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Could 2010 be the last year of Playland as we know it? [10 Mar 2010|09:27am]

WHITE PLAINS — A "staggering" budget deficit will force Westchester County to make drastic spending cuts, turning the government into "something completely different than what we have today," County Executive Rob Astorino said Tuesday.

Citing a projected $166 million shortfall next year, Astorino called for shared sacrifice and said layoffs for hundreds of county workers was a last resort but "likely."

He said short-term cuts will include closing the Croton Point Park pool, ending bus service to New York City and eliminating the police mounted unit.

There will also be a later opening time for the county-owned Rye Playland Amusement Park — with more changes looming next year for the historic shoreline park.

"The land is county-owned and it's parkland, so we would not seek to de-dedicate it," he said. "You're never going to see condos at Playland. That would never happen.

"But the way we operate it, everything is on the table with regard to the ice casino, to the amusement park, to the beach," Astorino said. "All of that is in discussion right now, including the management of Playland."

The first-term Republican vowed not to raise property taxes in 2011, but said the price will be steep.

He will make $16 million in cuts this year, and make up the gap by slashing nonvital services, leaving positions vacant, reviewing existing contracts and consolidating county departments.

He said long-term cuts would address the projected 2011 gap. If enough can't be cut, the difference will be made up with layoffs.

"Basically we're looking at a structural problem in county government," Astorino said. "In the past, what has happened is we have used one-shots and rosy projections to get to where we are, and it's just continuing to kick the can down the road.

"Well, the day has come where that can is no longer able to be kicked," the county executive said. "We have to deal with reality, and we will deal with a responsible budget starting in 2011."

Andrew Spano, a three-term Democratic incumbent before Astorino ousted him in the November election, could not be reached for comment.

But Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman Ken Jenkins, a Yonkers Democrat, said Astorino's assessment of the coming budget was premature.

"The county executive's budget deficit pronouncement for (fiscal year) 2011 is premature, given that the 2009 fiscal year hasn't closed yet, we have not received actual revenue data for the first three months of 2010, and the administration has no idea how cuts in our state aid will impact the county," Jenkins said in a statement released Tuesday.

Jenkins noted that the current budget, approved in December, was a balanced spending plan.

In a separate statement, Legislator Thomas Abinanti of Greenburgh, the board's Democratic majority leader, cited Astorino's recent move to hike the salaries of two top aides by $18,000 each.

"I am concerned about County Executive Astorino's credibility in asking for sacrifice to control spending when he has already set the wrong example by increasing the salaries of his top aides," Abinanti said. "It is cause for watchful, extra careful management, not panic."

Still, the Business Council of Westchester commended the county executive, saying in a statement that he "has acted responsibly in acknowledging the difficult financial environment that confronts Westchester's residents."

Legislators approved the current $1.8 billion budget by a 9-8 vote.

That budget, the last submitted by Spano, raised county property taxes by 2.9 percent. The increase would have been nearly 5 percent had legislators not cut $1 million before approving the budget package.

But the 2011 budget promised to be both fiscally and politically challenging for Astorino — he heralded his Election Day victory over Spano as a mandate from voters to trim county spending.

Astorino said he entered office believing the county faced a $60 million deficit in 2010. He maintained that a review of financial records revealed the larger gap.

"It started not two years ago with the economy," he said. "But really this was unrestrained spending for many, many years."

He said spending rose 46 percent since 2001, while personnel costs rose by 48 percent and the tax levy by 53 percent. Over the same time span, the consumer price index rose only 29 percent.

Without significant cuts now, Astorino said, the deficit would rise to $266 million in 2012 and $355 million by 2013.

He said consolidation of county properties and county departments, including public safety and emergency services, were among the options being considered.

Astorino said job cuts were a last resort, but are on the table.

"Unfortunately, it is likely that there will be elimination of some jobs, that there will be layoffs at some point, whether that's this year or next year," he said. "I don't see how we can get to plug this hole of $166 million without it.

