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

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  • 1 month later...

Luna Park Trip Report


Cyclone: Surprisingly smooth for such an old ride, especially the the refurbished parts. The cars were really uncomfortable and kind of hard to get into. The lever thing that makes the ride start must have been broken also, as the whole ride crew had to push the back of our train to get us going.


Thunderbolt: I actually really liked the ride and didn't find it as rough as everyone else said it was. I also really liked the weird layout it has.


Soaring Eagle: Despite hearing from everyone how uncomfortable it was,I decided to ride it anyway since I didn't find the one at Playland to be that rough. It turns out everyone was right for this one. It was really uncomfortable and cut into my shoulders a lot.


Steeplechase: A really enjoyable fun ride. I haven't ridden any of the other less compact models, so I don't know how it compares to those.

Flat Rides

Air Race: Pretty fun, although it made me feel kind of dizzy after a while.


Zenibo: I had never ridden a ride like this before and didn't really know what to expect. I found it to be pretty fun, if a little bit overpriced.


Slingshot: I had never ridden one of these before either, and was a little bit worried after what happened at Mt. Olympus. It was awesome though, even though I didn't find it to be as intense as many people have said they are.


I also considering riding Fireball, their new ride, but I decided not to as it looked like it would make me nauseous. I also rode the Wonder Wheel, which I found to be much more fun than any normal ferris wheel I have ridden.

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I stopped by Coney Island today and was pleasantly surprised that the two largest empty lots between Thunderbolt and Deno's have been transformed for eight weeks into an arts and food park. About 20 street art murals and a dozen food stands occupy the premises. The food stands are set up in converted shipping containers. I'll let the pictures tell the story as I took a photo of each menu also.






The owner of this stand saw me taking a picture and I told nim I was posting it online, he wanted me to tell everyone this is not the full menu, I'll try to stop by next week to get a new picture
















And Pizza by Luzzo also set up on premises.

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Wow, such a cool variety of food choices.


The Puerto Rican Mashed Plaintains dish sounds interesting.


And I want a Tizzy; make it Dizzy (then add Vodka).


And a Boardwalk Bucket of wings, too! (spicy BBQ, with the bone)



(Heck, all of the food reads awesome!)

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I have to admit the main reason I stopped by was to check the progress of Zamperla's big new ride at Luna Park, Windstar. Here are some construction pictures along with the other new rides at Luna Park, Scream Zone and Deno's


Lastly, storm damaged Mega Whirl is finally removed replaced with the food stands and art. Which fits in perfectly for the hispters that are starting to frequent Coney Island on summer afternoons and early evenings


Lastly, New York Trapeze School is also here for the summer


Brooklyn Barge replaces Surf's Up at Luna Park


Sea Side Swing replaces the smaller Happy Swing at Luna Park


Windstar, Luna Park's big installation for 2015. I don't know much about it.


It looks like a larger version of one of their current kiddie rides


At Scream Zone, they shoehorned in a Power Surge.


At Deno's they added a Scrambler


Edited by larrygator
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I think it's called "Windstarz", and it's a larger version of their Magic Bikes kids' ride.


Luna Park is turning into a sort of "test bed" for all of Zamperla's new stuff. Their website says that they have something called "Endeavor" coming soon, classified as a "high thrill ride" like Power Surge and Luna 360.


EDIT: Here it is. Looks like an Enterprise but with suspended seats. It's in the place of their Screamin' Swing. They're really purging the place of anything that isn't a Zamperla ride.


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I just got to visit Coney Island/Luna Park during my first-time trip to NYC last week. Honestly, it was a complete mixed bag for me. Even from what I heard/seen, I didn't have a lot of expectations. I was kinda expecting it to be similar to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. But boy have I never had such a curveball thrown at my expectations. Now I'm not saying the park was bad, but it does have some major flaws. The whole park feels disorganized with rides crammed in every possible space (some looked like they were run down), and the point pass/wristband system does have faults.


