Documentary film covers the closure of Coney Island's Astroland and the battle for developing the area

Posted Thursday, November 15, 2012 9:48 AM | Contributed by VitaminsAndGravy

The once-popular Zipper 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.

Read more from The New York Post.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013 2:25 AM

Just finished watching this and it's really good. I'm not a nostalgia kind of guy, but I found myself totally rooting for the folks who didn't want change. You guys who like that sort of thing will love this.

Plus, there's like a five second clip of Jeff from one of the Podcasts talking about how nothing will ever get developed there. So that's a plus, I guess.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 2:40 AM

Oh yeah, I remember seeing the website for this sometime last year, I think. Had no real content, just a teaser page. Looked like it was going to be a decent production.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 9:08 AM

Where did you watch it, Gonch? I'm admittedly a documentary junkie. I love stuff like this.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 12:58 PM

I bought a copy after seeing clips online.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 2:42 PM

I put it in my Netflix queue last night.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 3:37 PM

I don't see it on Amazon anywhere. That's weird.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 4:16 PM

It's not on Netflix instant, either. Must only be available on DVD.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 4:28 PM

No idea about streaming. Seems like it's a small, homegrown project. Probably is just available on DVD.

Here's the trailer if anyone is interested. Actually, I think the Podcast clip is used in the trailer - at 2:06. That's you, right Jeff?

And just to be clear, this movie is about land use, zoning and the politics of city management under the umbrella of (and specific to) the Coney Island situation. The human factor is added courtesy of the folks running the Zipper and the fight of locals to keep Coney unique.

If you're looking for an extensive history of Coney or a nostaligia trip with old footage on top of Streisand singing "memories" - you might be a little disappointed.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 7:17 PM

Yep, that is me. I vaguely remember them asking permission, but never followed up after giving it.

I love docs like this. It's documentary gold when you get people from two sides of an issue with zero empathy for the other side.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 7:49 PM

Netflix lists availability as "unknown."

Thursday, February 28, 2013 8:38 AM

As far as I know - Zipper is only available on DVD - you can order it here:

They also have a Facebook page:

The film really focuses on The Zipper that was at Coney Island that left at the end of the 2009 season. If you're fan of Chance Zippers there is some great coverage of the ride's history including interviews with executives from Chance. Amy Nicholson (a friend) really went the extra distance to tell the ride's history.

If you are really looking for a definitive film on the redevelopment of Coney Island - I strongly recommend "Last Summer in Coney Island" by JL Aronson (also a friend) - and I strongly recommend the DVD version which has great bonus pieces about the development after Astroland closed (which the Zipper does not). A very heavily edited version aired on many PBS stations but really leaves out a lot of the film that I feel is crucial to understanding what happened.


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