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

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I predict it will be a good ten years or so before we see anything turned into reality, but I'm excited about this just the same. I love Coney Island, but it's been in sorry shape for ages. It would be so nice to see it return to the glory of its past. The key will be finding the right balance of old and new. Keep the Cyclone, the Wonder Wheel, the Sideshow... renovate Spook-a-rama a bit... restore the parachute drop... and yes, put in a big new coaster! The proposed red coaster in the drawings would be awesome. (Personally, I'd like to see an Intamin hyper - something along the lines of Thunder Dolphin, which is shoehorned into a pretty tight footprint at Tokyo Dome City.) This park can be made GREAT again... but it will take some time.

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^^I'm curious about this too. I wonder if Zamperla is going to run it as a ride showcase for themselves, or use their carnival industry contacts and simply act as the middleman in booking independent rides/games/shows. Or both? Or use it as a sales pitch to carnivals: "buy our ride and we'll give you a place to set it up for the summer!"


There's lots of possibilities. I hope it works out. I'm just glad it didn't end up as condos. The development craze of everything having to be condos/hip/modern/mixed use is really boring. It looks good, but it's so boring and bland.

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This might be a silly question, but has Zamprela ever *run* a park before? I looked on their website and it has a brief blurb about "management" but no specifics and I can't remember hearing about them doing more beyond park design.


According to this New York Times article,


Zamperla operates the Victorian Gardens at Wollman Rink in Central Park, as well as Minitalia Leolandia Amusement Park in Capriate San Vervasio, Italy.
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We some reason whenever I see that picture (from a couple of posts back) I'm reminded of Grona Lund. I guess I just hope the old and the new can be blended in the right manner.


Ryan - I agree losing the sideshow would be a downer. The sideshow, Cyclone, Wonder Wheel and Nathan's are the heart of the place. I don't hold out hope that the parachute drop will ever be refurbished.


Although the area is really depressed and surrounded by a seedy element, at least cops are always present with a police precinct right around the corner.


I feel safe there, but I think a lot of my comfort level is that native New Yorkers know how to spot and avoid trouble situations.

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I think the place has been cleaned up a lot lately and there were a ton of police on our East Coast Trip visit in 08...too many horse police if you ask me! We were sitting enjoying our original Nathan's when one of the horses took a giant dump right next to us...THANKS NYPD!!!!

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In a Jan 23 interview with his hometown newspaper, Zamperla President and CEO Alberto Zamperla revealed the previously undisclosed name and numbers of his soon-to-be built amusement park in Coney Island. “The park will be called, Luna Park, like the first, the only, the inimitable one, the one created by Frederic Thompson and Elmer ‘Skip’ Dundy,” according to an article in the Italian newspaper Il Giornale di Vicenza.


The original Luna Park (1903-1946), one of Coney Island’s four historic amusement parks, inspired Luna Parks throughout the country and round the world. In many countries, including Italy, “Luna Park” is a generic term for amusement park. The article mentions bringing a smile back to the lips of Manhattan director Woody Allen and millions of Americans who return to play in the real and only Luna Park.


Now for the numbers: “For the first season we have estimated the presence of 400 thousand visitors and we are confident it will grow in the future,” Zamperla told the paper. “In terms of investment, we are talking about $24 million over three years. For us it is a great satisfaction as well as a great opportunity.”


The CEO said he was flying to New York the next day and characterized the next few months as “a race against time.” The amusement operator has only six weeks from the site turnover date of April 15 until the park’s opening on Memorial Day weekend to produce the new rides and assemble the new park.


Last week NY1 leaked the news that the City had selected Zamperla USA to be the new amusement park operator for Coney Island. The news is absolutely thrilling, though not at all surprising, to those of us who work in Coney. Zamperla was considered the front runner because they operate Victorian Gardens for the City and the CEO of Zamperla USA joined the CIDC’s Amusement Advisory Board in March 2009. We look forward to the official press conference where Zamperla unveils their designs and ride line-up for the future Luna Park. An announcement is expected as early as this week. But we can’t wait any longer to say Congratulazioni a Zamperla! Welcome to Coney Island!