But other than that, the park was pretty good. The rides were fun, the staff was great, I kinda liked their own idea for stowing personal items by placing it in a specific cubby and giving you a numbered wristband for it, and the lines didn't feel that long. I didn't ride a lot of the rides, but the ones I did ride were all pretty good. I really loved the Cyclone, it was everything I expected and more. The ride felt longer than I had expected, which made for a more fun ride. I was impressed at the use of it's primitive technology, with the station brakes being manual and the cars themselves (which felt like sitting on a couch btw). I seemed to always sit in empty seats which made for a cool moment where during the airtime turns I was able to float to different sides of the seat. If I did have one complaint, it would be that I did feel nauseous after my first ride (which rarely happens to me on a lot of coasters). But I would say this ride can definitely go in my top 3 wooden coasters.


For the other rides; I actually didn't think Thunderbolt was that bad, but the restraints did feel uncomfortable (it was like a panini press to my legs), also the vertical lift felt really weird (it was my first time experiencing one of these). I actually liked Soarin' Eagle, despite me not being a fan of flying coasters. The Tickler was an interesting coaster as it was the first spinning wild mouse coaster I ever rode, though I did think with its short lapbars it felt a tiny bit unsafe. I thought Steeplechase was a really fun ride and was worth riding twice. And I did enjoy riding the Wonder Wheel, the swinging cars weren't as bad as I thought, and it felt pretty peaceful, though I did wish there wasn't a lot of steel within the wheel so it could be easier to take pictures.


All in all, while not as perfect as I thought it would be, Coney Island was a fun and interesting little place to visit. Though I really wouldn't spend the whole day there or even go there the day after.

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This past weekend, I headed over to Brooklyn in the late morning on Friday and checked out what the situation was like with a smaller crowd than I'm usually used to. Plus, I had a free ride on Thunderbolt coming my way thanks to a Pepsi can redemption, and who am I to turn down a free ride?



The view from the east end of the boardwalk.


After arriving and finding unmetered street parking less than a block away from the Cyclone, I made the trek down the boardwalk to where the Thunderbolt is. It's all by itself, down towards where the carousel and parachute drop are. While all of the Luna Park-owned rides were supposed to be up and running by noon, I found myself waiting until around 12:20 before anyone even came by to actually raise the gate on Thunderbolt, and another 10 minutes before they got their systems up and running. When I hit the ride's ticket window to redeem the can, I was then told that we can only redeem these cans at Luna Park's guest services window... which, as you may guess, is all the way back down the boardwalk. Kind of silly to have the same exact pass cards at each window and not be able to offer redemption right at the ride, but whatever.



Thunderbolt and a vacant lot.


After another fifteen minute walk back and forth to get this taken care of, I'm back for my first ride on Thunderbolt finally after missing out on it last season. The restraints leave something to be desired, for sure. I'm not that much against the leg-press part of it, that's fine to me, but the lack of any actual, serious restraint on the shoulders is a huge flaw IMO, especially when they opt for extremely loose seatbelt strap style restraints. I'm a big guy, so when I get slammed into them as we're flipping upside down, yeah, it hurts a bit. I'm more scared for the lightweight eight-year-old girl I was seated next to, whose straps were just loosely flailing around her head, nowhere close to her shoulders. When the lift hill is a straight 90 degrees upright, it's really disconcerting. That being said, the ride itself was decent enough, but nothing particularly thrilling. The inversions were fun enough but really hampered by the straps, and same thing with the small amount of airtime on the camelbacks towards the end. After two rides on it, I think I'm good. I'll give it a [6/10] overall.



Yup, that's steep.


After my time with Thunderbolt is done, I spend some time walking through the open air food stand section from Smorgasburg, mainly because they have a ton of cement walls propped up throughout the area, all featuring aerosol artwork from a variety of the city's underground artists. A lot of the artwork draws on the history of Coney Island, while others are a bit more abstract and trippy. Overall, a pretty cool way to spend some downtime. You can see some photos of these pieces attached in another post below.



The iconic Parachute Jump and B&B Carousell.


