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Casino Pier (Seaside Heights) Discussion Thread

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Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter. As lame and tame as they are, there is no arguing that they at least look pretty cool. That in itself could probably draw beach-goers to the pier. It's also probably the cheapest way you could build something with numerous inversions- another obvious and fool-proof crowd magnet. .

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I'm all for a Big Fun coaster or a Eurofighter/El Loco being added.


Oh and while they're at it, they should add some of those really awesome flats popping up all over (Air Race, Sky Flyer, Starflyers). I know ropes courses/ziplines are becoming increasingly popular as well. It's probably not likely for a pier like Casino Pier to get one, but it would be interesting to see how a pier can pull a ropes course off.

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This is about a week old but haven't seen it posted here, it's quite insightful.


Toms River Journal


Phil Stilton, Erik Weber

TR Magazine Riverside Signal

SEASIDE HEIGHTS—Three weeks after Superstorm Sandy pounded through the shoreline, boardwalk and amusement areas, here, Vincent Storino, managing member of Casino Beach Pier, LLC, took a helicopter flight to view the full scope of the damage to the Casino Pier.


Since the morning after the storm made landfall here, on October 30th, images of the Jet Star rollercoaster ride partly submerged in the surf beside the shattered end of the pier became one of the main icons of Sandy’s wrath as area residents without power but with battery-powered cellular smartphones and national and international news organizations all flocked to the online social media website Facebook for on the ground information as the area began to first assess the crushing blow the combination storm system wrought.


This was how the pier manager first learned of the horror waiting for him at his family’s amusement pier.


“Where I was, we had no power, so initially I learned about the damage through my cellphone—people were just sending me messages,” he said.


A week earlier, upon seeing the European weather model for Hurricane Sandy’s path, the pier manager got nervous.

“Then when they were saying that storm was going to make a left-hand turn, that scared me because a storm has never come straight in from the east like this one did,” he said. “I knew it was going to push a tremendous amount of water to us.”

Mr. Storino said that his family prepared for the storm both at their Casino Pier and Jenkinson’s Beach Boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach the same way they would any other storm.


“Rides that we were able to get off of the pier were brought to our warehouse in Toms River,” he said. “Some rides were stored in the Centrifuge [ride, located on the eastern portion of the pier].”


Late in the evening of October 29th, Sandy made landfall and caused damage to homes and infrastructure ranging into the billions of dollars in the state alone, according to the National Weather Service’s preliminary estimate. That agency also reported several wind gusts in Ocean County at close to 90 mph, and a buoy located near the entrance to New York Harbor issued a record wave height of 32.5 feet at 8:50 pm, just before a time that multiple witnesses present on the barrier island at that time attribute to a fast moving storm surge that elevated water levels in or near their homes drastically in a short period.


With much of the New Jersey shore without power or communications capabilities, the extent of the damage was unclear until the break of day, when Mr. Storino learned the news via the images being transmitted online through his smartphone by those who remained on the island through the night.


It wasn’t until October 31st, when President Barack Obama and Governor Chris Christie were flying in Marine One, that Mr. Storino was first able to make it back to his family’s amusement center.


“The whole upper section of the pier is going to need to come down—in fact, part of what’s there is starting to collapse and will probably fall in soon,” he reported. “The ocean and the waves have been relentless since the storm.”

“The aerial pictures do not describe the damage that it did—everyone shows the rollercoaster in the ocean, and the rollercoaster in the ocean is minimal to the damage sustained to the pier,” the pier manager continued. “Did it fall off the pier or is it still resting on the pier below the water? I don’t know. To me the position it’s sitting in right now, it shifted northwest, so it’s kind of inland and a bit north of the pier.”


“The status of the carousel is unknown,” he continued, referring to the over 100-year-old Dr. Floyd Moreland Historic Dentzel/Looff Carousel with music provided by the only continuously operating Wurlitzer Military Band Organ in the state, present in Seaside Heights since 1932. “I’ve been reading things on the internet and getting e-mails saying the carousel is fine. We don’t know that the carousel is fine. We’re doing everything we can to protect it. It did get some water from underneath, there was some wind-driven rain inside from the top, however, [the carousel] is made out of wood. There’s no power, no heat. It’s inside of a building and with the moisture, we don’t know what’s going to happen—we don’t know if it warped or if there are any damages yet.”


“It doesn’t look like any of the rides on the pier are salvageable. It doesn’t look it,” Mr. Storino stated, adding that their storage warehouse in eastern Toms River Township took on “three to four feet of water, so the rides that were in the warehouse were underwater. A couple of the smaller kiddie rides were in the warehouse—some were old, some were new, but nothing is really salvageable.”

