Archive for the tag 'deno’s wonder wheel park'


The rocket returns! Last night, the rocket was trucked into Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park. (Photo by Charles Denson, Coney Island History Project)

For the first time in five years, the most prominent symbol of Coney Island’s Astroland – the amusement park’s iconic rocket ship – has returned to the People’s Playground for display.

The Coney Island History Project announced this morning that the Astroland Rocket Ship was trucked back into the amusement district overnight after the group assumed control of the relic several days ago.

The rocket is the only surviving space “simulators” that once proliferated in Coney Island between the early 20th Century and the space age, the Coney Island History Project said. The organization won their bid to repurpose the “Star Flyer” – as it was originally known – as the centerpiece of a new exhibit about Coney Island’s space obsession throughout history.

The Star Flyer debuted in 1962 as a three-minute, 26-seat ride that rocked and shook thrill-seekers as they watched films of rocket rides. It was taken offline years later, and was later placed on the roof of boardwalk restaurant Gregory and Paul’s where, along with the Cyclone, Parachute Jump and Wonder Wheel, it became a staple of the playground’s skyline.


(Photo by Charles Denson, Coney Island History Project)

“Outer space simulators have played a prominent role in Coney’s amusement history,” said Charles Denson, director of the Coney Island History Project and author of Coney Island: Lost and Found. “It began when Thompson and Dundy brought ‘A Trip to the Moon’ to Steeplechase Park in 1902 and culminated in 1962, at the height of the space race, with Astroland’s Moon Rocket. The ride provided visitors with an exciting taste of intergalactic travel. The Astroland Rocket has now returned to a place of honor beside the landmark Wonder Wheel, where it will be restored as an exhibit showcasing Coney Island’s fascination with space travel.”

When Astroland closed in 2008 to make way for Luna Park, Carol and Jerry Albert, the former park’s owners, donated the rocket to the city with the promise of making the centerpiece of the new amusement district.

The city put out a request for proposals to reactivate the icon, and the History Project answered and won the bid. The rocket will be in the group’s exhibit center in Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, and the cost of its move was covered by Carol Albert.

Wonder Wheel owners Steve and Dennis Vourderis plan to make it the centerpiece of their park’s annual celebration on August 9, and they’ll also oversee its restoration after it was seriously damaged during Superstorm Sandy. The rocket has spent most of the past five years in storage.


(Photo by Charles Denson, Coney Island History Project)

Beyonce On the Cyclone (Source: Coney Island Facebook page)

Beyonce On the Cyclone (Source: Coney Island Facebook page)

Superstar singer Beyonce made waves in Coney Island yesterday, riding the Cyclone roller coaster as part of a new music video. While Beyonce’s presence caused joy for most fans in the area, one woman was left in tears, according to a report by the Daily Mail.

Beyonce’s new music video was directed by famed ‘creepy’ fashion photographer Terry Richardson, a controversial artist known for creating unsettling over-sexualized situations during his shoots. This portion of Beyonce’s newest video was a much more wholesome affair, featuring the singer happily riding the Cyclone with other thrilled extras and also hopping on the iconic Wonder Wheel for a spin. In pictures published by the Daily News, Beyonce was all smiles, soaking in the attention of her fans and seeming to genuinely enjoy the fun of the attractions.

Not everyone was overjoyed by the singer’s presence, however. The Daily Mail found a woman in tears after being stuck on the Wonder Wheel for a half hour while ride operators suspended the contraption so Beyonce’s makeup could be touched up. Apparently, the operators assumed they had cleared out all other riders and  forgot that one couple was still suspended in a pod. When they realized that another couple had been hovering for a half hour, operators let them off, revealing that the woman had been visibly shaken and crying out of fear. Beyonce was reportedly unaware of the couple’s distress.

Of course, there are worse rides to be stuck on than the Wonder Wheel, especially considering that it was only for 30 minutes. Still, operators caught up in attending to the needs of a superstar need to do their jobs and realize that they can’t keep people trapped in the sky, but that goes without saying. It is also worth noting that the distressed woman hurried off the scene quickly, seeking no publicity or attention, that is, until the inevitable lawsuit comes out in a few weeks.

Source: Coney Island USA

Source: Coney Island USA

Get prepared to shoot a bunch of moving targets as a vintage World War II-era Mangels Shooting Gallery was discovered just after Superstorm Sandy, and is almost done being restored at Coney Island USA. According to a press release, the old-fashioned shooting gallery was unearthed in the arcades underneath Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, when another, more modern, shooting gallery was destroyed by the storm, revealing this behind it.