"How many will be determined by the choices that people make," he said. "At this point, people have to manage their own careers."
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New Zamperla Park at Coney Island to be named "Luna Park" [27 Jan 2010|11:21am]

The Italian amusement company reportedly tapped to turn the city's controversial Coney Island redevelopment plan into a reality will name its plot "Luna Park" after the legendary Coney Island amusement park. "The park will be called, Luna Park, like the first, the only, the inimitable one, the one created by Frederic Thompson and Elmer 'Skip' Dundy," Alberto Zamperla — President and CEO of Zamperla — apparently told the Italian newspaper Il Giornale di Vicenza. If that's the case, Zamperla will have some pretty big shoes to fill.

The original Luna Park opened in 1903 and closed after it was ravaged by two fires in the 1944 season, but during its four decades of operation the 16-acre park became famous for amusements like the Shoot-the-Chutes flume ride and the Dragon's Gorge. But the Coney Island destination was perhaps most beloved for its nighttime looks, when hundreds of thousands of tiny electric lights would illuminate the park to simulate moonlight.

The blog Amusing the Zillion parses through the Italian article and reports that Zamperla is in a "race against time" to open his amusement park between April 15 — when his company apparently will gain site control from the city — and Memorial Day weekend. "For the first season we have estimated the presence of 400,000 visitors and we are confident it will grow in the future," he said. "In terms of investment, we are talking about $24 million over three years. For us it is a great satisfaction as well as a great opportunity." Though the American-branch of Zamperla declined to comment when asked about the amusement park, a spokeswoman told Gothamist that "Mr. Zamperla loves New York City."
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NEVERLAND [70 icons] [01 Nov 2009|12:51pm]

All icons are made from real images of Michael Jackson's Neverland estate.

● credit: theidolhands
● comments appreciated
no hotlinking
● icons aren't bases

If you want to view paradise...
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Coney Island Nathan's [05 Aug 2009|09:11am]

Nathan's Famous on Coney Island could be saved by landmark status

BY Michael Lipkin and Erin Durkin

Wednesday, August 5th 2009, 4:00 AM
Siegel for News

Nathan's Famous at Surf and Stillwell Aves. in Coney Island has been an unofficial landmark for decades, and its supporters want it granted official status so it isn't replaced by high-rise.
Related News

* Chesnut sets Nathan's hot dog eating record with 68 franks

It's already a landmark for hot-dog lovers around the world - and now they want to make it official.

Advocates are pushing the city to landmark the building at Surf and Stillwell Aves., where Nathan's Famous has been dishing out dogs since 1916, to prevent it from being demolished as Coney Island undergoes sweeping redevelopment.

Under a zoning plan passed by the City Council last week, a hotel tower of up to 20 stories could be built at the corner currently occupied by Nathan's. It's one of four sites along Surf Ave. where hotels will be allowed.

Coney Island USA founder Dick Zigun said landmark status is necessary to stop Nathan's from going the way of such mainstays as Astroland, which closed last year.

"To not have Nathan's would be insane," he said. "Even when you build new rides and businesses and hotels ... the appeal [Coney Island] is going to have is the history.

"You don't want the new Coney Island to be indistinguishable from a suburbanized, homogenized, standardized amusement park off the New Jersey Turnpike," Zigun said. "You want it to be special."

Landmarks Preservation Commission spokeswoman Lisi de Bourbon said officials are still weighing the historical and architectural significance of the building.

Two other historic Coney buildings, the Shore Theater and the Coney Island USA building - home to the original Childs Restaurant - have been deemed eligible for landmarking, de Bourbon said.

Landmark status has already saved other Coney icons like the Cyclone and the WonderWheel from the wrecking ball.

Nathan's Famous CEO Eric Gatoff said the company has no position on the landmark proposal, but insisted the hot-dog emporium isn't going anywhere. He noted Nathan's - which doesn't own the building - has 18 years left on its lease.

"We expect to be in that building forever," Gatoff said. "Our expectation is there will always be a Nathan's on the corner of Surf and Stillwell."

The Handwerker family, which founded the original Nathan's and still owns the building, could not be reached for comment.

