The iconic Coney Island Rocket will soar again.
City officials promised as much on Wednesday when they accepted the shopworn Astroland relic as a donation from owners Carol and Jerry Albert, whose Space Age theme park closed for good last fall.
“The Rocket is [a] symbol of the adventure, discovery and fun that have brought New Yorkers to Coney Island for years,” Deputy Mayor Robert Lieber said a handoff ceremony at the New York Aquarium. “I am pleased to say that the Rocket will continue to be part of Coney Island for generations to come.”
The city will store the kitschy reminder of America’s space race until a site is found in what the city says will be a miraculous transformation of the historic amusement area between Keyspan Park and the Cyclone rollercoaster into a year-round tourist destination.
That extreme makeover calls for a new city-owned amusement park and privately owned hotels, restaurants and attractions. It is currently undergoing public review.
The interstellar projectile sat as an ornament atop Gregory and Paul’s fast-food stand on the Boardwalk for years, but actually was a futuristic ride when the park opened in 1962, according to the Coney Island History Project.
It “was “one of the first of the ‘imaginary’ space voyage simulators constructed during the Space Race. The Rocket showed simulator films of ‘rocket rides’ while the chassis ‘rocked’ its viewers to outer space,” according to the history project’s Web site.
The ride had 26 seats and lasted three minutes.
Astroland closed in September after the Alberts’ landlord, Thor Equities, did not offer a new lease to the theme park.
Thor, which owns about 10–and-a-half acres of land in the amusement area and along the Boardwalk, bought the land from them in 2006 for $30 million and then rented it back to them.
©2009 Community News Group
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