Back in action: Luna Park reopens in Coney Island, kicking off amusement season

Amos Wengler, right, sings for fellow Coney Island enthusiasts in the eye of the Cyclone during the formal reopening of Luna Park on Saturday, April 2, 2022.
Photo by Caroline Ourso

Luna Park is back!

Coney Island’s iconic amusement park reopened Saturday, April 2, marking the start of spring — and another exciting season for the People’s Playground.

Festivities began with a ceremonial christening of the Cyclone with an egg cream. Afterwards, 95 lucky guests got to skip the $10 charge and ride for free, in honor of the 95th anniversary of the iconic wooden rollercoaster’s 1927 grand opening.

“Our entire team is filled with gratitude and enthusiasm as we open our doors for the 2022 Season,” said Alessandro Zamperla, CEO of Central Amusement International which operates Luna Park, in a statement. “It is incredibly exciting to finally have Luna Park in Coney Island filled with guests and joy after a very long winter.”

Luna Park enthusiasts wait in line for the reopening.Photo by Caroline Ourso

The historic Riegelmann Boardwalk was buzzing Saturday — one of the nicer weathered days in recent weeks — as revelers welcomed Luna Park back to business at a more crucial time than ever for the district, which faced grim prospects of survival and suffered immense pandemic-related losses over the last two years.

“Nothing says ‘warmer weather’ and ‘summer’ like Coney Island and all of the family attractions it has to offer, and thanks to our great partners, New Yorkers will be able to enjoy these activities earlier this season,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “From an amusement park to the aquarium, great food, and the beach, Coney Island is a summer staple for all New Yorkers. As we continue to move past the restrictions of the past two years, it’s time to enjoy the great culture, food, and past times our great city has to offer.”

Coney Island business leaders and elected officials pose for a photo ahead of Luna Park’s official reopening.Photo by Caroline Ourso

“Glad to have participated in the festivities today at the opening ceremony for Luna Park Coney Island,” Coney Island Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus said on social media following the festivities. “After some very difficult months behind us, it sometimes felt like this day would never come.”

Keeping with tradition of honoring local charities on opening day, Luna Park hosted children from three local organizations — Children of Promise, the Coney Island Sharks, and Operation H.O.O.D. — to highlight their contributions to the community. All three groups got a cut of the park’s opening day proceeds.

Luna Park, named after a poignant piece of Coney Island’s history, boasts over 40 games, rides and roller coasters for families of all ages to enjoy.

Locals get in on the fun while eagerly awaiting the reopening of Luna Park.Photo by Caroline Ourso
Congressmember Hakeem Jeffries smiles with the Coney Island Sharks during the reopening of Luna Park.Photo by Caroline Ourso

Neighboring attraction Deno’s Wonder Wheel will reopen for its 102nd season the following weekend, on April 10, when it will again host its storied “Blessing of the Rides” ceremony on Palm Sunday. Like this weekend, the first 102 riders on the famous Ferris wheel will get to ride for free following the ribbon cutting and opening ceremonies.

“The Vourderis family is delighted to invite everyone to the 37th Annual Blessing of the Rides springtime opening,” said Dennis and Steve Vourderis, owners and operators of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, in a joint statement. “We are excited to continue the legacy of our parents, Denos and Lula Vourderis by inviting the local children from the Salt & Sea Mission to enjoy the rides for free, a tradition since 1985. We look forward to a great 2022 season and creating many more WONDER-ful memories.”