More than 125 people have signed an online petition launched three days ago to push for the landmarking - and most frankfurter fans were all for it.

"It should be a landmark already," said Bill Funk, 69, an upper West Side accountant who has visited the stand once a week all summer for the past 50 years. "There deserves to be change here. There should be better development, but this should stay."
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[08 Jul 2009|10:11pm]


To find your City Council member and their phone number, plug in your street address and borough here:

Further info here:
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Playland as a parallel to the situation in Coney Island [02 Jul 2009|01:39pm]

Learn from Rye Playland

Rye Playland provides a fascinating parallel for Coney Island.

Consider the following: You’re a municipality tasked with transforming a piece of prime, oceanfront property into a premier amusement park, affordable to working families and protected in perpetuity from the threat of encroaching residential development. Coney Island, 2009? Try Rye Playland, circa 1927.

Rye Playland, the nationally landmarked amusement park in Westchester County, came into existence as the very first formally “planned” park of its kind in the United States. Concerned about the the unfocused development, the county purchased two small theme parks and built an unprecedented attraction that included a boardwalk, beach and pool, roller coasters, skating rinks and more. More than 80 years later, it remains the largest of only two government-owned and -operated amusement parks in the country.

It also provides a fascinating parallel for some of New York City’s challenges in its quest to redevelop Coney Island. Once the city’s premier family entertainment area, Coney has suffered as Astroland and other amusements have closed as a result of real estate speculation. In this atmosphere, the threat of beachfront residential development becomes even more acute. But there is good news: The city’s incredibly bold comprehen­sive rezoning proposes the proactive creation and protection of a new amusement park district.

By purchasing and mapping land along the boardwalk as parkland, the city would then be able to attract the world’s finest amusement park planners to create the park Coney Island deserves to be, structuring development in such a way that it can remain both open and affordable. For a Brooklyn kid like me who grew up spending weekends at Coney Island, and then had the honor of running Rye Playland for many years, I can think of nothing more important.

I recently came across the following on the Coney Island USA message board, written after a day spent at Playland Park: “Rye is everything I dream of Coney becoming, a great mix of the old and new.” We all have our dreams for Coney Island and finally, it’s starting to look like some may actually come true.

About the author:

Joe Montalto is the president of High Mountain Enterprises, and a former member of the New York state Senate.
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NEW YORK CITY-The rezoning of Coney Island cleared the next-to-last hurdle in the public review process as the City Planning Commission approved it on Wednesday. Next up in the process, which began in January, is a vote by the City Council, which is to occur within 50 days after the CPC vote.

Commission chair Amanda Burden said on Wednesday that the plan to create a 27-acre amusement and entertainment district incorporates recommendations that arose during meetings with the local community board and borough president Marty Markowitz. Revisions to the plan "strengthen the ground-floor requirements for traditional amusement uses--such as arcades, games of chance and rides--to maintain Coney Island’s one-of-a-kind amusement character in the Coney East amusement and entertainment district," Burden said Wednesday.

Burden added, "We’ve also reduced the height limits for building streetwalls along Surf Avenue in Coney East to ensure direct visibility to the amusement park and boardwalk upon arrival in Coney Island." She said other modifications will encourage "extraordinary design" as well as the integration of Coney Island’s historic icons in the future development.

In a statement, Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the plan approved Wednesday "ends decades of speculation and disinvestment and expands the active amusement district into a 27-acre 21st century attraction. We cannot allow Coney Island’s decline to continue, and the opportunity to create 6,000 permanent jobs and 25,000 construction jobs in addition to 4,500 new housing units--900 of them affordable to low- and middle-income families--cannot be passed up."

