Luna Park to host 95th birthday celebration for Cyclone this weekend

04-10-2022 : Deno’s Wonder Wheel and Park, open for the 2022 season, in Brooklyn, NY on 04/10/2022. Photo by Erica Price.
No visit to the People’s Playground would be complete without a ride on the Cyclone.
Photo by Erica Price

Brooklyn’s iconic Cyclone rollercoaster is turning 95 this year, and Luna Park will celebrate in typical Coney Island fashion this Sunday by doling out free rides to the first 95 people in line.

“This year, we are celebrating bigger and better than ever before for its 95th anniversary of bringing thrills and joy to guests worldwide,” said Alessandro Zamperla, president and chief executive officer of Central Amusement International, and owner of Luna Park. “We are offering the first 95 riders of the Cyclone to ride for free as the first guests to help Luna Park in Coney Island celebrate an incredible milestone.’  

The Coney Island Cyclone made its debut in the neighborhood’s amusement district on June 26, 1927, and continues to be the world’s second-steepest wooden coaster. It is still beloved at Luna Park and has been landmarked by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. 

“Since its debut on June 26, 1927, the Coney Island Cyclone has been a core fixture of the Coney Island Amusement District and is one of Luna Park in Coney Island’s most cherished operating NYC landmark,” Zamperla said.  “It is currently the second-steepest wooden rollercoaster in the world with an adrenaline-charged plunge measuring 85 feet at an uncompromising descent angle of almost 60 degrees. The coaster is a timeless classic and after 95 years of operation, the Cyclone is still a fan favorite.” 

Zamperla said the Cyclone’s resiliency through the ages is emblematic of the people of Brooklyn — many of whom have countless memories of the timeless rollercoaster, no matter their age. 

“The Cyclone is resilient like the people of Brooklyn,” he said, “and people of all ages for generations have experienced memories at the iconic roller coaster.”

Politicians, including former Mayor Bill de Blasio, wave during the inaugural ride of the Cyclone on Opening Day 2021.File photo by Erica Price

The fun-through-the-ages characteristic of the Cyclone will carry through to its big birthday celebration, Zamperla said, which will feature fun for all ages. The coaster connoisseur also hopes this birthday will be even bigger and better than the People’s Playground’s last anniversary celebration for the Cyclone’s 90th year in 2017.

“We wanted to show all guests just how special and big this milestone is with circus-inspired entertainment including balloon art, face painting, caricature artists, stilt walkers and more,” Zamperla said.  “There really is something for everyone to enjoy no matter how old you are – which is something that makes Luna Park so special and unique.”

The June 26 celebration will kick off at 11 a.m. with remarks from the Zamperla family, followed by a ceremonial cutting of birthday cake — of which, slices will be shared with visitors — and a toast. The first 95 guests in line will get their free ride on the Cyclone at 11:20 a.m., and the circus entertainment will ensue until the party ends.

Luna Park’s own ice cream stand, Coney’s Cones, will also offer a special limited-edition gelato throughout the weekend named and flavored for the Coney Island Cyclone, which Zamperla said includes old-school flavors like amaretto and chocolate, but mixes them up with punchy flavors of caramelized almond and rum. 

“A combination of old school flavors, including amaretto and chocolate, pay homage to our old-school coaster while a caramelized almond and rum base packs a punch reminiscent of a ride on the Cyclone,” said Zamperla, who told Brooklyn Paper that he’s most excited to celebrate the anniversary in person after the pandemic slowed business to a crawl.

He expects to see guests from all around the city and the world this weekend. 

“We’re excited to celebrate with the entire Brooklyn community including longtime residents, returning park guests, and visitors from around the world and showcase the Cyclone as an iconic staple and must-ride attraction when visiting Luna Park,” Zamperla said.