May 31, 2011 / News

Roll call! Coney Island getting its rickshaws back!

And to think, you’ve been walking on the Boardwalk all these years like a sucker!

Two Jersey Shore rickshaw operators are bringing the iconic beach-side rolling chairs back to the Coney Island Boardwalk, which hasn’t had the man-powered taxis in nearly 45 years.

The new “Ocean Rolling Chairs” are being marketed as a summer job opportunity, as budding Coney cabbies can lease them and then pocket the dough they charge for rides along the Boardwalk.

“I wanted to bring back a piece of Coney Island history,” said the Brooklyn-born John Taimanglo, who runs the Ocean Rolling Chairs company in Atlantic City — and claims he’s a relative of Coney Island legend Charles Feltman, who, as we all know, practically invented the hot dog.

The original Ocean Rolling Chair Company operated on the Boardwalk from 1923, the year the iconic walkway was built, until the mid-1960s, according to the Parks Department’s website.

Taimanglo and business partner Christine Palumbo’s new blue-and-white rickshaws are four-feet wide and have room for three passengers. Cabbies will fork over $75 to operate them during the day, and $100 to roll them and night, and will charge $1 per block or $25 for a half-hour Boardwalk trip. That’s 50 times more than the $1 per hour rolling chair rides cost decades ago. The fleet of 30 chairs will be available every weekend through the summer starting Saturday, as allowed by a Parks Department permit. Hundreds of people signed up to push the fleet when Palumbo and Taimanglo hit the Boarwdalk last weekend to advertise the opportunity to “enjoy everything Coney Island has to offer while making great money.”

“We may have to turn people away next weekend because so many people are interested,” Palumbo said.

City officials are enthusiastic about the return of the rollers.

“Rolling chairs are a unique part of Coney Island’s history,” said Coney Island Development Corporation spokesman Kyle Sklerov. “Their return to the boardwalk — along with the opening of Scream Zone this summer — will bring more visitors back to Coney Island and play an important role in the ongoing revitalization of this legendary amusement area.”

The city has only approved the chairs for 28 days this year, but Palumbo hopes to return yea after year.

“We’re here on a temporary basis so far, but who knows what next year will bring,” Palumbo said.


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