The Parachute Ride goes black — wasting the city’s spruce-up effort

Lights out for parachute jump
The Brooklyn Papers file / Tom Callan

Call it The Dark Tower of Brooklyn.

The city has not been maintaining the $1.45-million lighting scheme it installed on Coney Island’s historic parachute jump, as the diodes and bulbs have been on the fritz for more than a week.

The Brooklyn Paper visited “Brooklyn’s Eiffel Tower” on June 22 and June 28 and found the unlit structure looking like a dilapidated phallic symbol.

Parks Department spokeswoman Meghan Lalor said that officials heard about the busted lights last week, but would not specify when the Parachute Jump will gleam above the Boardwalk once more.

“It’s a real shame,” said Rob Burstein, a Coney activist who also noticed the dark tower about a week ago. “This is supposed the beacon of Coney Island. The city should make sure the lights work after investing so much money in them.”

The defunct — but landmarked! — amusement ride was outfitted with the pricey lighting scheme in 2006, complete with 17 lamps and 150 lighting fixtures featuring 450 light-emitting diodes.

Designer Leni Schwendinger programmed the lights to run through six color schemes that span the spectrum from red-orange to green to blue, according to the seasons and holidays. During the summer, the Parachute Jump is supposed to illuminate every night, according to the Coney Island Economic Development Corporation.

But the 2006 installation wasn’t blinged-out enough for Borough President Markowitz, who convinced the mayor to toss in another $2 million for a “Phase II” illumination project. Three years later, the design for that parachute pimping project has not been finalized, according to the Coney Island Economic Development Corporation. Officials would not comment on the hold-up, but insisted that the project is still in the works.

Schwendinger, who was not pleased that the Beep wants to revamp her work, is annoyed that her lights aren’t shining bright every night.

“It’s really disturbing,” Schwendinger said.

The 262-foot-tall Parachute Jump was built for the 1939 World’s Fair, and relocated to Coney Island in 1941. For 40 cents, visitors would plummet for 15 seconds from the top of the jump to the ground below.

It closed in 1965 and was declared a city landmark in 1988.