First ride! Coney’s amusements are open for business

A pol-ific crowd: Pols including Sen. Chuck Schumer, Councilman Mark Treyger, Assemblywoman Pamela Harris, and Borough President Adams were on hand.
Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

Coney’s rides finally got their day in the sun.

Hundreds of thrill-seekers took the season’s first goes-around on the Cyclone and Wonder Wheel on March 26 after Old Man Winter spoiled opening ceremonies last week when officials postponed the day for a blizzard that never was. One family made the pilgrimage four hours from upstate to catch the opening ceremony, and it was worth every mile, the mom said.

“We come down every year. I grew up in Sheepshead Bay and always went, so we keep it going,” said Lisa Rodriguez, who brought her 7-year-old daughter Bryanna. “She’s too young for the Cyclone, but she hit just about everything that she could ride. She loved the Clown Coaster.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D–Park Slope), Assemblywoman Pamela Harris (D–Coney Island), and Borough President Adams cracked the ceremonial egg cream on the Cyclone before the first 100 thrill-seekers got a free ride on the newly repainted and renovated icon.

The Wonder Wheel’s blessings was dedicated to Debbie Santiago, the founding pastor of the Salt and Sea Mission who died earlier this year. Santiago blessed the rides for 30 years before going to that big amusement park in the sky. The first 96 people — and 300 kids from the Salt and Sea Mission — took free spins on the Ferris wheel.

Not all the egg creams were sacrificed to imbue the Cyclone and Wonder Wheel with good luck — Canarsie fizz barons the Brooklyn Seltzer Boys handed out free egg creams to those first folks who showed up for the event.

Dancers and musicians from Crown Heights’ Brooklyn United Marching Band provided tunes with a repertoire that included classic soul hits from acts such as the Temptations and newer songs like Drake’s “Hotline Bling.”

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at dlynch@cnglocal.com.

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