Central Amusements poised to light up Parachute Jump, sources say

Coney Island’s Parachute Jump went dark last summer — and now Borough President Markowitz wants to spend another $2 million to relight the defunct amusement ride, as seen here.
File photo by Tom Callan

The company that brought Luna Park and the Scream Zone to Coney Island is close to penning a deal that will allow it to fulfull a longtime dream of Borough President Markowitz’s — stringing up the Parachute Jump with millions of lights so it could be seen from Mars, insiders say.

The city’s Economic Development Corporation, which will oversee the Parachute Jump’s bling-over that Markowitz has invested $2 million in taxpayer dollars towards, would not confirm that Central Amusements has won the bid to light up the landmarked spire, but Coney Island civic leaders say the company has been parading around a video of what the iconic ride would look like if they were given the contract.

“It looked like you really could see it from space,” said Mermaid Parade founder Dick Zigun, who said he viewed the video where the ride is re-illuminated complete with dancing, LED lights synchronized with the brilliant beams of the Scream Zone. “I was completely blown away by it.”

An insider at Central Amusements confirmed that a deal for the Parachute Jump is close to being struck, although no contracts have been finalized.

“We will be doing the lighting,” he said.

New York City Economic Development Corporation members said they received a handful of bids from companies willing to take on the lighting project, but would not disclose any names.

“We received multiple bids, as in more than two, for this one,” said city Economic Development Corporation spokesman Benjamin Branham.

Markowitz called for the ride to be returned to its glimmering glory in his February State of the Borough address, vowing an inter-galactic shimmer-fest would be underway before he leaves office next year.

“We’ll relight the Parachute Jump with enough bling so it can be seen from outer space,” he said.

Markowitz’s office declined to comment on Central Amusements’ possible involvement in the project.

The Parachute Jump debuted at the 1939 World’s Fair, and then relocated to Steeplechase Park two years later. At its heyday, jumpers would drift to the ground strapped to parachutes held open with metal rings and guided by wires.

In 2006, the city hired designer Leri Schwendinger to install a $1.4 million lighting system, powered by 17 lamps and 150 lighting fixtures, that kept the ride illuminated on summer nights, before his creation was eventually extinguished.

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