Mayor Bloomberg's office issued a press release yesterday that annoyed me. (You can read it here)
It said, in the big headline, that the two new Scream Zone coasters are the first new roller coasters at Coney Island since the Cyclone was built in 1927.
What? Two seconds of browsing rcdb reveal that, including those built last year, there have been (at least) 8 roller coasters introduced at Coney Island since 1927.
Not surprisingly they have led with the inaccurate but flashy headline. Later on, buried in the text of the release it qualifies the claim and says that these are the first new major roller coasters since the Cyclone in 1927.
Okay, the revised claim ignores the Bartlett/Miller Flying Turns coaster that was at Steeplechase Park in the 1930's. Seven of these were built in the 30's and '40's. If Knoebel's ever gets theirs going, this generation of fans can decide if it was "major" or not.
The qualification also implies that Zamperla builds "major" roller coasters. Ugh. I guess what this shows is that Coney Island, the birthplace of the archetype of the American amusement park, has fallen on such hard times, and for so long, that the addition of a Zamperla Volare is considered historic, by no less than the Office of the Mayor of the City of New York.
Did you see the video (thanks for posting, Adam) of Mayor Bloomberg "releasing" the slingshot? A gaggle of sophisticated New Yorkers who've never seen an attraction that can be found at downscale beach boardwalks. And they think this transforms Coney Island into a world class attraction?
One reason I voted (again) for Mayor Bloomberg was the brilliant Coney Island re-zoning and the defeat of Joe Sitt and the Thor Equities plan to bulldoze the history and turn Coney Island into a mall. But the administration's rhetoric implying that Zamperla is the be all and end all of amusement manufacturers and operators is maddening.
The only thing world class about Coney Island right now is its history, which the Mayor's Office found fit to ignore entirely. Don't get me wrong, it's my "home park" and I love being there. But Zamperla was not the choice to create world class experience, at least not in the near term. I hope I'm wrong and they go on to build the Zamperla version of Mack's Europa Park. That would be fine by me if Zamperla steps up their game and starts building and installing serious rides. But even the Macks put in a B&M.
Thanks for listening to my rant.
Last edited by milst1 on Sat May 07, 2011 3:11 am.
It's all political posturing. Saying that this is first coaster since the Cyclone sound a hell of a lot more impressive than there were a bunch of other coasters but they are all gone now. They don't care if it's accurate, as long as it's impressive.
Go-karts could be zooming their way back to Coney Island — and they may reach the finish line near the spot where developer Joe Sitt demolished their last speedway.
Coney developer Central Amusement is considering a new track between Stillwell Avenue and W. 15th Street — a stone’s throw from the last track to call Coney home between Stillwell and W. 12th Street.
The news that a go-kart track could get built was first reported by Amusing the Zillion, a local blog that reported that Central Amusement is also considering a water ride for the site.
Central Amusement spokesman Tom Corsillo said a final decision hasn’t been made.
“We’re considering a range of options and go-karts are one of them,” Corsillo said.
Coney’s faithful said visitors have been clamoring for go-karts ever since developer Joe Sitt bulldozed the neighborhood’s last remaining speedways, Go-Kart City and the racetrack run by Deno’s Wonder Wheel, in 2007.
Central Amusement eventually replaced them with Scream Zone, a collection of amusement rides.
“People still come in looking for go-karts in Coney Island,” said Dennis Vourderis, the owner of Deno’s Wonder Wheel. “I think its a good move [for Central Amusement] to bring them back.”
Coney Island’s go-kart history stretches back to at least the 1950s, when the first modern rides appeared between Surf Avenue and the Boardwalk, according to Charles Denson, the director of the Coney Island History Project.
The old Astroland theme park, which opened in 1962, also operated a racetrack before shutting it down.
“Go-karts are a part of Coney Island,” Denson said. “It’d be great if they returned.”
The calendar says November but the rides were still spinning Sunday in Coney Island. Dennis Vourderis, who operates Deno's Wonder Wheel, decided to open up his park over the weekend. It was an unusual extension to the amusement park season. But he says when the weather is good, so is business.
"It's very unusual that we are open in November, but the great weather and the excitement about Coney Island and how things have changed, there's a lot of foot traffic on the boardwalk lately, even on a sunny weekend in November. Go Figure," Vourderis said.
With record rainfall, Mother Nature washed out much of the business in August with an entire weekend totally drowned out by Hurricane Irene.
"We had an earthquake the last week of August along with a hurricane, so it was not a good way to end the season," said Vourderis. "So thankfully the sun's out in November, so we can make up some lost time."
But despite the rain, Coney Island fared well this summer. The city tells NY1 it was one of the most successful summer seasons on record with more than 640,000 visitors. That's about 200,000 more people than in 2010 when Luna Park became the first new amusement park in Coney Island in 50 years.
One reason for the upsurge this year was the addition of Scream Zone, operated by the Italian rides manufacturer Zamperla, which also runs Luna Park. With all three parks in action along with the landmark Cyclone roller coaster, thrill seekers came for their jolt this summer and continued to through the fall.
The city says it wants to add even more amusements for next season. It just put out a request for proposals for a site called Jones Walk, an alley-like street that sits between Luna Park and Deno's Wonder Wheel. The city is seeking an operator to add games, shops and rides to turn the narrow space into another fun destination.