The vintage shooting gallery was designed by William Mangels, a legendary Coney Island inventor:

William F. Mangels (1866–1958), was an amusement manufacturer and inventor housed in Coney Island on West 8th street and was a major player in the development of American amusement parks at the start of the 20th century. In addition to manufacturing carousels, including the the frame and rocking mechanism (that makes the horses move up and down) on Mayor Blomberg’s restored B&B Carousell on the Coney Island Riegelmann Boardwalk, the fire engine and boat kiddie rides still in operation at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, shooting galleries and inventing rides including The Whip (ride), he wrote a book titled The Outdoor Amusement Industry: From earliest times to the present.

The gallery itself is a World War II-inspired contraption that features tanks, soldiers and airplanes, testing the aim of shooters as the targets move quickly around the display. According to Coney Island USA’s website, you get 100 shots for $5. Sounds like fun.

The game officially opens on Thursday, August 8 at 1 p.m. at 1214 Surf Avenue (between Stillwell Avenue and West 12th Street).

Proposed site of pedestrian plaza (Source: Google Maps)

Ste of pedestrian plaza before installation (Source: Google Maps)

After months of haggling and bargaining, the new Coney Island pedestrian plaza was unveiled on Monday. NY1 is reporting that the space containing the plaza has been transformed from a dead-end street filled with garbage into a comfortable place where people can relax with their families.

The effort to bring a pedestrian plaza to Coney Island has dragged on since late last March. Originally, the Department of Transportation (DOT) wanted to place the plaza on the southern end of Stillwell Avenue. Residents and members of Community Board 13 were up in arms when told that the proposed plaza space would take up 15 metered parking spaces, potentially increasing traffic woes that already beleaguer local residents. As a result, the original plan was dead on arrival.

Proponents of the plaza plan wouldn’t give up so easily and instead found a new space at the southern end of West 12th Street. The space, which made up a dead-end street that people used to illegally dump garbage, has now been transformed into a family-friendly spot with tables and chairs that can seat 40 people.

Dennis Vourderis of Deno’s Wonder Wheel described the condition of the block prior to the installation of the plaza.

“It was dumped on by illegal dumping. It was just a horrible area, it was ugly, it looked like it didn’t belong. It looked like it didn’t belong in an amusement area,” Vourderis told NY 1.

The idea of the new landscaped place is to bring comfort and relaxation to people ambling along the boardwalk as well as provide additional seating for the always crowded Nathan’s.

The Alliance for Coney Island, which will maintain the plaza, is holding a vote to name the new space. To lend your voice, you can visit their Facebook page by clicking here.

Proposed site of pedestrian plaza (Source: Google Maps)

Proposed site of pedestrian plaza (Source: Google Maps)

For whatever reason, officials are hellbent on bringing a Times Square-style pedestrian plaza to Coney Island. The New York Post is reporting that officials from the city’s Economic Development Corporation and the Department of Transportation (DOT) are reviving plans for a pedestrian plaza which they will present to Community Board 13, hoping that a compromise can be struck.

Previously, we reported that plans to place a pedestrian plaza on the southern end of Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island died because the spending was deemed frivolous in the wake of the Superstorm Sandy disaster. The placement of the first proposed plaza also took away parking spots and limited access points for emergency vehicles to enter the boardwalk.

The new plan accounts for the previous complaints and would place the plaza on the southern end of West 12th Street. The Post described the exact positioning of the new planned public space:

The plaza would replace part of the street on the end of West 12th Street – which abuts Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park to the east and Nathan’s boardwalk shop to the west. It would run about a third of the block north from a boardwalk entrance.

Johanna Zakki, director of operations for the Alliance for Coney Island believes that this new plan will be a boon for the area.

“We believe the plaza will improve pedestrian safety while providing a much-needed place for people to sit and relax, find some shade, watch a performance, or just take in the one-of-a-kind scene of Coney Island on a warm, sunny day,” Zakki told the Post.

Activists were displeased when the Parks Department decided to replace the wooden boardwalk on Coney Island with a cement and plastic one. Now, six months after Superstorm Sandy battered our shores, the New York Post is reporting that residents and business owners are complaining that sand is accumulating on the new boardwalk.

