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‘Zipper’ Film Chronicles the Battle Over Coney Island

Via Epoch Times

“Zipper” airs on WNET/13 in New York on Monday, April 28, at 10 p.m. The film is also available on Amazon Instant and is soon to be released on Google Play.

Zipper Trailer from Amy Nicholson on Vimeo.

NEW YORK—Coney Island is one of America’s most iconic amusement parks. But Coney Island has suffered from neglect over the years. Neglect from the city, from developers, and from those who ravaged the park in the 1980s and ’90s when the crime rate in the city was at an all-time high.

During the Bloomberg era (2002–2014), the land in Coney Island became attractive to developers, who saw it as a golden ticket to a Six-Flags-like amusement park reconstruction and condos surrounding it. But the Bloomberg administration didn’t want to let go of the precious opportunity of making a fortune in tax dollars and land-use fees, and so began the battle for rezoning parts of Coney Island as residential areas.

It was at this time that filmmaker Amy Nicholson stumbled on an article about Eddie Miranda, the proud owner of the famed Zipper ride at Coney Island’s amusement park.

Straight-talking Brooklynite Miranda was in the process of mourning the loss of the park space that was sectioned off for redevelopment, and the ending of his lease on the park’s land.

The Zipper looks like an army tank’s caterpillar tracks with attached cabins that hold two people at a time. It sent people screaming and squealing as their change and metro cards went flying before it shut down in 2007 after Miranda lost his lease.

Nicholson, who loved riding the Zipper in Baltimore where she grew up, decided to tell the story of the ride in Coney Island through a short film, which she started in 2006. But after an interview with Domenic Recchia, who was then council member of Coney Island’s District 47, she realized that Coney Island, not only the ride, faced major changes.

“It was just like a typical documentarian—once you get a hold of something, you just keep following it,” Nicholson said in an April 15 phone interview.

“Zipper: Coney Island’s Last Wild Ride” is the result of six years of research, pursuing officials, interviewing stakeholders, and talking to the Zipper crew—the people who lived and worked around the park their entire lives.

Choosing to direct and fund the project herself while working a full-time job, Nicholson set out to expose the greed and the politics encircling the coveted land of Coney Island’s amusement park.

Continue reading ‘Zipper’ Film Chronicles the Battle Over Coney Island [Epoch Times]

Two Must-See Documentaries

There are two new documentaries screening this week that address the way large corporations are reshaping our cities.

Tonight at the Celeste Bartos Theater at MoMA there will be a screening of the new Coney Island documentary, Zipper: Coney Island’s Last Wild Ride.

“Zipper is a story about greed, politics and the land grab of the century, ZIPPER chronicles the battle over an American cultural icon. Small-time ride operator, Eddie Miranda, proudly operates a carnival contraption called the Zipper in the heart of Coney Island’s gritty amusement district. When his rented lot is snatched up by a real estate mogul, Eddie and his ride become casualties of a power struggle between the developer and the City of New York over the future of the world-famous destination. Be it an affront to history or simply the path of progress, the spirit of Coney Island is at stake. In an increasingly corporate landscape, where authenticity is often sacrificed for economic growth, the Zipper may be just the beginning of what is lost.”

Zipper Trailer from Amy Nicholson on Vimeo.

For Zipper time and ticket information visit Save Coney Island Presents: Siren Screen Series 4.

The other documentary is The Domino Effect screening April 29th, 6PM, at HDC (Historic Districts Council) 232 East 11th Street.

“The Domino Effect is a feature length documentary film that explores the process of real estate development in New York City and digs deep to uncover the complex networks of banks, developers, politicians, and non-profit organization that shape our cities.”

For more information about this screening and future dates visit The Domino Effect website.