For more than a century, New Yorkers and visitors alike have enjoyed the fascination, freedom, and diversity of the world-famous urban amusement destination known as "The People’s Playground."
Coney Island is home to 50,000 residents, many of whom are low- and middle-income. Through zoning, mapping, and capital investments, the City’s Comprehensive Plan for Coney Island will reinvigorate this fabled amusement and entertainment destination while bringing much-needed housing, retail, services, amenities and career opportunities to the larger neighborhood.
On November 13, 2009, NYCEDC released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for amusement and entertainment operators for approximately 6.5 acres of property in the heart of the Coney Island amusement district. The release of the RFP came upon the announcement of an agreement between NYCEDC and the predominant land owner in Coney Island, Thor Equities, for NYCEDC’s purchase of the property. The contract was awarded to Central Amusements International (CAI).
On May 28, 2010 Mayor Michael Bloomberg and CAI celebrated the opening of Luna Park at Coney Island, a new 3.1 acre amusement park featuring 19 traditional and cutting edge rides from Zamperla S.P.A, the renowned Italian designer and manufacturer of amusement attractions. It is the first amusement park to open in Coney Island in nearly 50 years and more than doubled Coney Island's amusement area.The park takes its name from the original Luna Park, which operated at Coney Island from 1903 to 1946. In 2011, CAI began its second stage of development by building an additional amusement park, Scream Zone. In 2012, Scream Zone expanded to now include a total of 6 new high thrill rides including roller coasters, sling shots and go-carts. Visitorship reached a 40-year high in 2010 and has stayed consistent over the last few years with 3.5 million passengers taking the subway to Coney Island.
In its inaugural season, Luna Park employed approximately 200 people, which grew to over 300 in 2011 and is expected to top 600 in 2012, approximately 50% of whom reside in the Coney Island area. Visit http://www.ConeyIslandFunGuide.com for the latest ride, attraction and event information about Coney Island or http://www.lunaparknyc.com/.
Coney Island of the late-19th and early-20th century was a site to behold. Steeplechase Park, Dreamland, Luna Park and everything around and between them established Coney as the world’s most iconic urban amusement park.
Today, Coney Island is still a favorite summer destination. On any summer day, Coney’s beach and boardwalk teem with a wondrously eclectic mix of families and freaks. They ride the landmark Wonder Wheel and Cyclone, and visit the New York Aquarium and Coney Island Sideshow. Since 2001, the Brooklyn Cyclones have played 32 home games a year at MCU (formerly KeySpan) Park, and the Mermaid Parade and Nathan’s Famous’ Hot Dog Eating Contest make the list of New York’s favorite events. The millions of visitors that come each year serve as a testament to the enduring love for this magical place.
Coney Island is also a residential neighborhood; like the amusement area, brimming with potential, however:
Moving forward, the development of the amusement area is one phase of the City's Coney Island Revitalization Plan. The successes of the past few seasons have laid a foundation for progress in the continued revitalization of Coney Island.
In September 2003, the Mayor, the City Council and the Brooklyn Borough President formed the Coney Island Development Corporation (CIDC) to spearhead and implement a comprehensive planning process for Coney Island and create a coordinated economic development strategy for the area.
After a long public outreach process, in September 2005, the CIDC released the Coney Island Strategic Plan, which outlined key goals:
NYCEDC and its partners are continually working to market and program Coney Island. In addition to ongoing maintenance of the beach and boardwalk, the CIDC is operating the Coney Island Fun Guide website, a resource for events, rides, amusements, eating and shopping in Coney Island. Additional event updates are posted on Facebook and Twitter. While the Strategic Plan progresses, Coney Island is still vibrant, fun and fascinating. CIDC is proud to be collaborating with the Coney Island community to get the word out that Coney Island is "The One and Only Coney."
The proposed Seaside Park and Community Arts Center ("proposed project") would introduce a mix of entertainment and commercial uses, as well as publicly accessible open space along the western portion of the Riegelmann Boardwalk in Coney Island. The proposed development would include the construction of an approximately 5,000-seat amphitheater that would be a seasonal concert venue use from late spring through early fall and would provide the community with additional publicly accessible recreational and entertainment opportunities throughout the year. The proposed project also involves the restoration and adaptive reuse of the approximately 60,000 sf historic Childs Restaurant building (a designated NYC landmark) for a restaurant, banquet, and indoor entertainment uses with indoor seating for approxiamtely 384 diners, as well as rooftop outdoor seating. The Childs restoration would include the proposed amphitheater's stage. In addition, the project would include the development of publicly accessible open space that would extend to West 23rd Street and provide passive recreational opportunities. The project would continue the City of New York's efforts to reinvigorate Coney Island by introducing a new recreation and entertainment destination. The proposed amphitheater would be an interim use authorized for a period of ten years. It would be owned by the City of New York and operated by a non-profit entity under a ten-year lease with the City. The amphitheater would serve as a venue for a variety of concerts, community events, and public gatherings.