Photo Flash: BP Markowitz, Mayor Bloomberg & Tony Danza Welcome Summer at Coney Island
On Thursday, May 24, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz joined Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to kick off the summer season in Coney Island with the announcement of two brand new thrill rides and the beginning of seven-day-a-week amusement operations. Later, BP Markowitz was on hand with actor Tony Danza as John "Cha Cha" Ciarcia celebrated the opening of several new amusements and eateries. Check out photos from today's events at Coney Island below!
"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," said BP Markowitz. "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."
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.
Long time Coney Island personality John "Cha Cha" Ciarcia and actor friend Tony Danza presided over the official launch ceremony today, May 24th to announce the opening of Cha Cha's Steeplechase – The Fun Place Amusement Park, Cha Cha's Kiddie Park and Cha Cha's Side Show Park (3 parks in total), along with Cha Cha's outdoor Club Atlantis Bar, all located along Stillwell Ave. between Surf Ave. and the boardwalk.
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.
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.
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.
Photo credit: Kathryn Kirk