One ride that he was particularly interested in trying to save or restore was the Enterprise, a horizontal to vertical moving Ferris wheel with 20 gondolas that utilized centrifugal force to achieve its effect and is named after the U.S.S. Enterprise from the original Star Trek television series of the 1960s. It was manufactured by HUSS Park Attractions in 1972 and came to the Casino Pier from Coney Island, New York in the middle of the last decade.


The famous mock-haunted dark ride located at the end of the pier, the Stillwalk Manor, “is gone. It just disappeared. I found one of the cars from the ride on the beach, washed up near Jenkinson’s in Point Pleasant,” reported Mr. Storino.


“Everybody’s focused on the rollercoaster in the ocean, but there’s so much more damage than that—we still don’t know the full extent, and we’re finding more and more each day,” he continued. “We hope we have the proper insurance; we’re just starting to meet with our insurance company. The outpouring of support is overwhelming; it’s hard to take in. We’re fortunate that all of our family, we’re all safe, we had some damage and we don’t know anyone who perished in the storm. In this area, I’m amazed that there’s not several hundred fatalities.”


The Storino family’s insurance firm for both the Casino Pier and Jenkinson’s Beach Boardwalk is Andrew K. Knox and Company, of Toms River.


Despite the heavy damage inflicted upon Casino Pier, the pier manager had his sights set on the future.

“We’re going to do our best to try and get open as much as we can as soon as we can. There are no preliminary plans; it’s still out of our hands at this time,” he said, thanking both Seaside Heights and Point Pleasant Beach boroughs for their help and support. “The plan is to get something open of some sort in both towns, as much as we can in Point Pleasant Beach, providing the town has to reconstruct the boardwalk. Seaside Heights has already demolished their boardwalk; I’m pretty confident they can get that [rebuilt] in time.”

Before stepping out of the helicopter, he stated, “we want to build bigger and better than before, but that’s up to the insurance company and the professionals. We might be able to open the lower portion of the pier, but right now I just don’t know. It all depends on the extent of the pier. We might have to rebuild the entire pier. It might have to be rebuilt in concrete for seismic ratings.”

“At this point I just don’t have the answers,” he said.


The helicopter flight was arranged for Mr. Storino through Patrick Day of Liberty Helicopters by Chris Aldrich, public insurance adjuster with the Andrew K. Knox and Company. The Storino family’s Point Pleasant Beach amusement center is run by Vincent Storino’s cousin, Anthony Storino.


Photo: Vincent Storino, owner of the Casino Pier surveys the damage via helicopter. Photo by Phil Stilton


Also if you hit up the Ocean City Police blotter on Facebook you'll find photos of the town and some neat stories.

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Plus, people are stupid. Someone would swim out to it, climb on it, and inevitably fall to his or her death.

I'm actually shocked that pictures of people climbing all over it haven't already surfaced.



There's no money in a lawsuit. Wait until those parks rebuild with new rides. Then they're gonna jump off it like an Extreme Polar Bear Club.

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  • 3 weeks later...



In Seaside Heights, at the heart of the New Jersey shore, the log flume at Casino Pier hangs at the edge of broken boards. The Wild Mouse ride is being dismantled. The Jet Star roller coaster, ripped from its base when Hurricane Sandy struck, still sits in the ocean.


While many people count the shopping days until Christmas, on the battered Jersey Shore it’s the days until beach season that really matter. Seven weeks after Sandy struck and less than six months before Memorial Day, boardwalk operators, merchants and mayors are seeking answers to even the most basic questions: What was broken, what will it cost to fix and, perhaps most importantly, how much can be done before beachgoers return?


“Everybody’s going to be pushing because everybody’s under the same gun,” said William Akers, mayor of Seaside Heights, where Casino Pier remains without electricity. “We all have that same deadline. Our tourist season is short to begin with, and we need to be open.”


Shore tourism is the backbone of New Jersey’s $38 billion leisure and hospitality industry, the third-biggest source of private-sector jobs in the Garden State and an essential part of its soul. The shore’s economy is a complex system of rides, boardwalks, beaches, arcades, bars, restaurants and lodgings. Take one piece away and every other piece is diminished.


FunTown Pier


Seaside Heights and neighboring Seaside Park, on a barrier island that draws more than a million visitors each year, suffered some of the most visible damage to their summer attractions. For Governor Chris Christie, the towns’ boardwalks were “the Jersey Shore of my youth,” where he now brings his own children, he told CNN’s Piers Morgan the day after the Oct. 29 superstorm.


