Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Zipper: Coney Island's Last Wild Ride

Amy Nicholson's elegiac documentary "Zipper: Coney Island's Last Wild Ride" offers a basic primer on the history of this unique (down to its zoning) panel in the crazy quilt of New York City life.

As much a mind space as a geographical area, Coney Island is special because it embraces the eccentric - a place where, as one interviewee says, a family can spend the day at the beach without breaking the budget. Nicholson's reportage on the 21st-century boardroom and backroom machinations that have held Coney Island hostage and left it a shadow of its former self is less clear and cogent than it should be, given the muckraking tone she adopts. Still, the lasting memory of the film is of the screams of the kids (and kids at heart) aboard the titular ride, a sort of trifold tilt-a-whirl that, in the end, gets packed up and shipped off to Honduras, there to separate a new generation of niƱos from their almuerzos.

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