Wednesday’s CPC meeting was disrupted by protestors who said the plan doesn’t ensure that the newly created jobs provide prevailing and living wages and benefits. "The city is prepared to make a massive, taxpayer-fueled investment in Coney Island, but the current plan and the recommendations from Community Board 13, Markowitz and now the CPC aren’t nearly enough to ensure new development preserves the people’s playground that New Yorkers love and benefits the entire community," says Matt Ryan, campaign director for New York Jobs with Justice, in a release.
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[10 Jun 2009|03:37pm]

This week at Coney Island USA 6/10/09

Click here for this weeks events!
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[15 Apr 2009|11:55am]

This week at Coney Island USA 4/15/09

Click here for this weeks events!
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TOMORROW NIGHT at The Dragonfly in Hollywood @ 7PM! [30 Mar 2009|08:54pm]

SEE! The art gallery/concert/flea market explosion!
HEAR! Music of Hollywood's underground starving and not-so-starving musicians!
WITNESS! Me pop my Cha-Cha-cherry!
PURCHASE! Art, clothing, crafts, dolls, and jewelry of Hollywood's underground starving and not-so-starving artists!
DRINK! Your asses off!

All are possible at Cha-Cha's Traveling Flea Circus! 3/31 @ Dragonfly Hollywood


This way to the big-top!Collapse )
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[26 Dec 2008|06:14pm]


Corndog Shirts
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I debated about making this post... [08 Dec 2008|08:16am]

But I noticed that a lot of related things are in this group's interests list...

Anyone else find coin-operated amusement devices totally awesome?

I think machines that sell a product are ok, but mostly I'm into machines who -sell themselves-.

Anyway, below is a blog (so far, would like to start a community) of such machines I own or wish I did...


If there is a similar community already on LJ, please let me know as I wasn't able to find one...

- Dave
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My experiences at these places [06 Dec 2008|05:20pm]

Bumper Cars: Anyone else get excited at earliest age you heard about these? Of course every kid wants to 'drive something'... One thing I'd like to try but haven't yet is a go-kart cart track...

That Pirate Ship that goes upside-down and wallets and keys drop out of people 'every single time': I chickened out of a line for that thing when I was 14 and still haven't been on one till this day..

My first amusement park was a place called Kings Dominion. My first roller coaster was a nothing ride there called "The Scooby Do", my second one (same day) was "The Shock Wave" (which I do believe was billed as the first 'stand-up' rollercoaster)... My third one was probably "The Rebel Yell", which I remember being lots of fun...

There used to be a carnival one or more times a year near some place I used to live... I used to ride The Scrambler repeatedly to see how long it would take to get sick. This ride is apparently a very scaled-down version of The Twist/Twister if you know what those are...

But one memory I have of themeparks is nailing some gradeschool kid who I wanted to be friends with but who didn't like me back with a water gun. Some thrills you don't have to wait in Line For :-D
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Coney Island News [18 Nov 2008|04:27pm]



November 17, 2008 --

The Bloomberg administration is in serious negotiations to buy 10.5 acres of real estate in Coney Island that once appeared unobtainable – a move that would save both Astroland Park and the mayor's plans to revive the slumping seaside amusement district, The Post has learned.

Developer Joe Sitt is ready to give up his controversial plan to build a $1.5 billion Vegas-style entertainment complex, which the mayor wants no part of, and instead sell all of the beachfront land he's purchased to the city.

"God willing, we will get this done soon," said Councilman Domenic Recchia Jr. (D-Brooklyn), who convinced both Sitt's company, Thor Equities, and the city to go to the bargaining table and is helping broker the deal.

While a price is still being negotiated, it is expected that the city would have to shell out $200 million to $250 million for the land, sources close to the negotiations said.

Recchia said the mayor wants the deal done quickly, so the city can finally get going on Bloomberg's 47-acre rezoning plan for Coney Island, which includes building a nine-acre amusement park.

By purchasing Sitt's land, the city would also become owner of 3.1-acre Astroland Park, which is the process of closing because Sitt failed to renew its lease.

This would give the city and the park's longtime operator, Carol Albert, much-needed time to find a nearby Coney Island boardwalk site to relocate the 46-year-old fabled park.

A deal between Sitt and the city, however, must be reached soon because Albert is under fire to relocate her rides by the end of January when her lease with Sitt ends.

Recchia said the mayor "is committed to bringing back Astroland," at least for next summer.

Albert said she was "shocked" to learn Astroland might not be dead after all.

