City Hands Evil Landlord Control of Coney Island’s Cyclone

01/24/2011 3:59 PM |

Whom will Zamperla evict from the Cyclone? Fun itself?
  • Whom will Zamperla evict from the Cyclone? Fun itself?

While the city continues to accept proposals for long-term operators of the landmarked Cyclone rollercoaster, it has entrusted Zamperla with the task of operating the dilapidated amusement area’s central attraction for this season, the Brooklyn Paper reports. The once-welcomed developer, who built Luna Park over Astroland’s remains, has recently emerged as a villain after evicting eight businesses, including the iconic Ruby’s, from their longtime boardwalk homes. Last month, Zamperla even bulldozed the beloved Shoot the Freak amusement, even though it was illegal to do so. Zamperla also plans to open competing coasters this spring in an area called “Scream Zone,” which will include at least one ride based on a Steeplechase classic—one more of Zamperla’s increasingly shallow-seeming acknowledgements of Coney’s rich history.

Charlie Denson, the neighborhood’s premiere historian, announced earlier this month that he would move his Coney Island Museum, which has long operated in a storefront underneath the Cyclone but whose lease recently expired, to the base of the Wonder Wheel—a preemptive measure, for sure, against the eviction-happy Zamperla, who was rumored for months, according to the Brooklyn Paper, to be taking over the coaster.

Hunting down a source in favor of the deal, the Brooklyn Paper dug up Dick Zigun, onetime “mayor” of Coney Island. Hard-to-find during the ongoing boardwalk-eviction brouhaha that began in November, Zigun recently got a gift from the city: landmark status for the building (which the city helped him buy) that houses his Coney Island Museum operations. Meanwhile, many other Coney Island buildings were razed over the last few months in a stunning rampage. Collusion with the mayor certainly has its benefits.