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Stillwell Avenue West

BK Festival Vendors and Zipline, Stillwell Avenue West, Coney Island. August 18, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

On Saturday, the BK Festival vendors were happy to be back in business selling sunglasses, hats, dresses and what have you after a two-week hiatus caused by the construction of the Coney Island Zipline. The Stillwell Avenue lot where their tents are pitched was no longer a construction site because the zipline is built, though it did not open for the weekend.

Why not? A zipline crew member told ATZ one of the required permits had not been applied for and blamed the festival management. One of the vendors said the zipline would never open because Mayor Bloomberg had his own and didn’t want any competition! Was he referring to the free zipline at the City’s Summer Streets, which ended on August 18th? Does that mean another vendor’s prediction that Coney’s zipline would open next weekend is true? We probably should have asked Ana, the BK Festival’s resident psychic.

If you’re rarin’ to go ziplining in Coney Island, watch magicalthemepark’s video below of the ride being tested several days ago and wish you were there.

UPDATE September 12, 2012

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August 14, 2012: Opening Soon? Zipline, Tom’s Coney Island, Place to Beach Bar

August 10, 2012: Steeplechase Plaza Under Construction in Coney Island

August 2, 2012: New Building Breaks Ground Next to Coney Island’s Stillwell Terminal

June 28, 2012: Zip Line Coming to Coney Island’s Stillwell Avenue in July

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Tom's Coney Island

Tom’s Coney Island. August 14, 2012. Photo © Coney Island History Project

Summer’s almost over, but three Coney Island businesses still under construction– Tom’s Restaurant, Place to Beach Bar and the Zipline– are hoping to open soon and get in what’s left of the season. On Monday, Tom’s new blue-and-white sign and awnings went up on the facade. It’s official — the Boardwalk outpost of the Prospect Heights eatery will be called “Tom’s Coney Island.”

After Labor Day, Coney Island’s amusement parks are open weekends through the end of October. A few attractions and stores in the amusement area such as the New York Aquarium, Nathan’s on Surf Avenue and Coney Island Beach Shop are open daily year-round, but it remains to be seen how many of the new or rehabbed businesses will follow suit. When completed, Tom’s initially expects to remain open at least nine months of the year. One of the Coney Island Development Corporation’s goals is to develop year-round businesses to make Coney Island into “a year-round, world-class recreational oceanfront destination.”

Coney Island Zipline

Coney Island Zipline, View from West 15th Street. August 11, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

If you’re one of the adventurous souls who bought advance tix in June or July for the Coney Island Zipline, it’s been hurry up and wait some more. Last week, the crew was trained and the ride was tested, but the long-awaited zipline did not open over the weekend as expected. Coney Island Zipline manager James Wilcox told ATZ the zipline had been inspected and tested a thousand times, but the opening would be delayed till this week. Official sources tell ATZ that additional paperwork needs to be filed and the Zipline might open on Thursday or Friday.

Meanwhile, construction continued on the scaffolding platform as shown in the above photo. The BK Festival’s merchandise vendors have been put out of business by the ongoing work, but will be allowed to return to their tents once the adjacent zipline is open and the lot is no longer a construction site.

Tom's Coney Island

Tom’s Coney Island: Menu at Temporary Stand. August 11, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

On the Boardwalk at Stillwell Avenue, construction continues on Tom’s Coney Island and Zamperla’s Place To Beach Bar. Both were announced to open this summer but construction has been slow and their debut has been pushed back till the end of August or early September. Throughout the summer, Tom’s has been selling hot dogs, shrimp salad sandwiches and other beach food from a tent set up in front of the store. Once the place opens, we’re looking forward to sampling their signature pancakes and crab cakes.

Back in early July, ATZ wrote that by the looks of the gut rehab underway, it wouldn’t be ready till late July, if then. The former location of Nathan’s and Cha Cha’s Club Atlantis (as well as the original Club Atlantis) required by far the most work and investment of any of the rehabbed Boardwalk stores. Due to structural issues, the place had to be completely gutted and rebuilt, including the roof and some of the brickwork. Windows were installed in the west wall. A new roof deck for alfresco dining will have spectacular views of the beach and boardwalk.

Across the street, Zamperla’s PTB —Place to Beach — Bar is under construction next to Scream Zone’s Skycoaster and Go Karts. It’s the former site of Steve’s Grill House and Beer Island. When we passed by on Saturday, the roof appeared to be sprouting the beginnings of a lighthouse!