A Sitt spokesman declined comment, but sources said the developer had a change of heart and is willing to give up his two-year game of chicken with the administration over the future of Coney Island for several reasons:

* The city last month beat Sitt to buying a one-acre property in the middle of the developer's land. Sitt desired the site to have the contiguous acreage needed for his entertainment complex plan.

* With the City Council revising term limits, Bloomberg is no longer a lame duck. Sitt had counted on taking his chances with a new mayor.

* Sitt needs city backing for major development projects he's pushing in Red Hook and Bensonhurst, so he's trying to smooth his relationship with the administration by working out a deal in Coney Island.

If a deal can't be reached, Sitt plans to operate a temporary flea market and amusements next year on his boardwalk land.

The $200 million to $250 million price tag being discussed in negotiations is based on the $11 million the city paid for the one acre last month and then factoring in that there's an existing lease for its use by Deno's Wonder Wheel Park, according to sources.

No matter what happens between the city and Sitt, both the Cyclone rollercoaster at Astroland and the Wonder Wheel are protected landmarks.

Lynn Kelly, who heads the city's Coney Island Development Corp., could not be reached for comment yesterday.
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WONDER WHEEL SOLD! [16 Oct 2008|07:16pm]

NEW YORK -- New York City has purchased the one-acre site of the Wonder Wheel in Coney Island for $11 million.

The city is undertaking an effort to preserve and restore the Brooklyn neighborhood's historic amusement parks. It may seek to purchase more land in the coming months to prevent developers from turning the park into luxury housing.

An earlier deal between investment company Thor Equities and real estate company that owns the Wonder Wheel Amusement Park property fell through about three months ago.

Thor Equities and the city have been dueling over how to revitalize Coney Island.

The Wonder Wheel was built in 1920 and stands 150 feet high.

The city hopes to turn the site into a year-round entertainment destination.
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You know you work in a carnival when... [21 Sep 2008|10:56am]

[ mood | cold ]

- when pull in to a new town and with in the first hour you know where the beer store, bar,Tim Hortons, and the laundry mat are and when they open and close

- When watching when the lights go out on the Ferris Wheel becomes a ritual.

- You go to Wal-Mart more than 3 times a week.

- You wear the same jeans for 13 days without washing them.

- Quarters are like gold.

- Your trash is overflowing and your bank account isn’t

- Anything can be cooked in a microwave

- tanks and black pants become the norm - jeans are considered "dressy" at certain occasions...

- A canceled day is almost as exciting as Christmas.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- You take condiment packets and napkins from fast food restaurants - hey, they're free.

- Showers become more of an issue.

- You are no longer thankful that fire alarms are here to protect you.

- Laundry is an all-day event.

- You no longer find it uncool to take naps. In fact, you quite enjoy them

- You've eaten cereal out of a cup... with a fork

You set your clock 5-10 minutes ahead so you make it to roll call on time.

- You eventually realize that setting your clock ahead makes no difference to you and you're still late

- You can sleep through your next door losers blaring stereo

- 4am is when you go to sleep, not when you wake up.
- You know how late McDonald’s, Burger King, Tim Hortons, etc. are open.

- You find yourself "taking it deep" at any possible moment even when you have no idea what it even means.

- Weekends no longer exsist.

- flipflops become a health requirement for showering.

- ...and whats the date?

- Your underwear/sock supply dictates your laundry schedule.

- Your breakfast consists of a coke or cereal bar on the way to work... anything with caffeine will do.

- You start to hate kids, and foreingers.

- Girls: You've balanced your foot on a shampoo bottle to shave.

- Keys have never been so important, yet you seem to lose them or lock yourself out of the room even more

- Getting to the bar 15 minutes before last call after work is completely acceptable

- The majority of your scar stories begin with "so i was drunk and.."

- When you find your self wanting to or yelling at the elderly and/or young children.

- Even after a 12 hr. jump you turn on the generator and try to find a satelite signal.

- The MAIN pick-up line is "wanna watch a movie?"

- You end up buried in the stock trailer, near drowning in plush & boxes, choking on dust.

