New Coney thrill ride more view than vroom

High times: Luna Park debuted its new Astro Tower ride on May 25.
Community News Group / Alexandra Simon

This Coney thrill ride keeps it under the limit.

Adrenalin junkies who scored seats on the inaugural ride of Luna Park’s new Astro Tower amusement on May 25 walked away with their need for speed left unfulfilled, according to one thrill seeker, who complained that the ride’s top speed of 21 miles per hour left much to be desired.

“It was a little slow,” said Bensonhurst’s John Fruente.

At 21 miles per hour, the new drop-tower-style ride is practically street legal, not even topping the city’s blanket 25-miles-per-hour speed limit that Mayor De Blasio set in 2014.

Towering heights: At 137-feet tall, the new Astro Tower is just shorter than the 150-foot-tall Wonder Wheel, but riders agreed it still offered a pretty sweet view of Coney Island.
Community News Group / Alexandra Simon

But the ride was meant to straddle the roles of observation deck and thrill ride, according to the amusement park’s big kahuna, who described views from the peak of the rotating Astro Tower’s 137-foot apex as the best in town.

“It’s first in the world, the perfect balance between thrills and the best view of Coney island you can have from the beach,” said Allesandro Zamperla, president of Central Amusement International, which manages Luna Park.

The amusement district’s iconic Wonder Wheel, at 150-feet tall, remains the tallest attraction in town, but the views are still pretty sweet from atop the Astro Tower, according to one rider.

“It had beautiful views, and a nice breeze,” said Mark Willnauer, a Long Island resident who won a contest to be among the ride’s first passengers.

Before: Always working, intrepid reporter Colin Mixson jots down notes as the Astro Tower begins its slow ascent up to 137-feet.
Community News Group / Alexandra Simon

The ride was purpose-built for Coney Island by Zamperla Amusement Rides in Italy, and was shipped to New York in one massive piece, according to Luna Park spokeswoman Adriana Ball.

The ride takes its name from former amusement park Astroland’s Astrotower, which graced the Coney skyline until 2013, when it was dismantled after it started swaying over Luna Park, forcing patrons to evacuate.

The Astro Tower will be joined by the kid friendly Cosmo Jet and Coney Clipper pendulum rides later this summer, and follows the Thunderbolt roller coaster that opened in 2014, and 2016’s Endeavor spinning ride.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
After: Following his first trip on the Astro Tower, reporter Colin Mixson was disappointed by the ride’s slow speed, which tops out at 21 miles per hour.
Community News Group / Alexandra Simon

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