Coney Island is only getting better

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Last February, the city took a major step toward the revitalization of Coney Island when they designated Central Amusement International to develop and operate a number of properties in the historic amusement district, with an eye toward transforming the neighborhood into a thriving, year-round seaside destination. The first phase of this transformation was realized in May with the opening of the new Luna Park on the vacant former site of Astroland.

When Astroland shut its gates for the last time in September, 2008, people were understandably upset. But Central Amusement International stepped in, investing more than $15 million to build a new park, with 19 brand new rides by Zamperla, and a range of games, entertainment and food options. Named after a piece of Coney Island’s history, Luna Park is New York’s first new amusement park in decades, and helped Coney Island achieve its most successful summer in more than 40 years. In fact, in its inaugural season, Luna Park attracted more than 450,000 visitors who took more than 2-1/2 million rides.

But Luna Park was just the beginning of a process intended to fully restore Coney Island to the glory it enjoyed during its Golden Age. In 2011, Central Amusement International will unveil two additional components: a second amusement park called Scream Zone and a world-class Boardwalk. As I mentioned, the goal is ultimately a Coney Island capable of attracting visitors 365 days a year. It will be challenging, to be sure — but we believe it is possible. And a resurgent Boardwalk is essential to accomplishing this goal.

The multi-million dollar program will bring back the world-class mix of entertainment, dining and nightlife that was once a hallmark of the famed Boardwalk. It will feature some of Coney Island’s current tenants, as well as new tenants like a sit-down restaurant and sports bar — both of which will operate year-round. Like the new Luna Park, the Boardwalk will reflect the unique character and innovative spirit of Coney Island, bringing it into the future so that new generations of visitors can enjoy America’s Playground.

This continued revitalization of Coney Island is a model of effective partnership between the public and private sectors, resulting in new jobs and economic development for Brooklyn. In conjunction with Luna Park and next season’s thrilling addition, Scream Zone, our multi-million dollar investment in the Boardwalk will create a spectacular experience which will draw many visitors not only from Brooklyn and other parts of New York City, but also from throughout the world.

Valerio Ferrari is president of Central Amusement International.

Updated 5:21 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Nancy from Sunset Park says:
What about year around rides? Univeral Studios in FL has lots of indoor rides! The indoor rollercoaster like "Revenge of the Mummy", The great motion rides like the "Jimmy Neutron Ride" & "Shrek 4-D" and lets not forget the short shows like "Beetlejuice's Graveyard Revue"! Hello............... is anybody paying attention!!!!!
Nov. 12, 2010, 3:16 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Can you make the ocean warmer? I'd go in winter if you can heat the ocean up. It's too cold now.
Nov. 12, 2010, 4:04 pm
Andrew from Jersey says:
Good for you!!! Someone needed to step in and step up.

Coney Island has so much potential but no one with the balls to go in and take the reins.

For years everyone keep putting the same old half-assed efforts into "saving coney island."

Meanwhile, the whole damn place just decayed into the friggin' mess that it is.

The businesses currently occupying the boardwalk are disgusting, dirty little throwbacks to the decrepit new york of the seventies.

They are an absolutely not appealing to anyone trying to spend a nice day out with their family.

I know there is no way I'd bring my kids out there to spend my hard earned money on the filthy, unappetizing, and frankly, offensive "attractions".

Kick Them Out!!!!
Nov. 12, 2010, 4:06 pm
catherine from coney says:
hey jersey andrew go 2 great adventure
coney is fine the way it is
the old can go along great with what they have planned
we arent looking 2 be some famcy smancy resturants and disney.those old bars grills etc are history and friends and family coney is crany and freak shows not disney great adventure
Nov. 12, 2010, 10:57 pm
catherine from coney says:
hey andrew stay in jersey with ur great adventure go 2 disney
coney is a carney freak show shreet wise hang out
its history and true family friends that appreciate true grit
and not glitz
we dont want 2 be disney and places like that they have the wonderwheel park and luna 4 you disney wanna bees
leave our board walk
shanme on all you people that want 2 make it something its not
Nov. 12, 2010, 10:59 pm
forkuu from coney says:
catherine i guess you prefered the drug infested rundown lowlife welfare infested coney island that was there before.
you couldnt take visitors to nyc there because it was a disgrace. you stay stuck in your cave no one needs your type of thinking maybe you are one of those coney low life that were there
Nov. 12, 2010, 11:34 pm
Geedman from Marine Park says:
Coney Island needed to be cleaned up, and the neighborhood was heading in that direction. What's happening now is flat-out gentrification. Yuppie over-priced Manhattan garbage like Shake Shack and Atomic Wings (which both suck, by the way) do not belong here. Anyone who says so has no respect for the history and culture of the neighborhood. All that made Coney Island special is being destroyed and replaced with what is going to be a failed attempt at Disney Land. Just wipe your rear with history for a few more bucks. And Andrew, yes, please stay in that swamp you call home.
Nov. 13, 2010, 8:38 am
andrew from jersey says:
How is it the Jersey Shore has fifteen or twenty towns with thriving boardwalks?