- When you drive past a parking lot of the carnival in your off season and get homesick! :(

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Hey [18 Sep 2008|05:51pm]

[ mood | relaxed ]

My names Cody Mac and I'm new to livejournal
I'm a carnival worker for Maritime Midways in Canada although I took last season off to give the real world a shot.
Turns out the real world doesn't even hold a candle to The carni life so I'm going back next season lol. Anyway heres some pictures of my carnival and my carni brothers
Maritime MidwaysCollapse )

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Maybe we were all too hasty... [09 Sep 2008|02:54pm]

Astroland gets shot at second life as officials push to keep park open


Tuesday, September 9th 2008, 4:00 AM
Patrons flocked to Astroland Sunday for it's last day of existence. But, it may be alive again soon. Wenig/AP

Patrons flocked to Astroland Sunday for it's last day of existence. But, it may be alive again soon.

One day after Coney Island's famous Astroland closed for good, city officials Monday floated a plan to resuscitate the historic amusement park.

Despite little interest from Astroland owners and landlord Thor Equities, city officials are pushing the two sides to agree on an interim deal to keep the park open.

Sources said the city then hopes to find a different spot for the beloved park as part of an ambitious plan to redevelop Coney Island.

"If Astroland's current landlord was willing to extend its lease just until our plan passes, the city will then be in a position to keep Astroland - and all the other amusements - alive, using what would then be city-owned property," said an official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The last-minute proposal would allow the 3.1-acre park to lease land from the city once the larger plan for the area is approved.

The dramatic makeover of Coney Island has met with one obstacle after another.

The proposal stalled last fall after private landowners and other amusement owners, including Deno's Wonder Wheel amusement park, balked at the city's intention to buy them out and build a single park.

If the city is able to move ahead, sources said, Astroland would be relocated or would buy its current home from Thor, which bought the land in 2006 for a reported $30 million.

Thor spokesman Stefan Friedman said Monday the city had not contacted developer Joseph Sitt about the plans and declined to comment on whether Sitt was willing to reopen negotiations with Astroland owner Carol Hill Albert.

An Astroland spokesman Monday said Albert still had no intention of reopening the park after Sunday's shuttering.

"Talk is cheap," said spokesman Joe Carella, who added that city officials have yet to contact Albert about their plans. "It's just too much of an upstream swim at this point."

Even if the two sides won't come to the table, city officials promised there would still be Astroland-like rides at Coney Island next summer.
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[09 Sep 2008|07:50am]

September 8, 2008
Astroland Closes, This Time, It Appears, for Good

Depression has no place in an amusement park, but a definite pall hung over Astroland at Coney Island on Sunday, even as the screams of thrill seekers — grade-school children, metal-mouthed teenagers and nostalgic, if slightly nauseated, grownups — tore through the air.

On Thursday, the park’s owner, Carol Albert, announced that Sunday would be the last day for Astroland, the three-acre space-themed amusement park that has been a fixture on Coney Island’s Boardwalk since 1962. Ms. Albert sounded a similar alarm last year, when it seemed that negotiations between her and the property’s owner, Thor Equities, had come to a standstill, only for a deal to be worked out. The Albert family sold the land to Thor for about $30 million in 2006.

But this year, Ms. Albert said, Thor Equities refused to meet with her to discuss her lease, which expires Jan. 31. While Thor Equities disputed Ms. Albert’s version of events, Ms. Albert insisted that at 9 p.m. on Sunday, the park’s midway lights would shut off, ride by ride, game by game, for good. Twenty rides from the park are listed for sale on the Web site www.rides4u.com.

And so, thousands of visitors poured into Astroland for what appeared to be the last time, pushing toddlers in strollers and aged relatives in wheelchairs, and taking a final look at a park that may have seen better days, but was still widely adored. Many people reminisced about their childhood days spent at Astroland, and shook their heads in disbelief that yet another vestige of old New York would be lost.

“The city has decided that anything that makes a buck is a good thing. We’re giving up everything that makes New York wonderful,” said John Jeannopoulos, 55, a lawyer who lives in Manhattan and began coming to Astroland soon after it opened. “Once you take down some something like Astroland, or Disneyfy Times Square, you never get it back.”