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I only have three words for everyone...




Come on, a nice compact thrilling flying coaster...perfect!!!

You want to have a flying George Foreman Grill in the new Luna Park?

No, stop, don't do that.


Zamperla are the new owners, but they don't have the most interesting rollercoasters for Coney Island.

But their thrillrides are great.


Just take a look @ their website and see for your self: http://www.zamperla.com


If Luna Park needs new rollercoaster DON'T do Zamperla!!!

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Although I don't find many Zamperla rides to be thrilling, but I do enjoy them (except their Flying Coaster)


It would be cool if Zamperla used Luna Park as a "test" park for new rides. I don't expect it to happen, but it would be neat.

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  • 2 weeks later...



Coney Island's oldest building will soon play a role in its oldest rivalry: the vying for the biggest, baddest freak show. Texan sideshow owner John Strong is making a bid for the title, signing a new lease at the Grashorn Building on Surf Avenue, according to the New York Post. His competition includes Dick Zigun's Coney Island USA Circus Sideshow, and, if a deal with the city is finalized, an amusement park run by Zamperla, called Luna Park.


Built in the 1880s, the Surf Avenue building was home to Grashorn's Hardware, which outfitted much of early Coney Island's burgeoning amusement industry. The Municipal Art Society has made a push for the city to recognize the building as a landmark, so far to no avail.


The building is owned by developer Joe Sitt, who bought up much of Coney Island in recent years for a proposed amusement park called Dreamland. When Mr. Strong first came to town last summer, he leased part of the former Astroland site, which Mr. Sitt has since sold to the city.


The original Luna Park and Dreamland were among Coney Island's first competing amusement parks. At Luna Park, a herd of elephants roamed the land, including one who was electrocuted by Thomas Edison. The proprietors of Dreamland, meanwhile, recruited 300 little people to live in a small-scale village called Lilliputia and, to gain a wider audience, encouraged the community to engage in sexually promiscuous behavior.


Grashorn's building

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Two New Amusement Areas – “Luna Park” and “Scream Zone – will Feature 23 New Rides, Including New Roller Coasters, a Human Sling Shot and Go-Karts; 330 New Jobs to be Created by 2011 with Emphasis on Local Hiring


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Central Amusement International (CAI) today unveiled plans for a new amusement park on three City-owned parcels in Coney Island that will open by Memorial Day 2010. CAI will lease the parcels, totaling 6.2-acres, for ten-years and invest nearly $30 million to build and operate the amusement park. The park will feature both traditional and cutting edge, state-of-the-art rides from renowned ride designer and manufacturer, Zamperla. The new amusement park will be built in two stages: This summer, CAI will open “Luna Park at Coney Island,” which will feature 19 rides, including one – Air Race – that will make its worldwide debut at Coney Island; and by summer 2011, the “Scream Zone at Coney Island” will provide additional attractions, including two custom roller coasters, a human slingshot ride, and go-karts. In total, 23 new rides will be installed, designed to celebrate Coney Island’s unique history and character while adding modern amusements. In its inaugural season, Luna Park is projected to create 247 new jobs in Coney Island, increasing to 330 full and part-time positions in 2011, with an emphasis on local hiring. The Mayor was joined at the announcement, held at the New York Aquarium, by Council Member Domenic M. Recchia, Jr., Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky, Department of City Planning Commissioner Amanda M. Burden, and Central Amusement International Vice President Peter Pelle.


“Coney Island remains one of the most known and beloved neighborhoods around the world, but for decades its famed amusement park has dwindled to just a tiny fraction of what it once was. This summer, we’re reversing that trend,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “As part of our Administration’s revitalization plan for Coney Island – passed by the City Council last year – we’re making necessary infrastructure investments and joining with Central Amusement International to build new amusements that celebrate Coney Island’s historic past while featuring modern rides – some making their worldwide debut – that will attract people from around the City and around the globe.”


