for traveling carnivals is one of the thrill rides on the independent midway at the Florida State Fair, which runs through today in Tampa. Owned by Joyce and Jeff Brady of Playworld Amusements, the ride debuted at October’s State Fair of Texas, where it was called the “Air Raid.” The on-ride POV vid shown above was shot at the 2012 IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando, where attendees were invited to try out the ride for free. In the vid below of the ride at the Dallas fair, skip to 1:49, which is when the planes start moving. Carnival lights are always brighter than amusement park lights!

Designed by Mega Disk’O creator Gianbattista Zambelli, the aerobatic thrill ride sends riders round and round and upside down at up to 4g forces. Since the Air Race prototype made its world debut at Zamperla’s Luna Park in Coney Island in 2010, it’s been a worldwide success with sales to parks in Portugal, China, North Korea, Chile, Australia and Utah. In 2013, Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen will debut the Air Race with eagle-shaped seats shown in the rendering below. Built on an elaborate platform, the ride’s theming has an Art Nouveau look.

Tivoli Air Race

Rendering of Eagle-themed Air Race Set to Debut at Tivoli Gardens in 2013. Via Tivoli Gardens Facebook

Coney Island’s Air Race seats 24 riders and is similar in design to the ones at Aquashow Parc in Portugal, Lagoon Park in Utah, and Gorky Park in the Ukraine. A new deluxe model seats up to 32 riders in six four-seater planes. In an article we wrote about the new Luna Park for IAAPA Funworld in 2010, Zamperla president Valerio Ferrari said, “Our intention is to have the latest rides that we develop in our park.” The fact that the world’s largest manufacturer of amusement rides is trying out prototypes at Luna Park is an exciting development that calls to mind the heyday of Coney Island when the first models of any new park or carnival rides would make their debut here.

Zamperla also benefits because the New York City amusement park functions as a showroom for Zamperla’s New Jersey-based North American operation. In December, a Kung Fu Panda-themed version of the Air Race called Pandamonium opened at Australia’s Dreamworld, which has a partnership with DreamWorks Animation. “This swinging rickshaw ride is an adventure with a serious split personality,” according to the park’s website. “It’s two rides in one — one for kids and one for thrill seekers.” Riders get to choose the intensity of the ride –‘not-so crazy’ or ‘seriously crazy’–as it spins around a mighty dragon.


Related posts on ATZ...

January 18, 2013: Coney Island 2013: “Water Mania” Spin Ride to Debut at Luna Park

July 8, 2012: Video of the Day: Coney Island Lights by Jim McDonnell

October 8, 2010: Traveler: Most Beautiful Video of the State Fair of Texas

September 16, 2010: Luna Park Coney Island: Zamperla Air Race On-Ride POV Video

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