Ousted Coney Island businesses plan rally

Patrons of several longtime Coney Island businesses that were recently denied lease renewals are planning a rally at noon Saturday. The patrons are hoping to make Central Amusement International reconsider its plans to shut down some classic Coney Island businesses.

On Monday, CAI told 11 Coney Island boardwalk eateries, shops and concessions that their leases would not be renewed, and that they had 15 days to vacate.

The businesses that are closing include the 76-year-old Ruby’s Bar, a paintball attraction and a beer garden.

CAI told WNYC radio that it plans to invest millions of dollars to make Coney Island a year-round destination, with shopping, dining and entertainment. No official plans for the boardwalk redesign have been released, but CAI says it is seeking tenants who would open sit-down restaurants that could operate year-round.

The company opened the new Luna Park amusement park this year at Coney Island with 19 new rides and entertainment. A second CAI amusement park that features thill rides – called Scream Zone – is slated to open in 2011.

In September, the City of New York announced a record season for Coney island’s Amusement District, with more than 400,000 visitors this summer.

[Image credit: Flickr user edenpictures]

Photo of the Day (10.17.10)

Whoa, what is that thing? Some kind of mutant flower? An architecture project gone wrong? It’s actually New York City’s Coney Island Parachute Jump, taken courtesy of Flickr user ☆ Ambré ☆. There’s a couple neat photographic tricks going on here, most of which are created using a special photographic style called Lomography, a technique that allows photographers to create some wonderfully quirky, candid photos. The darkened edges, double/upside down image and distinctly “analog” look you’re seeing here are the result of this style. Want to try some lomography yourself? Learn more about it at sites like www.lomography.com or grab mobile phone apps like Hipstamatic or Instagram which replicate the “lomo style” without making you purchase a whole new camera.

Have any great travel photos you’d like to share with the world? Why not add them to our Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.

Theme park news roundup: The word of the day is giga-coaster

The new Intimidator 305 roller coaster has opened at Kings Dominion theme park in Richmond, VA. The coaster, named in honor of the late NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, has ride cars that look like Earnhardt’s famous black Chevy. Earnhardt’s daughter Taylor visited the park last week to open the ride.

The Intimidator 305 screams along at 92 miles per hour, thanks to a 300-foot drop at the start.

Kings Dominion says that makes it part of a new class of giga-coasters – “complete-circuit coasters with a height of 300 feet or taller.” You can now check “add a word to my vocabulary” off today’s to-do list. You’re welcome.

Universal requires 4-night stay for Harry Potter packages (Orlando, FL, USA)

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens June 18, and if you want to book Universal Orlando Resort’s vacation package to go see the wizard, you will be staying in Orlando until at least June 22.

Universal tells the Orlando Sentinel that the package was designed as a 4-night experience when it was introduced in February, but the minimum stay requirement was just set this week.

The Orlando vacation packages include a hotel stay, Universal Orlando tickets, breakfast at the new Three Broomsticks restaurant and early admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.Coney Island Cyclone opens for 83rd season (New York City, NY, USA)

The landmark Cyclone roller coaster has re-opened for its 83rd season on Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York.

It costs $8 to ride the combination wooden and steel structure that cost $175,000 to build in 1927. Although the thrill ride is on the National Register of Historic Places, it is still listed among coaster enthusiasts as one of the best current roller coasters in the country – both for its great views of the Manahattan skyline and its 60 mph hairpin turns.

Nearby, the new Luna Park is set to open its 19 rides on the Coney Island shore on May 29.

Great Wolf Lodge tries for water-slide world record (USA)

3,651 miles. That’s the distance that bathing-suit clad visitors slid at 11 Great Wolf Lodge indoor water parks last weekend, in an attempt to set a Guinness World Record.

The Great Wolf Lodges each kept one water slide open for 24 hours and asked sliders to donate to the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. The charity event/publicity stunt resulted in 47,660 trips down the designated water slides.

Guinness is still verifying the information before making the world record – which will be in the category longest distance water sliding in 24 hours in multiple venues – official. Oddly enough, there’s no previous record-holder for this very specific, new category in the company’s record books.

SeaWorld’s Aquatic water park opens new water slide (Orlando, FL, USA)

Orlando water park Aquatica has opened its new slide, the Omaka Rocka. The tube slide deposits riders in funnels designed to mimic the sensation that skateboarders feel in the half-pipe.

This is the third year for Aquatica, SeaWorld’s venture into the water park scene. Omaka Rocka is the first addition to the park since it opened.

Future questioned at Freestyle Music Park (Myrtle Beach, SC, USA)

The troubled Freestyle Music Park is facing foreclosure. The Myrtle Beach, S.C., park – which opened as Hard Rock Park in 2008 then underwent a brand change for the 2009 season – missed a debt payment deadline last week.

