Press Releases

NYCEDC Announces New "Thunderbolt" Roller Coaster to be Built at Coney Island

Coaster to be Built on Site of Historic Thunderbolt Roller Coaster; 125 Foot Tall State of the Art Steel Roller Coaster Reaches Speeds of 65mph
Builds Upon Opening of Coney Island for the Summer and New B&B Carousell

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today announced a new major roller coaster, “Thunderbolt”, will be built at Coney Island and open for next year’s summer season. Thrilling riders with speeds of 65 miles per hour, the 125 foot tall roller coaster, featuring over 2,000 feet of track, will sit near the historic B&B Carousell and the new Steeplechase Plaza, and mark another important milestone in Coney Island’s rebirth. Thunderbolt will be built and operated by Central Amusement International (CAI), the operator of Luna Park, entirely through private investment. Today’s announcement comes just two weeks after the Mayor officially opened Coney Island for the 2013 summer season and unveiled the new Steeplechase Plaza, a two-acre public open space featuring the recently restored B&B Carousell in a state-of-the-art pavilion. The Thunderbolt coaster is the latest in a series of critical investments that the City has made over the last decade to revitalize Coney Island’s amusement core as well as the surrounding area.
“With our recent opening of the beaches, the B&B Carousell, and now the Thunderbolt roller coaster, Coney Island is once again demonstrating its incredible resilience,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Kyle E. Kimball. “For a decade, the City has made investing in Coney Island a priority. The Thunderbolt roller coaster will build upon that commitment by providing visitors to Coney Island with a fantastic new attraction, boosting the local economy and helping create jobs in the neighborhood still recovering from Hurricane Sandy.”
"Bravo to fellow-Brooklynite and New York City EDC President Seth Pinsky and to CAI for ‘launching’ the effort to bring the Thunderbolt Roller Coaster back to Coney Island at its original site,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. “While you might be more likely to find me on the B&B Carousell than on this new 65 mile-per-hour, 125 foot tall roller coaster, I have no doubt that this ride will be yet another heart-stopping, in-your-face amusement. Thanks to the Thunderbolt’s return, all of the other exciting new additions to Coney Island and of course its trademark attitude, Coney Island truly is ‘America’s playground’ and the trip to Coney Island is a 'ride' worth taking for families all over New York City and beyond.”
“Thunderbolt will help cement Coney Island’s standing as a world-class entertainment center,” said City Council Member Domenic M. Recchia Jr. “With the coming launch of this coaster, the new Steeplechase Plaza, the renovated Parachute Jump, as well as the thousands of new jobs being created in the neighborhood, there's plenty of good news to go around. Thanks to the hard work of our local businesses and the EDC, it's clear that Coney Island is coming back stronger and better than ever.”
“As we continue to honor our commitment to delivering entertainment and thrills to locals and tourists visiting New York, we’re excited to announce our newest rollercoaster, Thunderbolt,” says Valerio Ferrari, President of Central Amusement International, LLC. “This is going to be the first steel custom roller coaster in Coney Island since the debut of the Cyclone in 1927. Thunderbolt will put back Coney Island on the Olympus of the Amusement Area destination in the World.”
Pictures of the coaster are available on NYCEDC’s website.
CAI was selected to build the coaster following a Request for Proposals (RFP) issued by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) in the Fall of 2012 seeking development on the West 15th Street site. Thunderbolt is designed as a one-of-a-kind ‘out and back’ steel coaster, taking riders in a vertical lift reaching a staggering height of 110 feet. Once riders reach the top of the lift, the train will be unleashed onto the first vertical drop and then through a series of elements and inversions while traveling at 65 mph. The ride will then make its return through a series of “bunny hills” that will give riders a floating sensation until the train returns back into the station.
Thunderbolt is the latest in a series of investments by the City and CAI, its key partner in the development of the Coney Island amusement area.  Since the passage of the Coney Island rezoning in 2009, the City and CAI have built over 8 acres of new amusement parks, restoring once vacant properties with new popular attractions.  The amusement parks are now larger than at any time since 1964. The construction of Thunderbolt is another key piece of the City’s Coney Island Revitalization Plan, which will continue to 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 rebuilding large sections of the Boardwalk as well as implementing other streetscape improvements which are planned in Coney Island for the next two summer seasons. 
Last year, millions of New Yorkers and visitors from across the globe came to Coney Island, and this summer, Coney Island is poised for another record breaking season. Once completed, the new Thunderbolt coaster will be complemented by the recently opened Steeplechase Plaza and carousel pavilion as well as other new attractions in the amusement area, including the opening of an Applebee’s restaurant, which will be open year-round, and It’Sugar, a candy store on the corner of Stillwell and Surf Avenues.  Other local businesses recently celebrated the start of the 2013 amusement season, including: Nathan’s Famous, Brooklyn Beach Shop, Tom’s Restaurant, Ruby’s Bar & Grill, Paul’s Daughter, and Coney Cones.  Place to Beach, a new bar and restaurant on the Boardwalk has also opened for the summer.
Earlier this year, the City began accepting applications for Coney Island Commons, a new housing development that includes nearly 200 units of affordable housing and a new state-of-the-art YMCA—the first in Southern Brooklyn—slated for opening later this year.  Also earlier this year, NYCEDC, Council Member Domenic M. Recchia, Jr., and the Alliance for Coney Island, with support from Workforce1 and Small Business Services, hosted its fourth annual job screening events in anticipation of the 2013 season. The recruitment effort sought to fill over 800 positions in the amusement area, many of which were filled by Coney Island residents.


New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City's primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC's mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City's competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City's many opportunities. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.


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Nick Kelly 

(212) 312-3523