Kathleen Horan, Reporter, WNYC News
Kathleen Horan is a staff reporter for New York Public Radio, covering the neighborhood beat. She also reports 'Reset', an ongoing series documenting police-community relations in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
Coney Island’s zip line ride was supposed to debut in the beginning of July. What’s been holding it up? Well, according to Patrick Ingram, owner of a Michigan-based zip line company, Category 5 Productions, it’s the city’s stringent requirements.
Even with more than ten years experience in the industry, Ingram said nothing prepared him to meet city regulations, especially compared to other places where he's installed the rides, like Alabama.
“They said do you have insurance and we said yes, we do… and they said have fun, don't kill anybody,” Ingram explained. That experience was the opposite of New York City, where he said he’s about $30, 000 over-budget so far, partly because he hired fourteen people to help him meet the requirements of agencies such as the Department Transportation and Buildings.
Ingram said one of the challenges he encountered here was when he submitted the engineer drawings of the proposed zip line. “When we went to other states, they said, ‘ok, it’s drawn by a licensed engineer, you’re good to go,’” Ingram recalled. But in the Big Apple, he said its standard practice for the Department of Buildings to require the drawing to be stamped, the engineer’s name drawn across it in red ink and a whole list of things very specific to NYC. “We just had to stay flexible to make sure they got exactly what they asked for,” Ingram said.
Neither agency responded to WNYC’s request for comment about any of the permitting process for zip lines.
But the city will be installing it’s own temporary zip line for the upcoming city Summer Streets program on that will take place on three Saturdays in Manhattan during August.
Now that Ingram has the green light, his 300-foot-long zip line ride is being built this week.
Ingram said the whole effort brought a certain tune to mind Frank Sinatra helped to make famous.
“That song ‘New York, New York’ kept going through my head every other day,” Ingram joked. “If you can make it here you can make it anywhere!"
The ride is expected to open this weekend on Stillwell Avenue, behind Nathan’s hot dogs.