Italian ride manufacturing giant Zamperla has taken over operation of the famous Coney Island Cyclone rollercoaster, pledging to invest large sums in refurbishing the historic ride.
Central Amusement International, which is majority owned by Zamperla, has been selected by New York authorities to take over the aging wooden hybrid coaster. The company already operates the recently-reopened Luna Park amusement park, which sits across the street from the Cyclone.
The Cyclone had been operated by the Albert family since 1975, but the city opted to replace them in order to the turn the coaster into a year-round attraction. Central Amusement has only been given temporary control of the ride, with the city yet to make a decision on a long-term operator.
With the ride due to reopen for the season on April 16, company president Valerio Ferrari told NY1 that he is unsure how much renovating the ride will cost. However, the company is expected to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairing and restoring the Cyclone.
The Cyclone originally opened on June 26, 1927 at a cost of $175,000. The ride was declared a New York City landmark in 1988, and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991. Its enduring popularity inspired several "clones", with two still in operation at Six Flags Over Georgia (Georgia Cyclone) and Six Flags Great America (Viper).
The revamped Luna Park opened in 2010, featuring a total of 19 attractions. A second amusement area - dubbed "Scream Zone at Coney Island" - is set to open in 2011. According to New York City's official plans, Scream Zone will feature two custom-designed rollercoasters along with two other thrill rides
Luna Park is named after a previous amusement park which operated at Coney Island between 1903 and 1944. The original park played a key role in establishing amusement parks as fixtures of coastal resorts, and directly influenced the opening of similar attractions such as Blackpool's Pleasure Beach as well as the identically-named Luna Parks in Melbourne and Sydney in Australia.
Like many resorts that boomed during the early 20th century, Coney Island has been in decline for many years. The new Luna Park and updated Cyclone are part of a planned $150 million regeneration of the area, which is being championed by New York major Michael Bloomberg.