Now it's time to check out the coasters over at Luna Park's "Scream Zone" section. Only two smaller ones; a stand-up flyer called "Soarin' Eagle", and a launched version of the classic "Steeplechase" ride where you're sitting on a horse. I opt for Soarin' Eagle first, as there's no real line for it. I love the spiral lift hill on this, really unique and fun! The ride has a pretty small footprint and yet you get a lot of swinging back and forth, plus a couple inversions. Can I say I honestly had more fun on this smaller flyer than I did on Superman: Ultimate Flight at SFGAdv? My only complaint is more personal due to my height; I couldn't quite find the right rung to step on, and I alternately felt as if I was either too high up or too low down to really get comfortable here (but even still, the uncomfortableness didn't match anywhere near what I have on a regular standup coaster like Shockwave or Green Lantern). I'll rate this one at a [7/10].



Soarin' Eagle in action!


Afterwards, I hop in line for Steeplechase, which was about a ten-minute wait, thanks to a school trip that was in front of me. As I mentioned, you're sitting on horses -- or, to be more precise, leaning over the horse. The restraints lock your legs into place, and then come up from the horse's rear end and press down on your back. I didn't have a problem with this, but the fellow next to me was in some very obvious discomfort thanks to it. I didn't realize it was launched until I was actually sitting down waiting for the ride to begin, so it was kind of a cool surprise to me. You get some decent speed out of the launch (nothing rivalling the top tier Intamins, of course), but for the most part, it's a really basic layout with nothing too crazy going on. Probably a [5/10], as it just didn't really have a lot going on past that first launch and felt like it was over way too soon without anything majorly fun happening.



...aaaaaand they're off!


There's no line for the Power Surge at this point, so I take a moment and head over to that and grab a seat. I haven't been on one of these in a while, and forgot what exactly it was like... basically, a three-dimensional Tilt-a-Whirl! The ride op didn't run it for too long though, the ride felt like it was over in under a minute. C'est la vie.



You spin me right round, baby, right round...


After this, I head over towards Luna Park proper, and check out the status of the new Windstarz ride. Sadly, it was still not running, and appeared to still be undergoing weight testing, judging by the sandbags on the ride and ground near it. I asked an employee if there was any idea when it would be up and running, and he said "your guess is as good as mine at this point". Oh well...



Windstarz, still inoperational.


With that out of the way, and only a little bit of time left, I decided to go check out how the good ol' Cyclone was doing. With next to no lines at all, I had my pick of any seat on the train. Rode it five times in straight succession, using up the last of my long-standing credit on my Luna Park card, and bounced all over from the very front to the last seat and everywhere inbetween. What can I say about the Cyclone that hasn't been said already a million times before? It seemed to be running in great shape, with a smoother ride than I remember, and the cushy couch-like cars and comfortable lap bar helped a ton. Not a crazy amount of airtime, but a few of the smaller hills definitely gave me a lift once or twice. Honestly, the only painful part remaining is the dip before re-entering the station, and even that was bearable. The one scary thing was certain seats on the "night" train that they were running happened to have extremely loose seats in certain cars. How loose? Loose enough to come dislodged mid-ride. (Thankfully, I was able to wedge it back into place fairly quickly.) I absolutely love this coaster, adore the layout, the location, and riding it will never get old for me. A solid [9/10], mostly due to personal bias, but hey, it's my trip report, right?



Hello, old friend.


"Last warning!"


A few more random photos to follow in the below posts.


Yeah, Coney Island isn't perfect, and it could definitely be much better, but it's my home base. I still remember my nana (RIP) telling me stories about how when my grandfather and her got married, they hopped a train to New York and spent their honeymoon at Coney Island. I still remember that first little bit of fear I had going down the first drop on the Cyclone. I remember getting hot dogs and fries from Nathan's, never mind what my father says -- they're still my favorite. While it wasn't my first amusement park, I've made so many good memories here that I'm willing to overlook its faults. I love Coney Island!

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The Cyclone signage. Reach out and touch it someday...


Very stylized depiction of the Wonder Wheel on the side of a building.


And the actual Wonder Wheel itself.


The new Steeplechase.


Yet another longview of Thunderbolt.


Thunderbolt towering over the Coney Art Walls in Smorgasburg.


"Thunder Bolt" in Deno's, not to be confused with "Thunderbolt".


The Tickler, skipped riding it on this trip but is pretty fun for a rotating wild mouse style.


Hope those shoulder restraints are working!


The entrance to "Scream Zone", which houses two coasters and a couple other extreme thrill rides.