The expanded amusement park is part of the City’s Coney Island Revitalization Plan, which will preserve and grow the historic amusement area; create a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood with new retail options and nearly 5,000 new units of housing, including 900 income-targeted units; and generate more than 25,000 construction jobs and 6,000 permanent jobs. In total, the plan is expected to generate more than $14 billion in economic activity for New York City over 30 years. In November 2009, the City released a Request for Proposals for a private sector amusement and entertainment operator for the three sites that it purchased earlier that month from Thor Equities. The proposal submitted by CAI was selected based on criteria that included: the strength of its amusement and entertainment programming; a clear understanding of the redevelopment objectives put forth in the Coney Island Comprehensive Plan; the economic impact of the proposal; the development’s financial feasibility; the team’s qualifications and safety record; and an innovative approach to site design and planning respecting Coney Island’s history and culture.


As part of planned infrastructure improvements, the City will invest $6.6 million in site preparation and basic infrastructure to support the ongoing redevelopment of the neighborhood. In addition, CAI will invest about $30 million: $3 million for additional site preparation, more than $15 million to open Luna Park and more than $12 million to open the Scream Zone. The new amusement park will be operational by Memorial Day and remain open daily until Labor Day and weekends through Columbus Day for its inaugural season.


“I am thrilled that Central Amusement International has been selected as the amusement operator for Coney Island,” said Council Member Recchia. “They have a proven track record of exciting, diverse rides for young children and families that will fit right in to the Coney Island aesthetic. I am looking forward to working with them to ensure that we have rides and amusements in place for this summer, and that we continue to make good on our promise of bringing Coney Island into the future while honoring the history that makes it an iconic, worldwide tourist destination. And I encourage them to remember, when they start hiring, that we have an eager, dedicated workforce right here in Coney Island.”


“I am delighted to welcome Central Amusements to America’s playground. This summer, Luna Park will shine during the day and sparkle under the stars at night,” said Borough President Markowitz. “As they say in Italy, where the roots of Central Amusements were formed, ‘Benvenuti alla Republica di Brooklyn!’”


“I welcome the arrival of Central Amusement International and Zamperla to Coney Island, and I’m very pleased that they will be open for business this summer,” said Congressman Nadler. “This 10-year agreement will be the foundation upon which we can plan the future redevelopment of Coney Island for the benefit of both residents and visitors, and it is truly a major step in the revitalization of the long-suffering amusement district. New public and private investment in the neighborhood will finally reverse the decline of the amusement district and, critically, create new jobs and economic development locally. I congratulate the City on this positive move forward.”


“I am happy that after all these years of negotiation and speculation we are finally delivering what I hope is a new day for the residents of Coney Island,” said State Senator Diane J. Savino. “I want to thank the Mayor's office and the staff of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, but most of all want to thank the residents of Coney Island for their patients and their desire to move the community forward.”


“I’m thrilled to welcome Central Amusement International to Coney Island,” said Assembly Member Alec Brook-Krasny. “It’s great news for Coney Island and the entire City. In today’s economy, the prospect of 330 new jobs for the members of our community is significant news and much needed.”


“Today’s announcement represents a significant step forward in the transformation of Coney Island – offering a substantial down payment on the promise of the Administration’s plans for the redevelopment of this important Brooklyn neighborhood,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Pinsky. “By early this summer, we expect Central Amusements to invest millions of dollars on a vastly-improved and substantially-expanded amusement area, reversing years of decline and disinvestment, while simultaneously creating hundreds of jobs and drawing many, many thousands of visitors to the area. It took a team effort to get to this point and I look forward to celebrating the opening of Luna Park this summer.”


“Today is a major milestone for Coney Island. Not long ago, we were celebrating the adoption of a comprehensive rezoning as a first step towards the restoration of Coney Island's title as the world’s greatest open and accessible urban amusement park,” said City Planning Commissioner Burden. “We are following through with this commitment with the announcement that the new Luna Park will open this summer. This park is the first step towards a permanent year round 27-acre amusement and entertainment district.”