Astroland’s closing would not mean the end of rides at Coney Island; the Cyclone wooden roller coaster and the Wonder Wheel, which is part of Deno’s Amusement Park, are both city landmarks and will continue to operate next year. Thor Equities said it would also bring more amusement rides to the Astroland site next year.

The shuttering of the park would erase another attraction from the Coney Island Boardwalk, which has fallen a long way from its glory days, when it was home to attractions like Luna Park and the Steeplechase.

But part of what made Astroland unique was its accessibility, said Charles Denson, a Coney Island historian and author of the book “Coney Island Lost and Found.” Rather than being an expensive, glossy and distant amusement park, Astroland was a place that was reachable by subway, a place where a visitor could shoot a water gun at a clown’s mouth and win a prize, or venture on kitschy rides with names like Dante’s Inferno and Break Dance that, while arguably seedy, were still loads of fun.

“It wasn’t Disneyland, but thank God for that,” said Mr. Denson. “It’s open to people of small means, and it always has been.”

Indeed, youngsters living near Astroland said they worried now about how they would fill their summer days and nights.

“No one’s going to have anywhere to hang out anymore,” said Keyira Serrano, 14, who lives at the Coney Island Houses and said she spent every summer weekend at Astroland, usually with her younger sisters Dannierra Whitfield, 13, and Felicia Serrano, 9. “We’re not going to have nothing to do. So today we’re going to have all the fun we can, while it lasts.”

For the park’s 350 employees, too, the future is suddenly uncertain. Some held out hope that Astroland might somehow survive, though Ms. Albert said she could not continue operating Astroland without a multiyear lease from Thor Equities, which she said the company was not willing to give.

Jose de la Cruz, a 40-year-old Brooklyn resident, began working at Astroland eight years ago, and has operated its Pirate Ship ride since 2003. Mr. de la Cruz has worked at amusement parks since he was 16 and dropped out of high school, after deciding that he preferred a carny’s life to classrooms.

“Sometimes there are drunk people, and sometimes people toss their cookies in the air — it ain’t a pretty sight and I got to clean it up,” he said. “But I’m going to miss it. I enjoy seeing people having fun, being so terrified and then afterwards walking off, their legs shaking, saying ‘I did it.’ ”

Like most of Astroland’s workers, Mr. de la Cruz plans to help dismantle its rides over the next few months. After that, he said, he would apply for unemployment insurance, and then try to get a job at another amusement park. “This is my life,” he said. “It’s the only thing I’ve ever been doing, and I’m good at it.”

Other park workers said they were furious at the park’s planned shutdown. “Thor is putting 350 people out of jobs,” said Philip Englebert, a maintenance worker. “We all live here. We work here. What are we going to do now, in this economy?”

Stefan Friedman, a spokesman for Thor Equities, said in a statement that the developer had been in touch with “numerous amusement operators” to discuss setting up “permanent year-round development.” The city and Joseph J. Sitt, the chairman of Thor Equities, which is now the largest landowner in the area, have yet to reach an agreement on how to redevelop Coney Island, though locals worry that the neighborhood will become awash in generic chain stores, condominiums and hotels.

On Sunday, Walter McCoy, a maintenance worker in his 40s, watched his niece swinging high in the Pirate Ship as it soared toward the sky, screaming with her arms aloft. Mr. McCoy’s grandson Andre, 6, stood beside him. Andre was too small for the ride, and watched his cousin, enthralled.

Going to Astroland, Mr. McCoy said, had been a summer tradition in his family for decades.

“This place lets kids trust their legs, they don’t have to worry about cars, and neighborhoods are getting so rough,” said Mr. McCoy, who lives in East New York, Brooklyn.

“They’re closing down a legend.”
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carnival week [17 Jul 2008|02:57pm]

hello darlings! it is carnival week over at my blog disasterville! i'm not even half way through posting carnival entries so prepare yourself for lots of fun. just click on the button below to see:

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