With the grand opening of Coney Island's new Luna Park coming on Saturday, the amusement rides are getting tested and developers have given NY1 exclusive time-lapse footage of the park's construction. Borough reporter Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.
The new Luna Park rapidly rose on the site of the old Astroland in 100 days. Exclusive time-lapse video from the Coney Island Development Corporation captures the frenzied pace of construction of the first amusement park built in the city in more than four decades.
Rides were imported from Italy and technicians were flown in from factories in Italy, China and the Philippines to assemble the rides.
"We're going to be ready to be open to the public on Saturday, May 29. If we had a little more time it would be nice, but you can't change Memorial Day weekend. So, we've got to do what we've got to do to get it done," said Luna Park developer Valerio Ferrari.
Crews have been working around the clock for weeks to get 19 new rides up and running, including the worldwide debut of Air Race, right, which simulates the force of a spinning jet fighter.
The Italian company Zamperla, which is the largest ride manufacturer in the world, is investing tens of millions of dollars in Luna Park here on Coney Island. Zamperla chose the name "Luna Park" from the famed park from Coney Island's heyday long ago.
"My company, my family has been working in this field for more than 100 years. So for us to start to work in Coney Island where the land that started Luna Park, it's going back to history and we want to be part of it," said Alberto Zamperla of the Zamperla Group.
Back in February, the city officially announced it was choosing Zamperla for the newly-created amusement district, hoping to revamp Coney Island into a year-round destination.
"Coney Island is coming back, big time," said Bloomberg at the time.
Zamperla plans to use Luna Park as its showcase, bringing new rides to New Yorkers and visitors from around the globe.
"We're going to bring new thrills, bring new action that's going to change everything around here," said Antonio Zamperla of the Zamperla Group.
An official ribbon-cutting is set for Friday morning. Luna Park opens to the public Saturday at 11 a.m. and stay open through Memorial Day Monday.
Then for several days next week, the park will close to finish up some of the beautification projects that it did not have time to complete, like the concession kiosks and upgraded fencing.