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Coney Island gets an Italian makeover

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In a New York Times article last week, writer Elisabetta Povoledo details work by Italy's Zamperla Group, an amusement ride manufacturer, for the late May opening of Coney Island's latest attraction, Luna Park --  yes, named after the original Coney Island amusement park.

The article features a slideshow, "Coney Island's Revival," with shots of workers testing roller coasters and building new rides in addition to a shot of the original Luna Park.

In addition to manufacturing rides, Zamperla is the majority shareholder of Central Amusement International, a New Jersey group that signed an agreement with New York City in February to build and manage Coney Island's amusement park area, Povoledo reports. The agreement left the group with three months to build and open the park; crews are now working around the clock to complete the project.

But perhaps just as interesting is the Zamperla Group's story. According to Povoledo, the Zamperla family has been building amusement park attractions in Altavilla Vicentina since the early 1960s. "...Umberto Zamperla opened one of the first movie houses in Italy, then moved into carnival attractions. His [son] Antonio Zamperla, worked in traveling shows before deciding to settle in this Veneto town to start inventing and manufacturing rides."

Today, the company employs 185 employees in Italy, with an additional 270 around the world.

For more on the project, click here.