The Sun News reports that the theme park’s owners have not been able to find new investors and are facing bankruptcy or foreclosure. Owners are saying it is “unlikely” that the park will open for the 2010 season.

Six Flags releases iPhone app (USA)

The Six Flags Fun Finder, a free app, is now available in the App Store. Beyond the usual park maps and event listings, that app integrates with Facebook to help you find the exact location of your friends within any Six Flags theme park. The app is free.

Ten vintage carousels with a romance side

What is it about painted horses that follow each other around and around in a circle that’s so compelling? Ever since carousels first became part of New York’s Coney Island boardwalk scene in 1886, their appeal hasn’t waned. Head to almost any amusement park, carnival, zoo, fair, or boardwalk and you’ll find one. Many are the centerpiece of a public park or a downtown looking to attract travelers.

Perhaps part of their appeal is because so many people have childhood memories of a carousel ride. My earliest carousel memory is of the one that used to be at the Coney Island outside Cincinnati. That one was moved to Kings Island when that park first opened.

There’s also the user-friendly aspect. A carousel is the one ride that everyone can climb aboard. From babies to grandparents, to dating couples and all ages in between, no one looks out of place when sitting on a wooden horse carved to look like it’s prancing or galloping.

Another appeal may be the way carousels test the push and pull between children and adults. First, there are those years when the child sits on a horse with the parent or caregiver firmly holding the child in place. Then, as both become braver as the child grows, the adult is at the other side of the rail–waiting, watching for and waving over and over again as the child disappears and reappears around the corner again and again. A carousel ride is one of the first tests of independent travel. It’s the proof that if one goes out into the world, he or she will come back, and that the people who love us will be smiling at the door with outstretched arms to say welcome home.

Because their appeal has not diminished over the years, many vintage carousels still exist. Here are ten that are perfect for reliving a childhood memory. Each have a romance side.

Some of these carousels are open year round. Others are seasonal. All of them are vintage and have carried riders over the years. Each have a romance side–all carousel animals do. The romance side is the front that the viewer sees. At the back side, although the animals are painted, they don’t have elaborate carvings or designs that the front sides do. Check this out the next time you ride one.

1. Flying Horses Carousel, Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Supposedly the oldest carousel in the United States, the Flying Horse was built in 1876.

2. The Antique Carousel, Casino Pier, Seaside Heights, New Jersey. For over 90 years, these carousel horses have followed each other to the music of the Wurlitzer Military Band Organ

3. Bishop & Breinstein Carousell (B&B), Coney Island, New York. This carousel is the only one that remains of the 25 that used to be located at this famous boardwalk. The word carousel has two l’s because that’s the way the frame builder spelled it.

4. Bushnell Park Carousel, Hartford, Connecticut. This carousel, built in 1914, is located in downtown Hartford. It used to be in Canton, Ohio. Although it’s only open to the public seasonally, you can rent the carousel for private parties any time of the year.

5. Fall River Carousel at Battleship Cove, Fall River, Massachusetts. Built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1920, this carousel graced Lincoln Amusement Park for 70 years until it was brought to Battleship Cove. Eleanor Roosevelt is one of the famous people who have ridden on this one.

6. Dentzel Carousel, Glen Echo Park, Glen Echo, Maryland. near Washington, D.C. This 1921 beauty is one of the few vintage carousels in the United States in its original location. Called a menagerie carousel because it has other animals as well as horses, this attraction was restored to its original brilliance in 2003. It’s the only carousel owned by the National Park Service.

7. Olcott Beach Carousel at Olcott Beach Carousel Park, Olcott, New York. This 1928 Hershell-Spillman carousel is not the original one of this location but it is similar to the one that used to be here.

8. Santa Monica Pier Carousel, Santa Monica, California. This carousel is one of the 70 remaining wooden vintage carousels that continue to operate. The building that houses it was built in 1916 and is on the National List of Historic Places. Perhaps you’ve seen this one in a movie or two.

9. Central Park Carousel is in a location that has had a carousel since 1871. The original one was “powered by a blind horse and a mule.” The current carousel replaces one that was destroyed in a fire in 1950 and has the largest carved figures ever made.

10. Tilden Park Merry-Go-Round, Tilden Regional Park, near Berkeley, California. Called a merry-go-round because it features other animals besides horses, this ride has been located in a variety of places ever since 1911 when it was first made. It arrived in Tilden in 1948.

Photo of the Day (9.20.09)

Gadling first wrote about the secret pleasures of New York City’s Coney Island back in May. Brooklyn’s very own quirky seaside amusement area boasts a vintage rollercoaster, beach access and the annual Mermaid Parade. Coney Island is also a particularly “atmospheric” place, as Flickr user cmvoelkel captured in today’s shot. The park’s famous Wonder Wheel strikes an eerie silhouette against the fading pinks and purples of the setting sun. The shapes and textures of the fence and barbed wire add further visual intrigue.

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