"Coney Island is definitely growing it's expanding and it's going to be better than Disney World some day," Vourderis said.
The B&B Carousel, a fabled part of Coney Island history, used to sit on Surf Avenue. Now, developers will place it next to the landmark Parachute Jump, in a two-story pavilion with folding glass doors that open out toward the boardwalk.
The designer, David Rockwell of Rockwell Group, explains that he wants to have the famed amusement park's history mingle with the fun.
"We're treating the carousel and the 50 amazing original horses and two chariots as kind of a jewel offset with this round building," says Rockwell. "And around the perimeter, when you're on the carousel, there will be a small installation looking at the history of Coney Island." The carousel will sit in a newly created Steeplechase Plaza. The city starts construction of the 2.2-acre park this week.
"It's a wonderful little park off the boardwalk that will allow people a place to hang out. There's a very shaded grove of trees down the hill, and it's the first public part of reimagining Coney Island," says Rockwell.
The city reimagined the more than 90-year-old wooden carousel operating in Coney Island's future. Back in 2005, Mayor Michael Bloomberg bought the carousel for nearly $2 million, when it was up for sale. It was old but still operational.
The carousel is being restored in Ohio to make its grand return to a $30 million Steeplechase Plaza, which sits in the the footprint of the former Steeplechase amusement Park.
"The parachute jump has always been this amazing icon, but now you're going to get to enter Steeplechase Plaza underneath it. And as you peek through it, it'll pull you into the park," says Rockwell.
The city says the park and carousel will be ready for the 2013 season.
The city today begins construction of a long-anticipated piece of the Coney Island makeover — Steeplechase Plaza, which officials are banking on to make the boardwalk west of Stillwell Avenue rival in popularity to Luna Park and the rest of the amusement area to the east.
The $29.5 million, 2.2-acre plaza will feature a new pavilion for the historic 1919 B&B Carousel, which was rescued from auction by the Bloomberg administration in 2005, that will help showcase the landmark Parachute Jump.
The plaza will be located on the site of the former Steeplechase Amusement Park, between W. 16th and W. 19th streets. It’ll allow visitors to enter the amusement area by walking directly underneath the 262-feet-high Parachute Jump.
“Steeplechase Plaza is a first big step at building up the western end” that also includes soon-to-be built new playgrounds, shops and market-rate high-rise housing,” said local Councilman Domenic Recchia Jr.
The carousel was originally assembled in Coney Island in 1919, and is its last remaining historic carousel. The ride features fifty hand-carved wooden horses and two chariots.
The plaza will also include a shaded area to sit and enjoy the surroundings called “Luna Forest” and custom light fixtures.
ROCKWELL GROUP AND IO MEDIA A rendering of the B&B Carousel in the new plaza
Central Amusement International (CAI) – the subsidiary of Italian ride manufacturer Zamperla overseeing the revitalization of the Coney Island amusement scene – has now set its sights on the mighty Cyclone wooden roller coaster. CAI officials acknowledged that the Cyclone is in need of repairs. They did their research and settled on one company they felt has the competence and passion to invigorate the ailing ride, Pennsylvania-based Great Coasters International, Inc.
Amusement Today spoke with Valerio Ferrari, president of CAI, about the work taking place on the grand old ride and why GCII was selected for the project. “We are very excited for the improvements that have been and will be made to The Cyclone. This ride is rich in history, and being able to preserve it for future generations to enjoy is something that CAI is very proud to be part of,” said Ferrari. “CAI chose GCII to renovate the Cyclone mainly for two reasons. First and most importantly, they are an industry leader with a proven track record on renovating existing coasters while maintaining each coasters’ ‘identity’. Second, they demonstrated a very strong desire to put their thumbprint on such a prestigious and iconic ride.
“GCII surveyed the Cyclone’s track and proposed that by making small adjustments to its profile, we will be able to create a more enjoyable riding experience for our guests. Since this is both financial and labor intensive, CAI concluded that breaking the project into phases will allow us to keep the Cyclone open during our operating season and stay within budget constraints,” continued Ferrari. “The Cyclone’s track replacement is expected to be completed within four to five years. As part of the final phase, we are looking into either refurbishing or replacing the Cyclone’s trains. Plans are not final, however, our vision is to keep the trains similar to the original design. When we are finished, the track and other ride systems will be state-of-the-art and will also meet current ride standards.”
If all goes as planned and the weather cooperates, CAI officials feel the Cyclone will be ready to open on Palm Sunday, April 1, 2012.
This is kind of depressing for me, because I have been wanting to ride the Cyclone in its original state (just to say that I did) for several years now. I guess I need to get out there in May and ride the thing before all the track gets completely replaced.
These pages are in no way affiliated with nor endorsed by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Cedar Fair, Legoland, Merlin Entertainment, Blackstone, Tussaud's Group, Six Flags, Universal Theme Parks, the Walt Disney Company or any other theme park company.
photos and videos on this website were taken with the permission of the park by
a professional ride photographer.
For yours and others safety, please do not attempt to take photos or videos at
parks without proper permission.
You need a sense of humor to view our site,
if you don't have a sense of humor, or are easily offended, please turn back
Most of the content on this forum is suitable for all ages. HOWEVER! There may be some content that would be considered rated "PG-13." Theme Park Review is NOT recommended for ages under 13 years of age.