About half of Casino Pier, home to the Jet Star roller coaster, needs to be replaced. Half a mile to the south, most of FunTown Pier in Seaside Park was destroyed. While its Ferris wheel remains standing, the base is warped and tilted. Last week, torn planks from the boardwalk sat in a pile on the sand, like an unlit bonfire.


The cost to restore Casino Pier will be in the “tens of millions” of dollars, said Ken Taylor, chief financial officer of Jenkinson’s South Inc., which manages the pier’s finances. The Jet Star was its biggest money-maker, he said. “If you ordered a roller coaster like that now, it would take two years to build,” Taylor said.


Blackout, Curfew


It will be almost another month before the Storino family, which owns Casino Pier, completes a study of how best to rebuild and gets a sense of the cost, Taylor said. For now, the focus is on clearing damaged rides and securing the portion of the pier that’s salvageable.


The New York-based engineering firm Mueser Rutledge is conducting the study, which involves using sonar and scuba divers to examine the pier’s pilings and the stranded coaster. Work has proceeded slowly because of the blackout and a curfew that limited access to the barrier island after 3 p.m. The curfew was moved to 4 p.m. on Dec. 6, according to the mayor.


While restoring the pier’s upper section, closest to the ocean, is “out of the question” for next year, “we’re hopeful of having a functional lower pier with a number of rides on it for the summer,” Taylor said. “We have to be optimistic.” Opening about 15 of the normal 35 rides should produce just short of half the pier’s typical summer revenue -- enough to survive, he said.


‘Real Question’


Reopening is only part of the battle.


“The real question is when the surrounding area is going to be completed -- all the devastation around us,” Taylor said. “We depend on people who come down to rent homes. The question is whether our patrons will be able to come back to Seaside.”


Seaside Heights is seeking bids to replace its storm- wracked boardwalk, and “we expect to have a crew on the ground” by the first week in January, with completion by Memorial Day, which next year falls on May 27, Akers said. The town, whose typical budget is about $12 million, approved an emergency appropriation of $14.7 million, the mayor said.


In Seaside Park, Mayor Robert Matthies said he is waiting to hear what the owner of FunTown Pier, the town’s No. 1 taxpayer, intends to do. The owner, William Majors, who operates a construction company in nearby Toms River, didn’t return telephone calls seeking comment on his plans.


In 2006, Majors considered replacing the 83-year-old pier with condominiums. “Amusements are not profitable anymore,” Carmen Ricci, his consultant at the time, told the borough council, according to the Ocean County Observer newspaper. The plan to build 105 three-story units was criticized and Majors abandoned it, Matthies said.

Boardwalk Businesses


“The pier has been a good neighbor,” Matthies said. “Rebuilding the pier is vital to the economic balance sheet of the borough.”


Akers said he’s concerned about FunTown Pier’s future because it’s on the border with Seaside Heights. Businesses along his town’s boardwalk depend on the pier to draw in customers, he said.


“I know they have a good owner,” Akers said. “I don’t know what his situation is, but I haven’t heard as many positive comments on or information in general about what’s going to happen down there. That’s going to reflect on the businesses around them that have signed these long-term leases based on FunTown Pier being there.”


Operators also are waiting to find out how much of their repairs will be covered by insurance.


Insurance Payouts


“There will be a lot of money coming in from the insurance industry,” said Howard Mills, chief adviser of Deloitte LLP’s insurance practice. “But that does not necessarily mean they can restart the rebuilding process right away, because there will be a lot of planning that will have to happen beforehand.”


Taylor said he expects most if not all of the bill for Casino Pier to be covered by its insurer, Munich-based Allianz SE. (ALV) One hitch may be if the government requires that the pier be reconstructed using material stronger than wood, such as concrete, which would add to costs, he said.


Jacqueline Maher, an Allianz spokeswoman, said the company doesn’t discuss clients’ coverage because the information is confidential.


Insurance is an issue for the entire Jersey Shore, not just the hardest-hit towns. With Sandy’s floodwaters invading places they’d never gone before, operators -- almost exclusively small, family-owned companies -- are bracing for a jump in premiums that may make it tougher for them to stay in business.


Steel Pier


“If you have losses your premiums go up, and at some point they override the net income and you have to decide whether or not it’s worth going forward,” said Joe Addison, chief executive officer of Aon Risk Solutions Global Entertainment Group, which brokers policies for amusement companies. “These guys on the shore are going to have the same challenge.”


