The former "Zipper" ride in Coney Island is the subject of a new documentary. Paul Martinka
By RICH CALDER
November 15, 2012
It’s been five years since the spinning, soaring “Zipper” ride in Coney Island was taken apart and shipped overseas after being a casualty of a game of chicken between the city and a developer over the seaside amusement district's future.
But now the once-popular ride is back for all Coney Island lovers to see – at least on the Big Screen. It’s the focus of a well-done, new documentary by director Amy Nicholson.
The 77-minute film “Zipper,” which premiered Saturday to a sold-out audience at SVA Theater in Manhattan, uses the popular carnival ride and its longtime operator Eddie Miranda as a backdrop to a much bigger story going on at the time: the battle between the Bloomberg administration and developer Joe Sitt over how the amusement district should be revived.
For those who don’t recall, Sitt and the mayor had conflicting visions for Coney Island. Sitt owned most of the prime boardwalk real estate, but he couldn’t go forward with his plan to bring a Vegas-glitz entertainment complex there without city blessing.
Meanwhile, Zipper and other popular seaside attractions became casualties of war after Sitt opted not to renew various leases. That move, many insiders say, was done to help pressure the city into dealing with Sitt to prevent the beachfront from resembling a ghost town.
The movie is the latest documentary to look at this epic seaside fight, following the lead of director JL Aronson’s ambitious 2010 documentary, “Last Summer at Coney Island.”
While both tell similar stories, Aronson’s film uses the closing of fabled Astroland Park in 2008 as its backdrop story.
Both films are worthy watches in their own right.