Easy...........They aren't filthy and run down little

You all assume that fixing up means gentrifying. It doesn't have to. But it will take some people to go in there and stop doing the same crap over and over again.

When your business plan is written on a greasy napkin,
how are you expected to be taken seriously?

You have one of the most famous places in the world
right in your backyard and it's being held back by some romantic idea that it's always been a seedy freakshow.

Most of you sound like you'd rather keep away hundreds of thousands people just to "preserve"
the neighborhood. That kind of thinking will keep coney island jobless and neglected.
Nov. 13, 2010, 11:30 am
Moluv from Gravesend says:
Coney Island needs to revitalized with respect to the history that's there, why not give the those places a make over instead of throwing them out, like garbage. Remember those people kept CI alive when Astroland was closed and taken down. They are the ones who kept people coming during the summer. Dont get me wrong CI needs a lot of work to keep it clean but with the right people managing the place it should be a nice place to visit. You have the Aquarium, the Stadium, the Ferris Wheel, the Polar Express and the 2 corney ass haunted houses. Keep CI Alive!!!!!!
Nov. 13, 2010, 11:37 am
Moluv from Gravesend says:
I agree Andrew from Jersey, Me and my family visits Wildwood every summer and there are hundreds of people on the boardwalk during the summer and the place is always kept clean ( the beach and the boardwalk). If they can do it in Jersey the should be able to do it in Brooklyn.
Nov. 13, 2010, 11:40 am
Geedman from Marine Park says:
The last thing Brooklyn needs is to be anything remotely like... ugh... Jersey...
Nov. 13, 2010, 1:28 pm
Geedman from Marine Park says:
And yes, improvement doesn't have to mean gentrification, but in this case, if you've seen the plans, it clearly does. The target audience here is going to be uptown yuppie Manhattanites (who have enough money to go anywhere else) and the hipster winners that moved into Williamsburgh (who mooch off their parents until their 30's). New York in general doesn't need anymore of its history ruined by brand name crap and character-devoid chain stores. Improvements are one thing, but this is entirely different. They're talking about making the boardwalk concrete, for God's sake...
Nov. 13, 2010, 1:49 pm
Shawn from Bensonhurst says:
I like Nancy's from Sunset Park's idea. Indoor rides are needed. My grandfather tolded me Mr. Disney got his idea from the old Coney Island (Before the 70's). I don't see why there can't be a mix of old and Modern.
Nov. 13, 2010, 3:57 pm
Boggy from Bensonhurst says:
The problem is that between Joe Sitt and Thor Equities trying to wipe out every last vestige of the glory days of Coney Island and Valerio Ferrari and Central Amusements trying to remake it in their own image, there won't BE a Coney Island by next year. There won't be a single thing left, save maybe Nathans. There will be nothing there to differentiate Coney Island from any other seaside amusement park. There IS room for the old with the new, and at the very least, Ruby's, which has been a mainstay on the boardwalk since 1934 and is one of the Travel Channel's sexiest seaside bars.
Nov. 13, 2010, 4:16 pm
ElephantMan from undertheboardwalk says:
You folks are combining two different issues into one, and that is dishonest.

The new amusement park is great, but when you talk about the boardwalk and streets, that is City turf, not the amusement operators. You can have Mickey Mouse go in with a powerwasher and sanitizer every day in the park, but that is not going to change the fact that Coney is part of the country's largest city, and it will always have the grit that everywhere else in the city has.

Putting in carbon copy franchise restuarants on the boardwalk is not going to reduce the litter on the beach, boardwalk and street, it will just deprive lifetime New Yorkers of a very much loved bar and restaurant.
The parks will be great, but kicking out the classic boardwalk business is like tearing down the empire state building so they can put in a parking garage.
Nov. 13, 2010, 4:19 pm
andrew from jersey says:
you're wrong elephantman the city gave control to the park operators.

moluv, everyone assumes there are going to be chain restaurants put in place with fourteen dollar drinks and artisan bratwurst.

that's not really accurate, you'll see.

behind the scenes these people were all given opportunities to get on board.

why do you think lola star keeps her place? because she gets it.
Nov. 14, 2010, 8:12 am
andrew from jersey says:
by the way, ruby's has not been ON THE BOARDWALK since 1934.

