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Luna Park Closed Early After Astrotower Seen Swaying

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TWC News: Luna Park Closed Early After Astrotower Seen Swaying
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On the day before the July 4th holiday, Coney Island's Luna Park will be shut down until at least noon so engineers can make sure the old Astrotower is stable.
As NY1's Michael Herzenberg reports, the amusement park was closed when the tower was seen shaking in the wind.

The Astrotower could be seen swaying back and forth Tuesday. The movement was enough to shut down Luna Park for the night.

"I was worried when it started shaking, but then, once it stopped, I was relieved," said one witness. "But then that's when they started evacuating."

First responders evacuated the amusement park at about 5 p.m. after someone called authorities.

"I did not know what was going on, and I was probably the first one to notice it was swaying a lot," said one witness.

Park regulars know that the 275 foot structure sways. In fact, it's supposed to move in the wind somewhat.

"I wonder what it is that was different about it today than any other day, 'cause it tends to sway," said one witness.

"I was really shocked because it's been here for so long," said another. "It seems almost like a landmark to me."

The Astrotower was built in 1964 as part of the old Astroland amusement park. It provided 360-degree views of Brooklyn and the Atlantic Ocean.

It hasn't been in operation since 2008. Luna Park took over in 2010.

"We have it inspected every year, so when it was inspected for us, what we had done is taken the gondola off of the Astrotower," said Nicole Purnal, marketing manager of Luna Park. "So for us, its safety, its being in one piece, not an operational ride, is what keeps the park operating."

The Department of Buildings inspected it Tuesday, even bringing in a second engineer to crunch the numbers to see if it's safe.

"We need time to do further evaluations of the tower to make sure the structural stability is OK," said Tim Hogan of the Department of Buildings. "We need to do a visual inspection of the tower in the daylight from the inside and the outside, and that'll take us in the late morning to have that completed."

Luna Park issued a statement that said, in part, that it takes safety very seriously and is working with the city to ensure every precaution is taken.

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