Mayor Bloomberg today announced the official start of the summer season in Coney Island with the opening this Saturday of the beach, two brand new thrill rides, and the beginning of seven-day-a-week amusement operations in the historic entertainment district. The two new rides, Boardwalk Flight and Coney Island Raceway, are part of the second phase of development of the Scream Zone amusement park, which, along with Luna Park, has helped draw a record number of visitors back to Coney Island since 2010.
The opening of this newest phase of Scream Zone is a key piece of the area-wide revitalization laid out in the City’s 2009 rezoning plan, and marks the completion of the redevelopment of the entire 6.9 acres of land within the amusement district purchased by the City and leased to Central Amusement International in 2010. The Mayor was joined at the announcement in Coney Island by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Councilmember Domenic M. Recchia Jr., New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, President and CEO of Antonio Zamperla S.p.A Alberto Zamperla, Central Amusement International President Valerio Ferrari, and Italian Consul General Natalia Quintavalle.
“Coney Island’s exciting new amusement zone, which in recent years has brought record-setting crowds back here to the granddaddy of all seaside amusement parks, kicks off another great summer on Saturday,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “This revitalization has brought jobs and economic activity back to Coney Island, which is helping to fuel New York City’s booming tourism industry and diversify our economy.”
“Mayor Bloomberg’s vision, leadership and investment in Coney Island has completely revitalized this neighborhood and attracted jobs and visitors from around the five boroughs and around the world,” Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel said. “The Coney Comeback is in full swing as another summer season kicks off.”
“The opening of Scream Zone’s second phase is a key milestone in Coney Island’s ongoing revitalization,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky. “With the reactivation of these parcels, we are marking the redevelopment of the entire 6.9 acres of land within the amusement district purchased in 2009. Since that time, Luna Park and Scream Zone have already attracted record crowds, created hundreds of jobs and induced millions of dollars in private investment, laying the foundation for even further revitalization in the years to come.”
“Last summer, more than 11 million people visited the beach at Coney Island to take in the sun, surf, and amusements, and to enjoy the world’s largest natural air conditioner – the breezes of the Atlantic Ocean,” said Commissioner Benepe. “This year the beach is better than ever, from boardwalk cuisine to new attractions at the Scream Zone! We remind all visitors to swim only when lifeguards are on duty, to dispose of trash properly, and have a great time by the shore.”
“The new attractions will demonstrate CAI’s commitment to continually push the envelope and bring fresh and innovative entertainment to our guests,” said Valerio Ferrari President of Central Amusement International. “It’s very important to us to preserve the traditional Coney Island history but also continue to improve and update the rides and games. We want to make each visit to Luna Park and Scream Zone an exciting place for visitors of all ages to explore time and again.”
“The words ‘Coney Island’ conjure up ‘America’s Favorite Playground’—the amusement destination that started it all with outlandish and iconic rides and games, a beautiful beach and busting boardwalk, food and entertainment, and unforgettable, affordable fun for visitors and families of every income and from every corner of the globe. This summer, with the addition of the thrilling Boardwalk Flight and the Coney Island Raceway go-kart track—not to mention the return of old favorites like Deno’s, the Cyclone, Gargiulo’s, Cha Cha’s, Nathan’s, Paul’s Daughter, Ruby’s and Lola Star, and new outposts of Brooklyn veterans such as Tom’s Restaurant and Grimaldi’s—Coney Island will have more authentic character and characters than ever,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.
“The opening of the second phase of Scream Zone is another huge step forward in our successful revitalization of Coney Island providing more fun and excitement for visitors from around the world and, most importantly, more jobs for local residents. Coney Island is getting bigger and better every year and, while there are a lot of people to thank for its success, I want to single out the community – the people who live, work, and play in Coney Island. It is the spirit and heart of these 50,000 people that make Coney Island one of the most iconic, unique destinations in the world who will ensure yet another banner year for America’s Playground,” said Councilman and Finance Chair, Domenic M. Recchia Jr.
“I am pleased to help usher in what will surely be another great summer season in Coney Island,” said Congressman Jerry Nadler. “These new attractions mark another step toward making Coney Island a major destination for New Yorkers and visitors alike. Beyond providing entertainment, the continued revitalization of Coney Island will bring much-needed economic development and jobs to the Coney Island community.”
“On behalf of the Coney Island community, let me express my deep gratitude for the Mayor’s Coney Island Revitalization Plan. Coney Island has a great heritage. Mayor Bloomberg’s plan continues and expands the legacy of this historic location. The Mayor’s plan brought over 200,000 more visitors last year than previous year. Over 600 new jobs were created for the local community. Last year, we were introduced to four high-intensity rides called the Scream Zone. Today, Scream Zone expands with the addition of two more rides. I cannot be more excited about the future for Coney Island. It’s a great satisfaction seeing people enjoy the great Coney Island’s rides and attractions,” said Assembly Member Alec Brook-Krasny.