UPDATE September 12, 2012

Place To Beach

Under Construction: Place To Beach. August 11, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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September 23, 2012: Photo Album: First Brunch at Tom’s Coney Island by Bruce Handy

August 10, 2012: Steeplechase Plaza Under Construction in Coney Island

August 2, 2012: New Building Breaks Ground Next to Coney Island’s Stillwell Terminal

February 2, 2012: Thor’s Coney Island: Generic New Building at Surf & Stillwell

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Coney Island Zip LineThis summer in Coney Island may be remembered as the year people harnessed up and took flight over the upturned heads of astonished visitors. Scream Zone’s 110-foot-tall SkyCoaster, which debuted in May as “Boardwalk Flight,” has riders soaring out over the Boardwalk. Next month, Patrick Ingram of Category 5 Ziplines plans to install a 60-foot-high, 400-foot-long zip line in Coney Island that will let riders glide in the sky over Stillwell Avenue.

“I’m a skydiver who has taught people how to skydive without jumping out of airplanes,” says Ingram, owner of Michigan-based Category 5 Productions. “I started with wind tunnels twelve years ago. It evolved into zip lines over the past three years.” Coney Island Zip Line is expected to open July 21st with four stationary zip lines.

Ingram tells ATZ that the starting point will be just beyond the new MegaWhirl ride in Cha Cha’s Steeplechase Park on the east side of Stillwell. The zip line will traverse Stillwell Avenue, with its ending point being on the other side of the BK Festival’s vendors behind Nathan’s Famous! “It’s a little longer than your typical zip line, which is 200 to 300 feet,” he says. The ride itself is about 25 seconds but the entire experience from the time the rider gets into the harness is 15 to 20 minutes.

Ingram says that he has installed and operated zip lines at college events as well as last year’s Oshkosh Air Show. In addition to Coney Island, Category 5 Ziplines are planned for Miami and Alabama’s Gulf Shore this year. An ad on New York’s Craigslist is seeking a crew of eight to ten to help operate the Coney Island Zip Line. Says Ingram, “We expect to be there in the next couple of weeks, putting the rigging together and getting the staff trained.”

Coney Island Zip Line

Originally planned to open on July 1, the zip line’s debut has been rescheduled for July 21 due to paperwork delays. “It’s taken a bit longer than we thought to get the engineering drawings required for this project,” says Ingram, who adds that everyone he’s working with in New York City is excited about the zip line.

An introductory special on Pinchit offering 50 per cent off regular prices expires today, but he plans to offer similar deals via Living Social and Groupon. The regular price will be $20 on weekdays and $25 on weekends, with a $100 All-Day Zip Pass including an express line. Customers must weigh between 85 and 230 pounds, wear closed toe shoes and sign a waiver.

UPDATE September 14, 2012

The abandoned zipline was finally dismantled and trucked away in May of 2013! Exclusive: Coney Island Zip Line to Be Dismantled Today (ATZ, April 30, 2013)

UPDATE September 14, 2012

Long-Delayed Coney Island Zipline Is Officially Open!
PS: Please read this post and news updates in comments before coming out to ride!

UPDATE August 5, 2012

Coney Island Zip Line Still Under Construction, ATZ, August 5, 2012.

UPDATE July 31, 2012

The zip line is currently being assembled by a crew of about 17 or 18 people! It is being set up behind Nathan’s and runs from the Bowery and Stillwell Avenue to West 15th Street.

UPDATE July 22, 2012

BK Festival spokesman William McCarthy responded to an email query that we sent today: “Working on permits – I will give you positive update as soon as we get through process.”

UPDATE July 21, 2012

The zip line was nowhere to be found today. It wasn’t set up in Coney Island. Rumor on the street is it won’t be opening, but we can’t confirm it. The person who was set to be the on-site manager of the operation did not return calls for comment.

UPDATE July 15, 2012

On Saturday in Coney Island flyers along Stillwell Avenue advertised interviews for jobs working the zip line. Mark Zientek, operations manager at Cha Cha’s Steeplechase Park, told ATZ that the zip line is expected to arrive in Coney Island on Wednesday. He said the zip line will be located on the west side of Stillwell Avenue in the BK Festival lot behind Nathan’s. It will not traverse Stillwell Avenue as originally planned by the operator.

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August 19, 2012: BK Festival Vendors Back in Business, Coney Zipline Isn’t

June 15, 2012: Amusing the Zillion’s Guide to Free Summer Events in Coney Island

February 24, 2012: Summer Jobs: From Coney Island to the Carnival Midway

April 22, 2011: Coney Island Has 64 Rides and 30 Weekends of Summer!

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