“Central Amusement International is excited to be chosen by New York City to be a part of the revitalization of Coney Island,” said CAI Vice President Peter Pelle. “Coney Island has long been known as a place of innovative thrills and attractions. Our dedicated team will work with the City to revitalize this iconic New York destination to make it a must-see attraction for locals and visitors coming to New York from around the world. We are bringing back the fun to Coney Island this May and for many years to come.”


Luna Park at Coney Island will reestablish the area as an amusement park destination offering 19 new mechanical rides from Antonio Zamperla S.p.A., games, food and beverage concessions, and live entertainment. Four new prototype rides will have their debut in 2010 including Air Race, where riders will soar and barrel roll around a control tower; and the Speedy Coaster, a gravity coaster designed especially for families. In addition, the iconic Astrotower will be repurposed and utilized as signage to draw visitors to the area. By summer 2011, the Scream Zone will expand the park’s entertainment offerings by introducing four additional thrill rides, including the debut of two new roller coasters.


Renderings can be viewed at nyc.gov and at NYCEDC's press image gallery.


Luna Park and the Scream Zone will more than double the acreage currently utilized for amusements in Coney Island, with Luna Park encompassing 3.16-acres on the former Astroland site and the Scream Zone covering an additional 3-acres between West 12th and West 15th Streets. Pursuant to its lease, CAI will pay a base rent to the City of $100,000 per year for each year of its term; the City will also receive additional revenue derived from gross receipts from the amusement park. It is anticipated that existing amusements on other City-owned sites in Coney Island, including the Cyclone and Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, will continue to be operated by their current management for the duration of their leases. Upon expiration of the 10-year interim lease and the completion of necessary infrastructure, the City expects to issue another Request for Proposals to identify a permanent amusement park developer for a lease term of 25 years.


Coney Island Craft Lagers, made by Shmaltz Brewing Company, will celebrate the opening of the new Luna Park with its own brand new summer attraction: Coney Island Luna Lager.


In total, the City will invest over $150 million, together with millions more from the State and federal governments, to improve Coney Island’s infrastructure, including upgrading the underground infrastructure throughout the neighborhood and rebuilding large sections of the Boardwalk. The City is currently in design for a new Steeplechase Plaza to serve as the western entryway to the revitalized amusement and entertainment district, with construction expected to commence by fall 2010. The City also expects to break ground on Coney Island Commons, a new residential and community development with more than 180-units of affordable housing and a new, state-of-the-art, 40,000-square-foot YMCA in fall 2010. More than 5,000 new units of new housing will be built in Coney Island in the coming years with more than 900 affordable to low-and-moderate-income families.


CAI currently operates two amusement facilities including Victorian Gardens at Wollman Rink in Central Park and Minitalia Leolandia Amusement Park in Capriate San Gervasio, Italy. Zamperla, which is providing the rides, is the largest manufacturer and designer of amusement park rides in the world and creates nearly 200 rides annually for parks including Disney Parks & Resorts, Morey’s Piers, Legoland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios, Cedar Fair, Six Flags, Sea World and Merlin Entertainment Theme Parks.


Luna Park Entrance


Mega DiskO


Air Race




Coney Island Operator Sites

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I'm very excitied for this! Zamperla thrill rides look awesome so I'm sure this park will be a sucsess. I don't see them only using Zamperla coaster since there are many coaster types that Zamperla doesnt offer. I would like to see them put one of their new junior twister coasters in the park as it looks pretty interesting to me.


00:30 second mark.


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That's too bad that the park is spread out with Deno's right in the middle.


But Zamperla makes some great rides. Who knows? They may have a full-size roller coaster in development.

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Alright, what in the world is this bizarre 'King Kong / Empire States Building / Red Device' ride? Anybody have any ideas? Looks really strange.




Smart money puts "air race" as being a redesigned spinner ala "the flyer" at knoebels. They were not able complete the concept art before the announcement which is why you see the multiple images of the ride. The finished ride will certainly include the empire state building and king kong. I wish zamperla designed that king kong flat ride instead of huss. http://www.hussrides.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=86&Itemid=137 . Jess, your thoughts?

