Coney Island's Luna Park officially opened for the season Sunday, featuring a new 360-degree spin ride and classic favorites like the 86-year-old Cyclone rollercoaster. NY1's Polly Kreisman filed the following report.
Kids ran for Deno's Wonder Wheel amusement park hoping to be one of dozens to enjoy the rides free of charge as Coney Island officially opened for the season. It was an opening made sweeter by a winter that never seemed to end.
The ceremonial crack of an egg cream by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams got the 87-year-old Cyclone rolling. The coaster and many of the boardwalk's other rides are operated by Luna Park President & CEO Alberto Zamperla whose favorite ride is the Soaring Eagle.
"Because you are feeling like you're flying take you upside down and you get the feeling like you are flying that is a fantastic emotion," Zamperla said.
Another emotion on display was happiness.
"It's the happiest place on earth for me. Really is and it's great to see so many people here all coming together and having fun," said one Coney Island visitor.
While entertaining visitors big and small, The Peoples Playground as many old timers call it, is also seen as an important link to Sandy recovery efforts in Coney Island, providing jobs and revenue.
The rides and attractions are part of the fabric of the city according to another VIP, Dennis Vourderis, whose dad was Deno, as in Deno's Wonder Wheel.
"It's not its height it's not its weight it's the character of the Wonder Wheel. It's the swinging cars that rotate back and forth as the wheel turns the cars will swing out over the street and back in over the center of the wheel. Nothing like it in the world," Vourderis said.
The park is open weekends through Memorial Day and seven days a week all summer.