DOB inspectors check over rides at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park ahead of summer season

DOB inspectors at Deno's Wonder Wheel in Coney Island
DOB inspectors are checking over rides at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park ahead of its grand opening on March 24.
File photo by Arthur de Gaeta

A team of Department of Buildings inspectors have headed down to Coney Island to inspect rides and make sure everything is up to snuff at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park before its opening day on March 24. 

Coney Island, with its beaches, amusement parks, aquarium, and more, is preparing for another busy summer season. But before the parks can open, DOB inspectors must check every ride and give them a run-through to ensure safety for all park-goers.

denos wonder wheel
Inspectors will spend the next few weeks ensuring the rides are safe and ready to go. File photo by Erica Price

The ride checkers will spend the next few weeks raking over motors, brakes, seat belts, pins and every minuscule part that makes up an amusement park ride. If they notice any potential problems, they’ll alert the park’s owners — Dennis and Steve Vourderis, sons of former owner Denos. D. Vourderis.

Craig Gualtieri, assistant chief inspector of DOB’s Elevator Unit, said even with multiple hands on deck, a single ride can take hours or even days to inspect.

“The more inspectors’ eyes, the better,” he said. “I could miss something and someone else could pick it up. We try our best to help one another out and get everything done as quickly as possible but you can’t put a time frame on safety.”

Amusement park rides are technically considered vertical transportation devices, so it’s up to DOB’s Elevator Units to check them annually. Inspectors and park employees at Deno’s will spend every day — rain, sleet or cold — at the park so it can be ready in time for its annual Blessing of the Rides.

deno's inspection
Every seat belt, engine, and piece of machinery is carefully checked over.File photo by Arthur de Gaeta

“Summers on the boardwalk in Coney Island is a quintessential experience in New York City and when visitors are hitting Deno’s Wonder Wheel or Luna Park, we want them to have peace of mind knowing that DOB’s Elevator Unit is diligently inspecting rides beforehand, making sure that they continue to have an excellent operational safety record,” said DOB commissioner Jimmy Oddo, in a statement. “We want people to know that our inspectors take their safety seriously, and we’re looking forward to a fun and secure summer at Coney Island.”

Once cleared for operation, inspectors give each ride a green card. Throughout the season, they pop in and out of the park to make sure the rides still look good. They’ll conduct between 1,000 to 5,000 safety and code compliance spot checks each year.

Wonder- no longer! DOB is prepping each ride for a another season of summer fun.
Deno’s will officially open for the season on March 24. File photo by Erica Price

“We’re not clearing anything unless we know it’s safe,” Gualtieri told Brooklyn Paper. “I’m not letting kids on these rides unless I know that it’s safe.”

Park employees can be spotted repainting pieces, updating posters, and reconstructing refurbished rides for the next couple of weeks — all to welcome Brooklynites back to the historic amusement destination for another season. 

“We need to be at 110% ready to run every day,” Dennis Vourderis told Brooklyn Paper. “Blessing of the Rides, it’s a really heartfelt moment. It’s a special day.”