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I'm not sure how everyone else feels, but the modernization of the iconic Luna Park front gate facade is fantastic, and maybe a hint of this "vision" I have been reading about. This will probably sound sappy, but I wouldn't mind seeing a modernization of the complex; sort of a re-imagining of Luna and Dreamland in its glory, a mix of the Coney of legend and the Coney of the Future. As far as rides, a few more modern pieces wouldn't hurt, I have to agree, but the Island was built on its wooden giants: maybe an offering comparable to Holiday World or the Dells wouldnt be such a bad idea. Just my two bits...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update on Coney Island


No real new information, but a link to the video that shows the current state of Coney Island's future Luna Park. The land will be officially handed over on Monday to the developer and there is an expectation that the ground will be ripped up immediately to put in underground infrastructure.


Rides should start arriving in Mid-April, and the park is expected to open May 29th.

Edited by larrygator
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Impressive, I'll be interested to see how much progress these guys will make in such a short sounding period of time (about 83 days from today if I'm not mistaken). If everything goes off without a hitch by Memorial Day Weekend, that will have to be some kind of new record.

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  • 2 weeks later...



Carol Albert says she expects the landmark Cyclone roller coaster to make a big comeback this summer with the anticipated opening of the new Luna Park next door.


But the Cyclone’s longtime operator isn’t all smiles.


She told the Post that it’s beginning to finally hit her that she’ll never be able to resurrect Astroland Park – which once stood where Luna Park will soon operate -- along another part the fabled boardwalk as she had hoped. “It seems unlikely,” she said.


Astroland closed after 46 years in business in 2008 when Albert failed to reach a new lease deal with then-landlord Joe Sitt. But rather than sell off her rides, she put 22 in storage and has been lobbying the city for a new location ever since. Albert late last year even flirted with trying to reopen the space-themed amusement park with both her old rides and new ones on the former Astroland site. This was after Sitt sold it to the city, so the Bloomberg administration could bring in a new amusement park. But the city instead selected Central Amusement International and its plan for the new Luna Park, which will feature 19 rides by renowned Italian designer Antonio Zamperla and opens Memorial Day.


Now Albert says she’s ready to put her rides on the market and sell them because there’s just no workable space in the amusement area to put them. But traces of the old Astroland will still remain in Coney Island besides the Cyclone. The operators of Luna Park inherited the iconic Astrotower ride that Albert, and then Sitt, left behind because it was too costly to remove. They plan to fix the 275-foot-high attraction and open it to riders again. “I couldn’t be happier about that,” Albert said.


The famous Astroland sign atop the Cyclone still remains, and Albert said this summer it is going green as it will be lit with environment-friendly, LEED-certified lights.


The Cyclone is set to roll in the 2010 season March 28 during a gala event highlighted by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz cracking a bottle of egg cream on the 83-year-old ride. The Cyclone and the rest of the Coney Island amusement area was hit hard last year by a rainy spring and summer and the closing of Astroland.


Albert said the Cyclone alone saw a 25 percent drop in profits in 2009, compared to the previous year. But she expects a big turnaround this year -- and hopefully plenty of sunshine. “With the arrival of the new Luna Park, this truly will be one of the most exciting summers in Coney in a long time,” said Albert, whose family has been operating the roller coaster since 1975 through a lease with the city.


The Cyclone has been a city landmark since 1988 and is one of only 17 roller coasters in the world that the American Coaster Enthusiasts have designated as an “ACE Roller Coaster Landmark,” an award reserved for rides of historical significance.


“I can’t wait for opening day and the first ride on the Cyclone! It’s become a tradition I look forward to all winter long,” said Angie Pontani, the reigning “Miss Cyclone.” The burlesque performer favors the front car and always manages to emerge from the thrilling ride without a hair out of place.


After opening day, the Cyclone is open daily from March 29 to April 6 and from May 14 through Labor Day. The Cyclone is open weekends only from April 7 to May 13, and after Labor Day through the end of September. Ticket prices are $8 for the first ride and $5 for additional rides. Hours are noon till closing.

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