The new Boardwalk Flight is a 110-foot free-fall ride that will propel riders over the boardwalk at speeds reaching up to 60 miles per hour and provide them with the sensation of sky-diving. Coney Island Raceway, a new 24-cart Go-Kart track, will allow riders to drive on 900 feet of track that features switchback and hairpin curves, creating an authentic racing experience.
Like Luna Park and the first phase of Scream Zone, the new phase of the park will maintain the open layout for which Coney Island is known, allowing visitors to fully explore the amusement areas and pay per ride – which will vary in price from $3 to $25 – using refillable “Luna Cards.”
The summer of 2011 was one of the most successful summer seasons on record for Coney Island, with over 640,000 visitors taking over 2 million rides at Luna Park and Scream Zone combined. It marked the second season for Luna Park, which originally opened in 2010 and features 19 traditional and state-of-the-art rides. Last summer was the inaugural season of the first phase of Scream Zone, which features four cutting-edge thrill rides.
In addition to the second phase of Scream Zone, a number of Coney Island’s attractions and amenities will be either returning or opening for the first time within the amusement area this summer. Grimaldi’s, one of Brooklyn’s legendary pizzerias, will open a new store on Surf Avenue. Flicks on the Beach, a popular free outdoor film series will return, as will the traditional Friday Night Fireworks and the Seaside Summer Concert Series. Additional improvements to the area this season include a major refurbishment of the Cyclone Roller Coaster which will make it faster and smoother, improvements to the campus of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, and a number of new games and entertainment options along Jones Walk.
This summer also marks the revitalization of the iconic Coney Island Boardwalk, with the return of popular establishments Paul’s Daughter, Ruby’s, and Lola Star after having made significant investments to improve their spaces. The legendary Nathan’s Famous has also expanded its presence on the Boardwalk, and the Brooklyn Beach Shop provides new retail and shopping options to Coney Island on the Boardwalk. Tom’s Restaurant, a longtime Brooklyn establishment from Prospect Heights, will open a new diner outpost next month, and Place to Beach, a Boardwalk-level eating and drinking establishment, will open at Scream Zone by July 4th. In total, these businesses have invested over $2.3 million for upgrades and renovations to their spaces.
Coney Island’s beach, along with beaches all across the City, will also open to the public this Saturday, May 26, with lifeguards on duty daily, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Swimming is strictly prohibited at all other times. Beaches will remain open through Labor Day weekend.
City beaches span a total of 14 miles and include Orchard Beach in the Bronx; Coney Island and Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn; Rockaway Beach in Queens; and Midland Beach, South Beach, Wolfe’s Pond Beach, and Cedar Grove on Staten Island. All City beaches are free and open to the public.
The amusement parks and boardwalk businesses will employ more than 600 people in fields such as customer service, retail, food and beverage service, park service, ride and game operations, ticket sales associates, and cashiers. The positions were filled using the services of the New Business Acceleration Team and New York City Economic Development Corporation’s HireNYC program—a free program that connects the City's workforce development services to economic development projects—which held four job screenings, attracting over 1,600 job seekers, this past March and April.
In 2009, the City purchased three parcels of land, totaling 6.9 acres, within the amusement district, and signed a 10-year lease with CAI to operate and build the new amusement parks on the property. The City has invested more than $6.6 million to support the opening of Luna Park and Scream Zone. In addition, CAI has invested nearly $30 million toward the construction of the two parks.
The City has also seen significant progress on a number of key components of the Coney Island Revitalization Plan this past year, including groundbreakings for Steeplechase Plaza, and for Coney Island Commons. Steeplechase Plaza, a 2.2-acre public open space, will serve as the western entryway to the revitalized amusement district and will be home to the restored B&B Carousell, Coney Island’s last remaining historic carousel. Coney Island Commons will include 195 units of affordable housing and a new state-of-the-art 40,000 square foot YMCA.
The City’s Coney Island Revitalization Plan 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. As part of the plan, the City is investing more than $150 million toward infrastructure improvements in Coney Island, including upgrading infrastructure and rebuilding large sections of the Boardwalk. Last year, New York City Economic Development Corporation in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Protection, completed an Amended Drainage Plan to guide upgrades to subsurface infrastructure throughout the entire rezoning area, the first phase of which is currently in design and is expected to break ground by the end of 2012. In total, the plan is expected to generate more than $14 billion in economic activity for New York City over 30 years.