Coney Island opens first new rollercoasters in 80 years | Crain’s

They call it the Scream Zone, but don’t feel bad if you can’t manage to let loose a shriek while being shot 150 feet into the air at 90 miles per hour.

Coney Island, Brooklyn, on Wednesday introduced a four-ride amusement park called the Scream Zone that includes the aptly named Slingshot and two major rollercoasters.

Located along the boardwalk between West 12th and West 15th streets, the new development is part of the city’s ongoing effort to revitalize the amusement park area. The city purchased 6.9 acres in 2009 and signed a 10-year lease with the amusement park’s builder and operator, Central Amusement International.

The opening of the Scream Zone comes a year after the debut of Luna Park, which offers 19 family-friendly rides and opened on the former Astroland amusement site.

“Last summer was Coney Island’s biggest in nearly a half century, and this year—with the addition of the first new rollercoasters since the Cyclone opened in 1927—it’s going to be even bigger,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, in a press release.

The Soarin’ Eagle suspends riders horizontally as it sends them on a series of dives and inversions. The Steeplechase pays tribute to an iconic ride from Coney’s past as it launches riders around a track on horseback.

Two other rides complete the Scream Zone. The Sling Shot launches riders more than 150 feet into the air at 90 miles per hour. Meanwhile, the 100-foot-high Zenobio sweeps riders through the air at more than 60 miles per hour.

The city spent more than $6.6 million to support the opening of Luna Park and Scream Zone. Central Amusement International invested $12 million to open Scream Zone, bringing its total investment in the parks to $30 million.

The project, like other ideas to redevelop Coney Island, was not without its opponents. A handful of businesses that were evicted sued Central Amusement. As part of a settlement negotiated this winter, the companies, including Ruby’s Old Tyme Bar & Grill and Paul’s Daughter, will remain inside the new park for another year. The exception was Shoot the Freak, which was bulldozed. Its owner settled with Central Amusement for an undisclosed sum, a spokeswoman for the group of companies said.

The city has been pushing to redevelop Coney Island since creating the Coney Island Development Corp. in 2003. Wednesday’s official opening was attended by the mayor, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Councilman Domenic Recchia and other members of the Bloomberg administration.

The Scream Zone will open on weekends until Memorial Day when it will be operate daily.

Correction: Central Amusement International has invested $30 million in Luna Park and Scream Zone. That fact was misstated in an earlier version of this article, published April 20, 2011.

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