get your facts straight
Nov. 14, 2010, 8:15 am
catherine from coneyisland says:
forku and andrew
u have the jersey shore all the family friendly places ur looking 4 stay there u dont have 2travel the old can coninside with the new the places on the boardwalk have been there 4ever rubys has been there since 35 i know im friends with them and those places arent 4 kids thats y they are bars/grills if u want 2 take family 2 eat there theres mcdonald/nathans/dunkin doanuts the board walk places are 4 adults they have food and i have seen familys eathing there and noone has complained if u want go 2 all the other place 2-u have lunar park and wonderwheel park for the kiddies its no great adventure or disney we dont want 2 b that we are fine the way we are we dont xpect 2 b anything bigger and where do u think walt disney got his idea 4 disney from the old lunar park steeple chase google it read books reserch 3-enough of the kid friendly crap they and their parents have taken over the world there has 2 b something 4 the single person with no kids and if u dont know bklyn dont talk about it i was a little kid in the 70s and it was rough everywhere not just coney and i was in coney with the parents and im still alive i have had it with all you people that know nothing about bklyn knocking it if you dont like it stay where u are eveyone else enjoys it
Nov. 14, 2010, 9:16 am
andrew from jersey says:
holy crap, catherine!!!

that is the longest run on sentence i've seen in my life!!!

don't you believe in punctuation?

What do you think Walt would feel about the train wreck

coney island became through decades of neglect?

why do you bring Walt up if you've had enough of the "kid friendly crap"?

get ONE argument and stick to it, please.
Nov. 14, 2010, 3:34 pm
catherine from coney says:
listen andy
want kid friendly stuff go 2 great adventure go 2 disney
coney is a place thats not meant 2 be those places
they have a load of vacant lots there that they can build on they donot need 2 wipe out places that have been there 4 ever they can conincide 2 gether nicely
hotty totty places will not work down there like starbuck and fancy resturants thats not the clientel there are poor/middle class and pople that come from the beach and want 2 hang out and have a beer do u think a fancy resturant is gonna let u in in a swimsuit ans sarong or shorts and tank top. and in the dead of winter whos gonna go there just us die hard true bklynites and i bring up disney cause if it wernt for coney disney wouldnt have got his idea for his place and believe me id much rather be in coney than disney 2 much sugar sweet 4 me ive been there and 2 great adventure and wouldnt go back if any one wants 2 bring their kids 2 coney u have all the rides that are there now and if ur 2 lazy to walk off the boardwalk where theres all kind s of places 2 eat then bring a picnic basket or better yet go somewhere else if ur not happy with what we have 2 offer and pay 100$ 2 get in sound s like u want a disney and coney will never b that we have enough kid frienly crap here and im glad they stay by the rides mostly be nice 2 have a place in coney where we dont have 2 deal with screaming anoying kids theres got 2 b thats y the rides are in one place and bars/grills etd another dont go there if u dont want 2 c it and no use picking at me andy u will never an argument with me didnt anyone ever tell u never 2 mess with a bklyn grl.
save the coney 8
bye andy stay in jersey
since u hate bklyn so much
we have plenty of tourist we dont need u
Nov. 14, 2010, 6:35 pm
Big Lou from Bronx says:
This column sounds like Lee Silberstein wrote it. Wouldn't even be surprised if he is also the douche from Jersey.
Nov. 15, 2010, 1:29 am
andrew? from jersey? says:
wow big lou!

you figured it out.
good job.

Nov. 15, 2010, 7:37 am
andrew from jersey says:
so, catherine?

where will you hand next summer?
Nov. 15, 2010, 7:41 am
andrew from jersey says:
oops,i meant HANG.
Nov. 15, 2010, 7:42 am
bklyn gal from brooklyn says:
I have had enough of you Andy! First of all, Rubys HAS been there since 1934, it just was called old thyme bar and grill until Rubin Jacobs passed away.His daughters had a street right on stillwell ave and the boardwalk named for him in 2003 where it stands today,and Rubys was named Rubys in 2000. The place is adorned with old pictures of coney (including luna park) as well as new and its almost like a museum. I go there all the time and its such a friendly place and there are people from all walks of life there.The subway was being repaired for 2 years in Coney(no service) and these tenants stuck it out paying astonomical rents.Zamperla didnt help Coney. The record temps did. Shame on you Andy and Zamperla and the city and borough pres
Nov. 15, 2010, 10:43 am
Barre Flynn from Bensonhurst says:
Think of what would be in Coney Island if the Businesses had closed 40 years ago. Today there would be apartment complexes and the park as we know it a memory. Not all the places on the boardwalk are run down. For the past 7 years these businesses have run year to year with no long term leases. The Grill House during those years made over $70,000 in investments. They added new menu items and kept prices reasonable. Other establishments have done the same. Making any substantial investments without a lease is a bad business decision. Who do you thank for that???

