Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

How to Make Coney Island "Year Round": Build an Ocean Dome

April 30th, 2007 · 5 Comments


So, here’s the “year-round” Coney Island solution, though it does look like it takes up a lot of real estate. It comes from Japan, from whence a lot of interesting land use, planning and architectural ideas originate. (Dubai is an excellent source as well.) This came to our attention in the context of someone circulating it as a joke vis a vis McCarren Pool, but we know a unique Coney Island concept when we see one. It’s part of the Phoenix SeaGaia Resort in Miyazaki.

Check out this description of the Ocean Dome and, then, tell us it doesn’t rock:

Perched upon a towel, stretched out on an immaculate white beach, I have turquoise sea in front of me and a cloudless sky overhead. Not a bee, sand fly or mosquito can be seen. The weather is perfect. It’s warm enough for swimming in the inviting sea, but there is no danger of sunburn. A cold drink lays close at hand, along with a thick, juicy novel.

Suddenly, a strange haze drifts into view. Smoke envelops the top of a nearby mountain, which begins spitting out sparks of fire. Eruptions can be most annoying, but not here, not in paradise. As the volcano stirs to life, I don’t even bother. Checking my watch, I see it’s only the half-hour eruption. Returning to my book, I savor a smile. There is still another 30 minutes before the mountain blows its top.

Paradise proceeds with clockwork precision inside Ocean Dome, Japan’s unique, sometimes surrealistic, but utterly updated version of the Garden of Eden. Inside a huge dome that could house six football pitches, the world’s largest artificial sea washes over the biggest indoor beach, fringed with fake palm trees and other eye-popping innovations that have given a holiday make-over to old Mother Nature.

This evocative 21st Century resort shows that even paradise has room for improvement. In Ocean Dome, once every hour, on the hour, the surf is always up. Every afternoon is a carnival. Mechanized parrots squawk from branches of the dome’s ingenious rain forest, which remain lush and tropical without rainfall or humidity. Best of all, in Ocean Dome, you can lull for hours on crushed marble pebbles without a worry about beach vendors, bugs or sun burns.

Instead, perfectly-timed waves whip equally well-groomed surfers along in 28-degree, chlorinated, salt-free water to the sanitized shore where they drip-dry in Ocean Dome’s perfect climate, which remains a delightful 30 degrees, day and night, 365.25 days each year.

Note to Thor Equities: This one’s a winner. It could be the Bellaggio of Water Parks.



Related Post:
Lord Foster’s Kazakhstan Plan Would Make Coney Year-Round Attraction
Sitt Hires a Coney Island Design Consultant

Tags: coney island · Urban Planning

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Anonymous // Apr 30, 2007 at 6:27 am

    This is awesome…except why build a fake beach right in front of a real beach? And how would Thor build this with two landmarks on the property that would be required, as well as land that doesn’t belong to them? A lovely pipe dream, but nothing more.

  • 2 Lara Wechsler // Apr 30, 2007 at 8:38 am

    That is so hot I would love it and use it all year round. It would also weird me out a bit too, but hey I am from Miami and the water at the beaches here are too cold for me all year round and I miss swimming, so I would love it!

  • 3 Jeanne // Apr 30, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    This is so weird… my husband and I were tossing ideas around in the car the other day about what kinds of attractions might make CI more appealing as a year-round destination. I’ve always thought the indoor water park thing was kind of stupid, but the indoor beach thing seems kind of neat (except for the fake beach in front of a real beach thing). My husband suggested an indoor ski slope, but I think that’s even more bizarre… although bizarre fits right in at Coney, so maybe Sitt should give it a whirl, eh?

  • 4 Anonymous // Apr 30, 2007 at 9:29 pm

    Jeanne, there actually is an indoor ski slope in dubai. Coincidentally, it was designed by Thinkwell – the same guys Thor hired to design the new Coney Park. I don’t think their property is big enough to build that here though…or the indoor beach. But indoor water parks have proven wildly popular elsewhere in the country, like in the Pocanos.

  • 5 miss June // Apr 10, 2008 at 11:15 am

    …why build a fake beach right in front of a real beach? Just for the money…