Businesses in Coney Island are preparing for the opening of two new rides and new businesses along the boardwalk, set to be ready for Memorial Day weekend. Borough reporter Jeanine Ramirez filed this report.
Coney Island's newest amusement area is on pace for Memorial Day weekend opening.
The expansion of Scream Zone on Stillwell Avenue will feature two new rides. A skycoaster launches riders 100 feet in the air to swing on their stomachs over the boardwalk like a pendulum. The Coney Island Raceway will be a go-kart course.
"Every year we have to do something new in order to bring more people to Coney Island," said Valerio Ferrari, the president of Zamperla USA.
Zamperla is the largest manufacturer of amusement rides in the world. It built and opened Coney Island's Luna Park and Scream Zone over the past two years. The company says it's not done yet.
"Over the next few years, we'll keep investing in the amusement attraction introducing new rides, exchanging some of them for brand new attractions you've never seen in the world," Ferrari said.
The city has also tapped the company to be the boardwalk's landlord.
Businesses here are also busy trying to finish up their improvements for the holiday weekend. Some are boardwalk staples like Ruby's which was offered a long-term lease to stay with the condition it would get a makeover. Others are first time boardwalk spots like the Brooklyn Beach Shop.
"It's surreal," said Maya Haddad, the owner of the Brooklyn Beach Shop. "I was standing inside before with the new doors open and sometimes I just stop and look outside. It's amazing."
Although new to the boardwalk, the family-owned store has been selling merchandise in Coney Island for more than a decade.
"We're used to the neighborhood," Haddad said. "We know what people are asking for. We've been listening. We've been taking note. And we definitely stepped it up."
Attendance at Coney Island over the past couple of years has stepped up, too, with the most visitors in decades.
Scream Zone's newest addition opens to the public Saturday morning at 11 a.m.