Coney Island businesses recovering from Hurricane Sandy say while there's still work to be done, this weekend's amusement park opening is on track and are ready to welcome crowds back. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.
The Cyclone is ready. So is the Wonder Wheel. And Luna Park is set to welcome thrill seekers. The attractions of Coney Island are back almost five months after the seaside area was beaten down by Hurricane Sandy. But it wasn't easy.
"Everything that was submerged had to come out, so all the wires in the entire park underground had to come out and be replaced and all of the electrical cabinets for the rides have been replaced," said Luna Park President Valerio Ferrari.
But not everything will be back to normal in Coney. The original Nathan's is still being repaired, though the boardwalk location is open. The boardwalk shops fared better than other businesses just blocks away that were inundated by water from the nearby creek. Lola Star's boardwalk shop was spared, but her boutique at the Subway Station at Surf and Stilllwell was wrecked.
"I was using it as storage for a lot of my inventory because it was the winter, it was the off season, so I lost a lot of stuff. But, it's all good and positive because we are reinventing the store and it's going to be better than ever," Star said.
Charles Denson at the Coney Island History Project has a similar attitude. The exhibit space under Wonder Wheel Park was also damaged by flooding, but he is hoping to be open on Sunday and beyond.
"We will be having an exhibit on the storm since we experienced it and we're encouraging people to come in, we do oral history here, so we'd like people to come in and tell their stories and give their experiences of the storm and how its affected them and how they see the future of Coney Island," Denson said.
While there is still work to be done in Coney Island the message, merchants say they're back.
"It's a big job, everyone's rebuilding their businesses. But the summer's going to be great, and by Memorial Weekend everything's going to be up and running and just fantastic. Everyone should come out and check it out," Star said.
Star says what she has learned from the experience is the resilient spirit of Coney Island is strong and can overcome anything.