Coney Island baby: Luna Park was just the beginning

Big things are happening at the city’s playground by thesea.

This summer, a third amusement park is slated to open onStillwell Avenue, across the street from the newly-constructedScream Zone and Luna Park. Additionally, Steeplechase Plaza, a2.2-acre plot located on the site of the former SteeplechaseAmusement Park — between West 16th and West 19th Streets — willserve as the amusement area’s western entryway. The plaza,scheduled to open in 2013, will also be home to the B&BCarousell, Coney Island’s last remaining historic carousel.

Luna Park and Scream Zone have been an overwhelming success sofar, said Tom Corsillo, spokesperson for Central AmusementInternational (CAI), the Italian company behind opening both parkswithin the last two years. They’ve helped Coney Island see some ofits best summers in decades. And it’s become a combination ofpaying tribute to its history and bringing it into the 21stcentury. CAI is going to continue doing that in the coming yearswith new amusements and a revitalized boardwalk. Although the newamusement park has been referred to as Speed Zone in publishedreports, that is untrue according to Corsillo. And while CAI willbe rolling out its full plan, including the name of the park, nextmonth, he predicts go carts and a water ride are likely when ConeyIsland’s third and, for the moment, final amusement park opens thissummer. This has been couple of years of really great, forwardmovement out at Coney Island, and it’s going to continue for yearsto come, Corsillo said. Councilmember Domenic Recchia has played apart in that forward movement. As chairman of the Finance Committeefor the City Council, he says he has had to fight to preservefunding for the area’s development in the wake of major budgetcuts. It’s very hard to make sure all the funding is in place tomake sure Coney Island gets developed, Recchia said. Yet, heclaims it is the fight that kept him in the council.

This is why I ran for another term — to see Coney Islanddevelopment get started, Recchia said. I want to make sure allthese projects gets started. He says he is particularly excitedfor the return of the B&B Carousell, which made its originalConey Island debut in the 1930s. It is currently being restored ina workshop in Ohio.

It symbolizes Coney Island’s past, and being in a new home, itwill symbolize Coney Island’s past, present and future, Recchiasaid.

Despite the fact that Coney Island-bound Brooklynites will haveto wait until the summer of 2013 for the carousel’s official returnwith the opening of Steeplechase Plaza, Nate Bliss, president ofthe Coney Island Development Corp., an organization formed by themayor, city council and borough president to oversee the area’sdevelopment, thinks it will be worth the wait.

It’s going to be a new experience at the boardwalk…and we’revery excited about it, Bliss said. He points to the recent wave ofdevelopment as proof that his organization is getting closer toaccomplishing their goal of a 365-days-a-year Coney Island. Anyonewho says we can’t go year round — we’re getting there, Blisssaid.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.