Each proposal given (prepared in 15 days) was professionally done. Many were 15 and 20 pages long with detailed information about vision and products sold. Valerio did not even have the coursity to show up for many of the presentations. And to make things worst, it was discovered that the decisions had been made prior to the presentation of the proposals to give the leases to other vendors. A great PR stunt to save Bloombergs face.

What do you get now. You will be paying $4 for a hot dog. Believe me Nathans Hot Dogs are not worth 4 bucks. There will be no competition. The boardwalk will go from private ownerships and businesses to corporate businesses. Who wants TGIF on the Boardwalk, or other franchises. Are't you tire of that crap! Will people come to a sit down eating establishment in the dead of winter. Not likely. This is the Bloomberg plan that embraces corporations over private business. Coney Island thrived with individual ideas and risk taking. Now Coney will become another Times Square. People with brains should say no to a foreign company running Coney. They should say no again to a French company having control of all the foods served. When you protect individual ownership you protect yourself against corporate greed. Coney Island is for the People of New York and they should be able to afford their park.

Finally, Luna Park has misleading figures. No one has stood up and questioned what really happened this summer. They had huge employee relations problems. They had ride misfunctions on multiple occasions that were never made public. The mayor has been criticized for giving out a $100K a year lease to the park for 10 years for 6.9 acres of land. They have been criticized for picking a ride manufacturer who will only use their rides and not pick from the best of all the manufacturers. Lets be real, who wants Coney to be Phoney Corporate BS.
Nov. 15, 2010, 12:35 pm
Barre Flynn from Bensonhurst says:
To Andrew, You don't know what your talking about. Lola will not be on the boardwalk. She does not know where she will be. This affected the food establishments and the Coney souverneer Shop (needed for another food establishment that will be controlled by the FRENCH company that wanted control of everything or they would not take the management responsibilities. Central Amusements has a used ride behind nathans ready to install. Go look for yourself. They are going to put in Go Karts... like was there before. Wow that will be unique. Maybe they will bring the batting cages back... You should think and know before you open your mouth. I hope the Coney Island 8 Destroys CPA because Bloomberg should not have control over our park. Bo, manager at CPA told a group of owners that Bloomberg directed CPA as to what Coney Island was to look like. Bloomberg wants a new look to Coney Island. Coney Island belongs to the people not any corporations with big money. These are the corporations that have destroyed our country with their greed. They have made every city in America look the same, They have price fixed every item we buy and or eat. No More!!! Viva Coney Island 8. We will see how Luna Park Fairs after a few rainy seasons... Will people come back next year. Most people I talked to said it was too expensive and not fair pricing. Get real. Luna Park lost money this year and they are in debt up to their ears to the Italian Government. Those are facts.
Nov. 15, 2010, 12:53 pm
Barre Flynn from Bensonhurst says:
Andrew, You should let your kids grow up in Seaside Heights. They will become drug addicts and drunks. And as for Wildwood... Let them handle 2 million people a day on their beaches for free. Our parks people a amazing in cleaning the entire boardwalk and beach each night during the summer months. Jersey Shore is for Rich people who can afford the high prices for everything. Coney is for the people of New York.
Nov. 15, 2010, 1:05 pm
catherine from coney says:
way 2 go bklyn people
andrew is a fool 2 go up against us
he should just stay in the toxic state
he loves it so much
as 4 me
ill be in coney the peoples playground where everyone is having a good time and the beach and boardwalk is free
and its not pretensious
Nov. 15, 2010, 6:46 pm
anonymous from brooklyn says:
I'm looking forward to a nice forty dollar bottle of merlot whilst gazing out onto the cement walk, knowing that the local riff raff(such as yourselves)will be kept out by the new pay to enter system that my buddy Mayor Bloomberg will be proposing shortly.

Unfortunately, I will have to drive past the local color on my way to the riviera of brooklyn. Of course, if I'm able to reserve a condo in the towers being proposed where the childs building stands........
Nov. 16, 2010, 8:20 am
bklyn gal from bklyn says:
Oh, we forgot, soon you may have to pay to use the beach and itll be private in certain areas. Who wants to sit gazing at the ocean with coffee in hand valerio? We want our beer and fries just like we always have years ago and in years to come. Ten dollar beers are not what we need. Go back to Italy where all the stores are mom and pop. Stop destroying ours.
Nov. 16, 2010, 9:37 am
Boggy from Bensonhurst says:
The Childs building is one of two places on Surf that is iummune from the towers. Coney Island USA owns that building free and clear. The Popper building is also privately owned as are the Eldoradp and Denny's Ice Cream.
Nov. 17, 2010, 1:29 pm
bklyn gal from bklyn says:
The childs building will decay away if no one fixes it...why didnt they start there instead of taking away the businesses that were already there? I miss the batting cages and miniature golf...and I sure am going to miss Rubys!!
Nov. 18, 2010, 6:03 pm

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