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Coney Island (Luna Park / Deno's) Development Discussion Thread

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Does anybody know more about the third ride Luna Park was supposed to get? I remember reading that there would be three new rides this year, and I can't imagine that the "reborn" Thunderbolt would count given it's coming in 2014 and technically isn't in Luna Park proper anyway.

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Oh how I love Coney Island. I did the Shoot the Freak a few times a while back, and it was hilarious fun. Do they still have those fairground-esque rides such as Ring of Fire, etc?


Directly west of Deno's there are still 5-6 rides run by independent operators.

Saturn 6

a dark ride

bumper cars


I think the Ring of Fire, Zipper and other fairground type flats used to be where Scream Zone now stands.


Damn, that's a shame, actually. The fairground flats gave it a little more character from my point of view. My brother and I went on the Ring of Fire once and the Ride OP held us upside down for at least 15-20 seconds. I thought, for a split second, that calamity would strike. Good times.

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A great video popped up on YouTube that really helps put the removal of the Astrotower into perspective. The video summary also provides some great information about the history of the Astrotower and how Coney Island might not exist the way it is today if it weren't for the Astrotower being built.


Coney Island's Astrotower was much more than an amusement ride. It served as a symbol of hope. To those of us living in Coney Island in the early 1960s, the tower represented the future of Coney Island, a sign that the neighborhood would survive the city's urban renewal schemes.


At that time, most of the neighborhood was slated for demolition, and former amusement sites were being converted to housing. Venerable Steeplechase Park closed down the same year that the tower went up. The Albert family took a huge personal risk when they built Astroland and the Astrotower. When the tower was completed in 1964, Coney Island had a bright new landmark proclaiming that the amusement zone would not be wiped away.


The tower was never a thrill ride. It provided an overview, an aerial perspective on Coney Island. The Astrotower was not an ornate or baroque tower like the ones at Dreamland and the old Luna. It was a utilitarian structure, much like Coney's first tall attraction, the 300-foot Iron Tower, built in the 1870s to resemble a giant oil rig. The Astrotower had idiosyncrasies: it liked to sing and dance, to sway in the wind as the cables hummed a mournful tune. This proved to be its undoing.


Back in the 1970s, when the iconic Parachute Jump was a rusting abandoned relic, there were constant calls for its demolition. But it survived its critics and is now restored as the Eiffel Tower of Brooklyn. The Astrotower would not be so lucky.


When the Coney Island History Project exhibit center opened below the Cyclone in 2007, I got to know the Astrotower's longtime caretaker, Frank Pugliesi. On Sunday mornings I'd accompany him to the top while he did the weekly maintenance. Frank was an elevator mechanic, and he kept the tower in top shape. The motor room atop the tower looked like new, always clean and freshly painted in bright colors.


Toward the end, some saw the Astrotower as a relic, a leftover that did not belong in the "new" Coney Island. But the truth is that there might not have been a Coney Island for latest regime to "rescue" if not for the enormous personal investment made by the Albert family in the early 1960s. The tower was a lasting reminder of the optimism that investment represented.


There was a recent plan to decorate the tower with pinwheels and lights, in sync with the new lighting on the Parachute Jump. It would have been beautifully repurposed. But it was not to be, and the Astrotower joins Coney's towers of the past, a page in history. The tower went out in a dramatic fashion on the Fourth of July weekend 2013 in a fog of hysteria, false rumors, and conflicting reports. It was condemned and cut into pieces and unceremoniously hauled off to a junkyard. Was Hurricane Sandy to blame, or the removal of the observation car and counterweights that always kept it balanced? Or was the tower just trying to escape, its mission accomplished?


The Astrotower will be hard to replace, but another symbol of optimism is waiting in the wings. Now is the time to bring back the Astroland Rocket!

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  • 2 weeks later...



Not as tragic as what happened at SFoT, but it appears a child wiggled his way under the lap bar on the Sea Serpent and Deno's Wonderland and jumped out of the car. Sounds like it was only a minor injury, but reminiscent of the tragic accidents that happened at Rye Playland a few years back.


Boy Hurt While Trying to Crawl Out of Kiddie Roller Coaster at Coney Island


A child was injured when he tried to get out of a kiddie roller coaster before it came to stop at Coney Island Wednesday, authorities say.


The 5-year-old boy was on the Serpent coaster at Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, amusement park officials said. He crawled underneath the lap-retaining bar and jumped off the ride before it stopped.


The boy, who met the height requirement for the ride, was treated for a large cut to his left leg.


"The ride is an inspected approved ride and there has never been an incident before in its15-year history here at Coney," said Dennis Vourderis, Deno's vice president. "We are checking the lap bar of the car the young man rode tonight as well."


Deno's is a small amusement park at West 12th Street and the boardwalk featuring mostly children's and family rides.

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Some articles make it sound even worse saying he had bad cuts on his head and was unconscious for awhile.


I believe this is a standard Miler which makes me wonder how he climbed under as it has the bar and belt attached to the bar. If he was so scared why did they put him on alone!?!? Parents are allowed to ride with their children on this ride. Ugh, it just annoys me!

