Coney Island’s new amusement park made its brief debut this weekend, before closing for more renovations.
Luna Park, the first new amusement area to open in the hard-luck “People’s Playground” in almost 50 years, entertained and thrilled the public for the first time on Saturday, one day after the politicians and the well-connected got their first brief looksee.
The sneak-peak Friday gave some families a chance to try out the much-anticipated amusement park, but only allowed visitors on a handful of rides — most of the “kiddie” variety.
Brian Gotlieb, a member of Community Board 13, said the preview was still a success.
“I saw lots of smiling face, children that were there seemed to be very happy, enjoying the rides. That’s what Coney Island’s all about.”
Officials had just 14 out of the 19 rides open to the public on Saturday, including Wild River and The Tickler, a twisting coaster with rapid-fire drops.
And that good news gave Borough President Markowitz a chance to do what he does best:
“Back at the turn of the 20th century, people called the amazing Luna Park an ‘Electric Eden’ — and now after 66 years, we’ve got a new Luna Park for the 21st century,” said the irrepressible Beep.
For now, Luna Park will be closed until mid-June, before maintaining a seven-day-a-week schedule through Labor Day. The three-acre park will be open on weekends after that, through Columbus Day.
Once completed, the amusement park’s rides will include:
•Air Race — This thrill ride simulates the experience of fighter pilots and sends riders upside-down at up to 4Gs of force.
•Balloon Expedition — This family-friendly ride allows visitors to explore Coney Island from 40 feet in the air.
•Beach Shack — This family ride simulates the feel of a beach shack that’s been caught in a hurricane.
•Brooklyn Flyer — This thrill ride allows visitors to swing across the sky, 100 feet above Luna Park.
•Circus Train — This children’s ride allows kids to hop aboard for a ride around the tracks.
•Coney Island Sound — This family-friendly ride bounces up, down, and around.
•Coney Tower — This family adventure ride bounces visitors up-and-down from heights of up to 40 feet.
•Eclipse — This pendulum swing takes riders up to 50 feet in the air with nothing below their feet.
•Electro Spin — This thrill ride consists of a giant, spinning disk that takes riders up and down a “half pipe” while rotating at high speed.
•Happy Swing — This children’s ride allows adults to recall their favorite childhood swing sets, while treating young riders to the joys of swinging.
•Kite Glider — Riders of this ride are placed in a horizontal position, and after lifting off the ground, the ride begins an exciting double-oscillating wave-like motion.
•Lunar Express — This family gravity coaster is making its North American debut in Coney Island.
•Lynn’s Trapeze — This flying carousel allows riders to glide at ease while viewing historic images of Coney Island.
•Mermaid Parade — This kid-size water flume allows young riders to join in on the famous Mermaid Parade.
•Speed Boat — This family ride feels like visitors are jumping the waves on a brand new speed boat.
•Surf’s Up — This one-of-a-kind stand-up ride lets riders “hang ten” and “catch a wave.”
•Tea Party — This family-favorite positions riders in an oversized tea cup to spin at their own speed.
•The Tickler — This twisting coaster features an action-filled layout full of switchback curves and rapid-fire drops.
•Wild River — This water ride offers a refreshing splash down a 40-foot-tall chute.
Just how amazing Luna Park will be remains in doubt, of course. The amusement area, operated by Central Amusement International, an offshoot of the Zamperla ride manufacturing firm that also operates the Victorian Gardens attraction in Central Park, is a temporary theme park that seeks to accomplish two goals: jumpstart the city’s effort to revive Coney in the short term by giving thrill-seekers a place to go this summer, and, more important, serve as a placeholder for the permanent 12-acre amusement park that, city officials promise, will one day occupy a swath of city-owned land between Keyspan Park and the landmark Cyclone roller coaster.
The completion of that plan — which will be complemented by hotels, retail and other amusement-related attractions built by the area’s other main landowner, Joe Sitt — is at least a decade off.
Luna Park [1000 Surf Ave. at W. 10th Street in Coney Island, (718) 373-5862].
©2010 Community News Group
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