Standing on these rungs to properly position yourself on a flyer can be a little bit awkward.


I *love* this "spiral staircase" lift hill!


Well, it's definitely going to be a very vibrant ride once it's up and running...


...but sadly that day is not today.


The "night" train is running during the day. Maybe they'll switch to the "day" train at night.

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And here's some of the aerosol art they have on display in the Smorgasburg section. I definitely recommend checking it out and grabbing a bite to eat if you get a chance, as it's way more impressive when they're towering over you


























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  • 1 month later...

Well, the city's at it again:




City to seize and rebuild Coney Island property through eminent domain


Frustrated by stubborn Coney Island landowners, the de Blasio administration plans to seize property under the city’s rarely used power of eminent domain in order to spur long-stalled economic development in the People’s Playground, The Post has learned.


The Parks Department plans to create new amusements and other amenities by grabbing up three vacant beachfront sites through condemnation proceedings — including a 60,000-square-foot tract that once housed the original Thunderbolt roller coaster immortalized in Woody Allen’s 1977 film “Annie Hall,” officials said.

It’s unclear what type of attractions the city wants to bring to these sites, which together total 75,000 square feet and also include smaller tracts off the Boardwalk on West 12th Street and on West 23rd Street.


City officials said they’re turning to eminent domain because they’ve been unable to cut “fair-market” deals with the property owners after exhaustive efforts.

But area business owners said they were stunned by the scheme, which includes using seized land to build new streets and parks that were outlined in a rezoning plan approved in 2009, under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.


“It’s not nice to take people’s property. We live in America. We’re not communists here,” said one Boardwalk business owner.


The head of the neighborhood community board, meanwhile, told The Post he had no idea this was even being contemplated.


“This is the first I am hearing of it,” said Community Board 13 Chairman Butch Moran.


Reviving Coney Island is considered one of Bloomberg’s legacy projects, but he vowed never to use eminent domain to speed the process up — even when his plans were held up for years by heated real-estate negotiations with local developer Joe Sitt.


The city ultimately only moved forward with building Luna Park and other new attractions after it agreed in November 2009 to shell out a staggering $95.6 million to Sitt for nearly seven acres of prime amusement-district property.


The original Thunderbolt, which opened in 1925, stopped operating in 1982. A sleeker, looping new version of the ride opened last year on a narrow acre of city-owned land, which is part of a much larger site that once housed the original wooden coaster of the same name and other amusements.


The family of Kansas Fried Chicken tycoon Horace Bullard, who died in 2013, and longtime business partner Peter Sheffer own the rest of the old Thunderbolt property by West 15th Street and the Boardwalk.


Sheffer said the city has yet to speak to him about the condemnation plan. He said city officials have made “multiple offers” for the site — and that all overtures were “unacceptable.”


Bullard and Sheffer’s property eyed for condemnation is zoned for indoor and outdoor amusements, restaurants and other amenities.


The Thunderbolt site also includes a 12,500-square-foot parcel on Surf Avenue that is zoned for building future hotels, but that portion is not targeted for eminent domain.


A public hearing will be held Oct. 19 at Coney Island Hospital to solicit community input on the condemnation plan. It will start 1:30 pm.


The original Thunderbolt was built atop a 19th-century home, originally known as the Kensington Hotel. In “Annie Hall,” the house under the coaster — occupied until the mid 1980s — was the childhood home of lead character Alvy Singer.


Despite calls for the Thunderbolt to be landmarked, it was razed without Bullard’s consent in 2000 on orders from then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who saw it as an eyesore for fans of a new ballpark for the Mets’ minor-league Brooklyn Cyclones, whose stadium opened in 2001.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Luna Park is turning into a sort of "test bed" for all of Zamperla's new stuff. Their website says that they have something called "Endeavor" coming soon, classified as a "high thrill ride" like Power Surge and Luna 360.


Looks as if this has since been installed. I'll have to take another swing by and check it out, but in the meantime, here's some photos & video I found:


Credit: David Tan via Flickr


Credit: John Hunt via Youtube

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It looks sort of like a modern enterprise. Don't know if that is what they are going for. (But I'd assume it is).


Enterprise was the first US space shuttle. Endeavor was the last. Yeah, that's what they were going for.

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