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  • 2 months later...

^I think you are correct. I was just wondering if this will be a portable base to not only save some money, but also to introduce the product as a competitor to Gerstlauer. If I remember right, the first motocoaster had a foundation too.

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I wonder if the ride will have footers, or a portable base?


I know this one is from Zamperla, but I can't recall if any of Gerstlauers besides Typhoon are on portable bases. I really don't pay attention to things like that.


I think that some of their more compact models like Iron Shark (Shark! Shark!) and the Spongebob ride at mall of America are on portable bases, but then again that could be due to the nature of those installation.


It seems like the layout of Thunderbolt is much too large to have it designed on a portable base. Then again it is kind of a long skinny plot of land, the kind that probably exists at just about every fair ground in the world.......


(the more I think about it, if this were a portable model it would kind of explain why the layout is so tight and funky. Seems like there is plenty of space there to build a "full size" ride with a unique layout if they really wanted to)

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It is a relatively thin plot of land, probably about the same width as The Cyclone. Also, one side of the plot is right up against the minor league baseball stadium and I don't know if there any any restrictions on how close the coaster can be to the stadium.

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  • 2 months later...

The City of New York as extended CAI lease for Luna Park until 2027, the lease was set to expire in 2020.


The City is also expected to renew the lease for the kiddie area of Deno's Wonder Wheel Park. Wonder Wheek park owner Dennis Vourderis already owns the land underneath the Wonder Wheel.


For those that are curious I saw no parts on site for the Thunderbolt when I stopped at Nathan's yesterday.




City Extends Lease Of Coney Island Amusement Park Operator

By: Jeanine Ramirez

12/18/2013 11:36 PM


Mayor Michael Bloomberg is taking steps to preserve the footprint he made in Coney Island long after he's gone, as the city has extended the leases of several well-known Coney Island Boardwalk business through 2027. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.


The Soaring Eagle will continue to soar all the way to the year 2027.


In one the final acts of the Bloomberg administration, NY1 has exclusively learned that the city has extended the lease of Coney Island amusement park operator Central Amusement International for an additional seven years. CAI runs Luna Park, Scream Zone, the landmark Cyclone and all of the boardwalk businesses.


The city is also close to finishing a lease extension with Deno's Wonder Wheel Park.


"They've agreed to it, and we're just waiting for the final documents to be signed and sealed and delivered," said Dennis Vourderis, the owner of Deno's Wonder Wheel Park. "So we're very optimistic that will happen."


The Vourderis family owns the landmark Wonder Wheel but leases the land near the boardwalk to run its kiddie park.


"Our lease on the kiddie park section of our amusement park runs currently 'til the year 2020. We've asked to go to 2027," Vourderis said.


Vourderis said it's a great parting gift from Bloomberg, who has invested greatly in the development of Coney Island. In 2005, the city released the Coney Island Revitalization Plan, with initiatives to preserve and grow the amusement area. Luna Park opened in 2010, and Scream Zone opened the following year. The boardwalk got a makeover, among other enhancements in the area.


Coney Island's resurgence has been attracting record crowds, including Beyonce, who just this week released a music video featuring Coney Island in all its glory.


"Mayor Bloomberg not only put in a lot of money into the area by purchasing property and doing several million dollars in infrastructure improvements, but he's also lent us the support of his staff," Vourderis said. "We couldn't have done it without him."


Vourderis said that as a thank you, he'd like to offer a lifetime pass to Bloomberg, who will soon become a grandfather after he leaves office.


"We'd love to see your grandchild here on the kiddie rides some day," Vourderis said.


Those rides, along with the others in the amusement district, are set to spin for more than a dozen years.

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Anyone still think Zamperla opening the park was a bad idea?


No, in fact I think Zamperla taking over the park was a good idea (they really helped spruce the area up by removing non historic junkie carnival rides).

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^Seeing as they're treating the park as more of a showcase for their rides I wouldn't be surprised if they just replace old rides with newer ones, like a storefront.

I really don't see an Indiana Beach/Blackpool pleasure beach situation going on where everything is built in a big spaghetti bowl and on top of each other.

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With such a long time commitment hope to see even more Zamperla rides popping up in the area soon...



They are running out of land. So It'll be exciting unless they get more land.


They are three pieces of land that could be used in the future for additional rides.


Ones small plot of land next to the adult rides at Deno's is used by independent ride operators as has 4 rides installed (Saturn 6, a Ghost House, Bumper Cars and I can't remember the 4th rides (maybe a Himalaya)


The two other pieces of land are between Scream Zone and Nathan's. One piece of land is leased to independent operators. This is where the Mega Whirl sits rotting. The last piece of land has been used for concerts the past for years. All together those three plots of land are roughly equal in size to Scream Zone.


If CAI gets control of that land they could squeeze 12-18 more rides in depending on the size of the rides and how tight they pack them in.

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Anyone still think Zamperla opening the park was a bad idea?


I think anyone who thought it was a bad idea was saying that simply from a fan point of view in the sense that it would be nice to see it be more than just a Zamperla showcase. I don't think anyone doubted it from a financial point of view.

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