Friday, July 07, 2006

Coney Parachute Jump to Light Up the Brooklyn Night

Parachute Jump from Beneath

When the switch is thrown and the Parachute Jump--Brooklyn's Eiffel Tower, if you will--lights up tonight, it will mark another chapter in the long and storied life of a structure that has been through good times and bad. The Parachute Jump was built for the 1939-40 World's Fair in Flushing Meadows and the Fair's guidebook described it like this:
Eleven gaily-colored parachutes operated from the top of a 250-foot tower, enable visitors to experience all the thrills of "bailing out" without the hazard or discomfort. Each parachute has a double seat suspended from it. When two passengers have taken their places beneath the 'chute, a cable pulls it to the summit of the tower. An automatic release starts the drop, and the passengers float gently to the ground. Vertical guide wires prevent swaying, a metal ring keeps the 'chute open at all times, and shock-absorbers eliminate the impact of the landing. One of the most spectacular features of the Amusement Area, this is also a type of parachute jump similar to that which the armies of the world use in early stages of training for actual parachute jumping.
At the end of the Fair, the Jump was purchased by the Tilyou family and moved to Coney Island. It opened in 1941 as part of Steeplechase Park (which was torn down by Donald Trump's father, who is said to have symbolically begun the 1964 demolition by throwing a rock through the glass of the structure that was widely considered one of the world's most beautiful examples of Beaux-arts architecture).

The Parachute Jump ride actually ran until 1968 and, then, dodged multiple demolition bullets. In the end, it survived long enough to be protected by preservationists because it would have cost too much to tear down. It was landmarked in 1977, de-landmarked the same year and re-landmarked in 1989. In 2003, it was taken apart and restored. Last fall, a London-based architects Kevin Carmody, Andrew Groarke, Chris Hardie and Lewis Kinneir won a competition to create a "Parachute Pavilion" next to the iconic tower--a 7,800-square-foot, glass-enclosed structure with an exhibition space, a restaurant, a bar, and a souvenir shop.

The new lighting scheme designed by Leni Schwendinger involves 17 lamps, 150 lighting fixtures and 450 LEDs. There are six different lighting arrangements for seasonal changes, holidays and the lunar cycle. The light show will run from dusk until midnight from May through October and from dusk through 11 PM the rest of the year. Tonight, all of the lighting arrangements will be used. The weekly Friday night beach fireworks show follows the lighting, which is scheduled for 9 PM.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, after all this, the Coney Island Parachute Jump is not lit up in the evening. What a disappointment for the public to visit Coney Island and not being able to see the jump lit up.

Could you let me know when the sequential lighting will take place in the evening? No one seems to know at all. Obviously, the "Brooklyn Night" is not lit up!!!!!

Despite some of the negative comments, the lighting effect of this newly refurbished and thrilling icon was really something to see in the evening hours while on the famous Coney Island Boardwalk. Not to mention the excitement of the possibility of this amazing "PARACHUTE JUMP" returned to operation.

Come on now, the public is waiting.
What is going on?????

1:32 PM  

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