Mayor Bloomberg Announces That Investments in Rebuilding Coney Island Resulted in Another Record-Setting Summer Season
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced today the end of one of the most successful summer seasons on record for Coney Island with over 640,000 visitors taking over two million rides at Luna Park and Scream Zone. This summer marked the second season for Luna Park, which features 19 traditional and state-of-the-art rides, and the inaugural season of Scream Zone, which features four cutting-edge thrill rides. The season officially ended on October 31st after a second year of extended operations for Halloween programming, once again bringing Coney Island closer to becoming a year-round destination. Over 400 jobs were created by the new amusements parks this summer, and thanks to outreach by the City, approximately half were filled by residents of the local community.
“Through the City’s Coney Island Revitalization Plan, we’ve brought Coney back as an amusement destination for visitors from around the city and world,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The rides are bigger and better than ever, and that means more jobs for New Yorkers and more economic activity for New York City. Coney Island is well on its way to becoming a year-round destination as well as an even better place to live and work.”
“The Coney comeback is a great example of the way government and the private sector can partner together to make the kinds of investments that bring jobs and visitors to neighborhoods across the five boroughs,” Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel said. “With a record number of visitors this year and strong momentum for the coming years, the future of Coney Island is bright.”
“With another season of record attendance in the books, the City’s efforts to revitalize Coney Island continue to gain momentum,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky. “The steady increase in visitors, drawn by dramatic new amusements, is helping to bring more people back to the ‘people’s playground,’ while simultaneously generating additional job opportunities for local residents.”
“We are thrilled to have welcomed so many new and familiar faces to Scream Zone and Luna Park in a 2011 season that exceeded all expectations,” said Valerio Ferrari, president of Central Amusement International. “With another year of record-breaking attendance and a season that now spans seven months, Coney Island is well on its way to becoming a world-class, year-round amusement destination.”
“With an increase in attendance of nearly 200,000 over last year and visitors taking some 2 million rides, this summer at Coney Island was a spectacular success,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. “Not only will 2011 go down as one of the best seasons on record, but hundreds of new jobs were created—half filled by residents from the immediate neighborhoods. My office looks forward to working with Mayor Bloomberg, the EDC under the leadership of President Seth Pinsky, the Coney Island Development Corporation and local businesses and residents as Coney goes boldly into the 21st century, with just as much character—and characters—as ever.”
“Despite a rainy summer and Hurricane Irene, Coney Island recorded its highest number of attendees within the past forty years further underscoring the success of the City Council’s efforts to revitalize our most historic amusement park,” said Council Member Dominic M. Recchia, Jr. “With Council Speaker Christine Quinn at the helm, the City Council and I have worked hard to foster new opportunities for business owners and provide new educational and entertainment opportunities, like an expanded aquarium, for local residents. With a growing number of visitors each year, the future of Coney Island is looking brighter and brighter. I’m so grateful to represent and work on behalf of this incredible district.”
“I am so pleased that so many people came out this season to experience the magic that only Coney Island can produce,” said Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny. “As we drew in the crowds this season we were reminded of the rich history Coney Island has and are looking forward to the bright future and new memories we will all enjoy.”
Despite record rainfall and a closed weekend due to Hurricane Irene the amusement parks drew nearly 200,000 more visitors than the previous year. In 2010, Luna Park drew more than 450,000 visitors during its inaugural season, and helped bring about Coney Island’s most active summer in decades. This year, Coney Island’s newest addition, Scream Zone, thrilled visitors with four new heart-stopping rides, including New York City’s first major roller coasters since its neighbor, the world-famous Cyclone, opened in 1927. The roller coasters include the Soarin’ Eagle, which suspends riders in a horizontal position, sending them on a series of dives and inversions, and Steeplechase, which pays tribute to an iconic ride from Coney’s past as it launches riders around a track on horseback. Scream Zone also includes the heart-stopping Sling Shot and the 100-foot-tall Zenobio which sweeps riders through the air at speeds of over 60mph.
In addition to Scream Zone, a number of new attractions and amenities were added to the boardwalk area this summer. The Cyclone Café, a counter-service restaurant, and Coney Cones, a new ice creamery on the boardwalk, both opened this summer. The Coney Island Development Corporation, NYC & Company, Rooftop Films and EpixHD also launched a free outdoor film series, called Flicks on the Beach, which drew over 3,000 attendees to its eight movie screenings.
NYCEDC also issued an RFP on Monday, November 7, to further activate the amusement area with new state-of-the-art games, shops, and amusements and build upon the success of the past two summers. The RFP seeks a long-term amusement operator for a section of City-owned property on Jones Walk which will serve as a gateway to Coney Island’s famous Bowery and the amusement parks. The RFP also encourages proposals to include a plan for the installation and maintenance of an illuminated entrance or gateway over Jones Walk at Surf Avenue.
In 2009, the City purchased three parcels of land, totaling 6.9 acres, within the amusement district, and signed a 10-year lease with Central Amusement International (CAI) to operate and build the new amusement parks on the property. The City has invested more than $6.6 million to support the opening of Luna Park and Scream Zone. In addition, CAI has invested nearly $30 million toward the construction of the two parks over the last two years.
The reactivation of Coney Island’s amusement district with Scream Zone and Luna Park, are all part of the City’s Coney Island Revitalization Plan, which will preserve and grow the historic amusement area; create a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood with new retail options and nearly 5,000 new units of housing, including 900 income-targeted units; and generate more than 25,000 construction jobs and 6,000 permanent jobs. As part of the plan, the City is investing more than $150 million toward infrastructure improvements in Coney Island, including upgrading infrastructure and rebuilding large sections of the Boardwalk. Last year, New York City Economic Development Corporation in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Protection, completed an Amended Drainage Plan to guide upgrades to subsurface infrastructure throughout the entire rezoning area, the first phase of which is currently in design. In total, the plan is expected to generate more than $14 billion in economic activity for New York City over 30 years.