The barrage of sand upon the historic promenade has been so terrible that the city has been forced to assign extra workers to keep shoveling it back on to the beach. Boardwalk preservationists are blaming the new cement base for all the extra sand.

“With cement, there’s nowhere for the sand to fall through. There’s no doubt the new surfaces are causing the sand to pile up like never before…This is what you get when the city decides to make changes without doing a proper environmental review,” Todd Dobrin, president of the Friends of the Boardwalk and a candidate for City Councilman Domenic Recchia’s seat in the 47th District, told the Post.

Residents, including Maureen Masterson, 32, were also angry. While trying to maneuver her two-year-old daughter’s stroller through obstructive piles of sand, the Bensonhurst mother expressed negativity over the situation.

“This is horrible. It’s like Sandy never left,” Masterson told the Post.

The encroaching sand isn’t just bad for people trying to walk on the boardwalk. As sand accumulates, it starts blowing in people’s faces, which the city has been vigorously trying to prevent by wetting the sand down.

Local business owner Dennis Vourderis, co-owner of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, told the Post that the sand has never been worse. It is “even piling up in the amusement district — which still maintains a wooden boardwalk,” he said, blaming the extra sand on Sandy “pushing it closer to the boardwalk and making it ‘finer’ so it blows more freely.”

“This is the worst we’ve seen it,” said Vourderis, who recently put up netting outside Deno’s to block sand from damaging his rides’ motor systems. “We have to shovel all week just to be ready for the weekend.”

For its part, the Parks Department is blaming Mother Nature and isn’t accepting the idea that the new boardwalk has anything to do with all the extra sand.

“Sand will accumulate on a boardwalk without regard to the decking or the foundation,” the Post reported Parks Department spokeswoman Meghan Lalor as saying.

Source: intweetion via

The city is giving a break to the operators of Luna Park on Coney Island by extending their lease an additional seven years, according to a report by the New York Post.

Zamperla USA, an Italian-based company, will be granted a seven year extension by the City Council. Councilman Domenic Recchia explained the situation to the Post:

“[Zamperla USA] invested a lot of money after suffering damages from Sandy, so it’s fair to give them more time to recoup their money considering they hired so many people from the neighborhood.”

The original lease, given in 2010, was set for 10 years, but now Zamperla USA will be staying put until the far off futuristic year of 2027; a time when flying roller-coasters will be the norm.

Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, run by the Vourderis family, is also getting a seven year extension.

The council is expected to officially ratify the extensions at a later date.

Source: intweetion via Flickr

Get ready to spin, twirl and fly again this Sunday as many famous Coney Island attractions are set to open for the first time since Superstorm Sandy caused millions of dollars of damage to the landmark, according to a report by the New York Daily News.

The world-famous amusement area of Coney Island will open with a victorious hot-dog eating contest at a satellite Nathan’s Famous located on the boardwalk. The Nathan’s HQ on the corner of Surf Avenue and Stillwell Avenue is still undergoing repairs but is expected to be in operation for the annual July 4 hot-dog eating championship. A banner hangs defiantly over the iconic frankfurter mecca carrying this message:

“After 100 years, no hurricane will keep us down.”

Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park was soaked with $1 million in damages but that beautiful red and blue wheel will be spinning proud come Sunday.

“They’ve been cleaning, repairing and replacing,” said Ken Hochman, a spokesman for Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park told the Daily News.

Not everyone will be parading through Luna Park and the Wonder Wheel complex with glee come Sunday. Todd Dobrin, an activist and president of the “Friends of Coney Island Boardwalk,” plans to protest this Sunday as the area’s library, community centers and post office still remain closed post-Sandy.


It’s cold, it’s February and you don’t have work. Perhaps a spanking new job by the beach, courtesy of the Alliance for Coney Island, can snap you out of your winter funk. According to a report by the New York Post, there are hundreds of summer jobs available for those who register now.

This Saturday, the Alliance for Coney Island will begin its fourth annual recruitment drive. They are looking to fill 250 summer jobs with the promise of hundreds more being offered at a later date. The organization will be holding a screening event on February 23 and 24 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Lincoln High School (2800 Ocean Parkway.)

Positions are available at Luna Park, Nathan’s Famous and Deno’s Wonder Wheel but to attend the screening, you must register by visiting

The jobs screening event is a joint collaboration between the Alliance for Coney Island, the HireNYC Program, the Economic Development Corp., Workforce 1, Small Business Services  and Councilman Domenic Recchia.