Let the games begin: Coney Island’s Luna Park to reopen this weekend

Coney Island’s Luna Park will reopen for 2022 on Saturday, April 2.
File photo by Jordan Rathkopf

Coney Island’s iconic Luna Park is set to reopen its gates to revelers this weekend.

The park said on social media that it will commence its summer 2022 season on Saturday, April 2, at 11 am, with a ceremonial christening of the Cyclone with an egg cream. Ninety-five lucky guests will be able to skip the $10 charge and scream their socks off for free, park honchos say, in celebration of the 95th anniversary of the iconic wooden rollercoaster’s 1927 grand opening; they’ll also get a complementary egg cream.

On Saturday, for one day only, Luna Park will provide parkgoers with “Extraordinary Wristbands” for just $20, allowing them unlimited access to the glorious weirdness of the People’s Playground for just a single Andrew Jackson.

“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.”

The following weekend, Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park will open to similar fanfare. On Sunday, April 10, the park will host its 37th annual “Blessing of the Rides.”

“I am very excited to welcome all guests at the opening 2022 season of our very own iconic amusement park, Luna Park in Coney Island. I am also happy to celebrate the legendary Coney Island Cyclone’s 95th birthday,” said area Councilmember Ari Kagan. “We always should be mindful that the fate and the success of the America’s Playground and the Coney Island community are intertwined…We are all in this together! Let’s bring more smiles to kids and adults and have real fun!”

The revelries will likely not be as effervescent as last year’s festivities, when former Mayor Bill de Blasio joined Coney honchos to ride the Cyclone as Luna Park reopened for the first time following a devastating missed 2020 season due to COVID-19. After facing grim prospects of survival during the pandemic, a number of venerable Riegelmann Boardwalk businesses signed “favorable” lease extensions that will allow iconic Coney institutions to stay put for the time being, after previously being asked for exorbitant rent increases pre-pandemic.

Coney Island amusement parks
Mayor Bill de Blasio stands with the owner of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park during Coney Island’s 2021 reopening.File photo by Erica Price

But at least one Coney institution will not be around, at least in an “official” capacity. Dick Zigun, the “unofficial mayor” of the southern Brooklyn peninsula for 40 years, was removed from office by Coney Island USA late last year amid a protracted dispute over the intellectual property rights to the Mermaid Parade and Coney Island Circus Sideshow, both of which he started and is indelibly linked to, and regarding a pension as the carny seeks to retire.

Zigun and Coney Island USA have been in on-and-off bargaining sessions over the terms of his exit, and he has retained an intellectual property lawyer.