Memorial Day might feel far away right now, but soon enough, Coney Island rides and concession stands will be open for business, and this weekend, officials are trying to staff those summer jobs with a job screening event. NY1's Bree Driscoll filed the following report.
Job seekers lined up early outside Abraham Lincoln High School Saturday morning. They're hoping to secure one of hundreds of summer openings as amusement ride operators and concession stand workers on Coney Island.
"I want to be a ride operator, 'cause I had friends who were ride operators, and basically, I saw that they had a lot of fun," said one applicant. "I love the customer service. I love talking to people, helping kids, helping adults."
Saturday was one of four screenings held by the Alliance for Coney Island to help find employees for places like Luna Park, Deno's Wonder Wheel Park and Nathan's.
"Coney Island's a really specially place in that it is an amusement and entertainment destination right in a shadow of a neighborhood of some 50,000 residents," said Nate Bliss, interim executive director of the Alliance for Coney Island. "To be able to be able to create those links between the neighborhood and the amusements is really special."
Organizers said that link is especially important this year as the neighborhood rebuilds from.
"The residential area in Coney Island, primarily, is still recovering from the impacts of Hurricane Sandy, so I think these opportunities are more significant then ever," said Johanna Zaki, director of operations of the Alliance for Coney Island.
Organizers said events like Saturday's job fair are a win win. Employers get a larger pool of applicants, and job seekers can apply for many positions at once.
Applicants said there is nothing like working in Coney Island. Some of them come back year after year.
"Working both sides of the boardwalk, so to say, is a great experience," said one applicant. "I've been a customer and a ride operator, a customer and a cashier, a customer and you name it."
"I'm living here with friends," said another. "I have an internship at Luna Park. I'm really trying to live in the area so I can keep that internship, 'cause I think it is really worth it. I love this neighborhood. Came to Coney Island in 2005 when I was 15. Fell in love with it."
Organizers said they will be holding another job screening session in April. For that, you need to register online ahead of time at coneyislandjobs2013.com.