Anthony Catanoso, owner of Atlantic City’s Steel Pier, said a premium increase of 50 percent to 100 percent “wouldn’t be outrageous after a disaster like this.”

That might come even though his property, made of steel- reinforced concrete strong enough to support a 20-story hotel, escaped Sandy with only minor damage. Insurance, he said, is his biggest cost after payroll and accounts for about 15 percent to 20 percent of expenses.


Insufficient coverage was one reason the wooden pier in Long Branch and its popular Haunted Mansion attraction were never restored after a fire in 1987, according to its owner. “I had a $2 million blanket policy,” Pat Cicalese said. “I never thought everything would burn at one time.”


‘Success Stories’


It took 10 years to sort through his debts and lawsuits before he was in a position to rebuild, he said. When he went to city planners with a proposal for an oceanfront water park, they had another idea. Cicalese said he lost the property through eminent domain, and the amusements were replaced by Pier Village, an upscale resort and shopping area.


Elsewhere on the shore, there are “a lot of good success stories,” said Robert Hilton, executive director of the Jersey Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau.


One is Keansburg, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of Seaside Heights and home to the state’s oldest beachfront amusement area. Keansburg Amusement Park was devastated during Sandy when a protective berm was breached, sending water and sand surging onto the property, said Hank Gehlhaus, president of Jersey Shore Beach and Boardwalk Co., the operator. A photograph of its indoor carousel -- mired in debris, with horses askew -- was sent around the world and became one of the storm’s signature images.


Still, Gehlhaus said he expects the park to be fully operational when beach season starts -- including the carousel.


‘Miracle’ Carousel


“When I first saw it, I said, ‘That ride’s a goner,’” he said. “But the more I studied it, the day after the hurricane, I thought, my God, everything looks good. So I played a hunch, and once I got the water out, and got rid of all the garbage underneath, it returned to its shape. It was a miracle.” He estimated uninsured costs of about $5 million, which will be paid for with a small increase in admission prices, said Gehlhaus, whose family has been involved in the park since 1904. As long as the berm is unrepaired, the park will remain vulnerable, he said. “It takes three years for a berm to gain strength” through plantings and trees, Gehlhaus said. “If we get another major storm, we will flood. The town will flood. This storm was a devastating blow. The next one will be the knockout.”


Tourism Dollars


Tourism statewide generated $38 billion in spending last year, close to the 2007 peak, according to a study done for the New Jersey Amusement Association, a trade group that includes most of the boardwalk attractions. The industry employs 312,000 people and pays $9.6 billion of wages, the study showed. Including jobs indirectly related to tourist spending, the number rises to 486,000, almost 10 percent of New Jersey’s total employment.


The leisure and hospitality industry is the state’s third- biggest employer, behind trade, transportation and utilities, and professional and business services, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


“The numbers speak volumes about the importance of our effort to rebuild,” said Kimberle Samarelli, the amusement association’s executive director. “The amusement industry is generational, both the customers and the operators. Grandpa did it, we did it, and our kids did and our grandchildren too. We can’t afford to lose that.”

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  • 3 weeks later...



Police have apprehended a man who apparently climbed the New Jersey roller coaster that was swept into the ocean during Superstorm Sandy and unfurled an American flag.


The man walked from the top of the coaster and hopped into a police boat Tuesday. He was handcuffed, walked through the surf and escorted to a police car on the beach in Seaside Heights.


News 12-New Jersey says Christopher Angelo told the channel he wanted to raise awareness for shore recovery.


His mother says the 38-year-old lives at his grandmother's home in Lavallette. Diane Angelo says her son is a bit of a daredevil.


The remnants of the Jet Star Roller Coaster have become one of the iconic images of the storm.

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His mother says the 38-year-old lives at his grandmother's home in Lavallette.


This is all you need from the article. Oh, and replace 'home' with 'basement'.


Let's be fair, a lot of displaced people are currently living with relatives. I do take exception with anyone calling his antic patriotic.

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They just had a news story on that guy, in cuffs walking through the water.


I think I'm more surprised that it took this long for someone to go crawling over the coaster.


Same--I wouldn't be surprised if others have done it.

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I personally think this is such a stupid reason for someone to get arrested. If the area is blocked off and there are no trespassing signs everywhere then ok. But if the beach is "open" with no signs then this is stupid. While this defiantly isn't safe by any means, I feel like people/police should be more worried about looters and vandals then someone climbing to the top of a coaster and placing an american flag.


EDIT: Ops didn't see that error! I guess that's what happens when you don't sleep then respond to something. =P

Edited by screaminkid2005
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