Ahead of its Saturday public opening, elected officials were on hand Friday to welcome Luna Park to Coney Island and take its rides for a spin. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.
The rides have been tested, the asphalt's been poured, and the countdown to the official opening of Luna Park in Coney Island is now underway.
The amusement park, which has been erected in about 100 days on the site of the old Astroland Amusement Park, opens to the public at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Public officials, including the mayor, were on hand Friday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tour of the three-acre park.
"This is not Disney World or Disneyland," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "This is Coney Island. It's very different. New Yorkers want something different. This is a place you can come by subway. You can drive. You can take a taxi. You can bicycle here. You can come for an hour or two from any part of the city."
"We don't have to invent our freakishness," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. "We don't have to import characters to Brooklyn. We've got the greatest assortment of meshuganahs right here."
"I'm standing on the site of a project that we started in 2000 and I'm just so happy; it is a dream come true," said City Councilman Dominic Recchia.
Seventeen of the 19 rides will be operating for Saturday's opening. The other two, the the air race and the water flume, will be running in the next two weeks.
Rides were imported from Italy and technicians were flown in from factories in Italy, China and the Philippines to assemble the rides.
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.
"Being here on Coney Island, for us, is an honor," said Alberto Zamperla of the Zamperla Group. "
Zamperla says that since February, the group has unloaded 1,800 trucks, delivered 29 rides, unloaded 40 containers, and put down 40,000 feet of wiring.
The park will be open through Memorial Day, then close for a few days next week for final touches.
Next year, Zamperla plans on hoping a Thrill Area, which will feature a rollercoaster.