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Coney Island’s amusement district kicks off the season

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Photo gallery

1/8
Old fashion with a new twist: The Brooklyn Seltzer Boys handed out free egg creams to thrill seekers lining up for a go on the Cyclone.
2/8
I christen thee!: Borough President Adams christened the coaster by smashing an egg cream over the first car.
3/8
First spin of the season: Borough President Adams and Brooklyn’s bravest pols took the first spin of the season before the ride was opened up to the public.
4/8
Still number 1!: Cyclone diehard Erik Knapp, also known as “Mr. Cyclone,” was yet again first in line to take a ride on Coney Island’s iconic coaster.
5/8
Long-awaited ride: Loyal coaster fans finally got to feel the wind in their hair after an hours-long wait in line.
6/8
Coaster crew: Four of the so-called Cyclone Seven camped out for the first ride and bonded over their shared love of Coney — Erik Knapp even brought his dune buggy with a custom paint job to match Luna Park’s “Thunderbolt” roller coaster.
7/8
Classic coney fare: Tykes noshed on Nathan’s Famous hot dogs and other beach-side grub.
8/8
Timber!: Families splashed their way through Luna Park’s water log ride.

It’s game-on at the People’s Playground!

Coney Island roared to life on April 9 with the opening of Luna Park and Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park. Revelers enjoyed new rides and old favorites, and noshed on classic Coney fair to christen the start of the season. The opening weekend visit was a rite of passage for young Brooklynites, said one Sunset Parker who came out with his family for the festivities.

“It’s a family tradition to come out here with the kids,” said Osorio Perez, who waited outside the gates of Luna Park with his two daughters an hour early to get first crack at the rides. “My dad brought me here, his dad brought him here, now I bring my girls. You can’t be a Brooklyn kid and not love coming here — who needs Six Flags when you’ve got Coney Island?”

The Cyclone took off on its first run of the season after Borough President Adams smashed a customary egg cream over the coaster. And Wonder Wheel owners — brothers Dennis and Steve Vourderis — officiated the annual “Blessing of the Rides,” before the first 97 revelers took a free spin on the wondrous wheel in honor of its 97 glorious years.

And the views were to die for on the balmy spring day, said one thrill seeker.

“It was a gorgeous sight up there,” said Coney Islander Joseph Lipinski, who dangled in one of the ride’s swinging cars with his wife. “You could see all of Coney Island up there and even Staten Island. Clear blue skies as far as the eye can see.”

Adrenaline junkies zipped on the newly refurbished Cyclone — which turns 90 this year — fought for survival in a virtual reality zombie shooter, and took a literal spin on the high-flying tilt-a-whirl, the Endeavor, among other rides.

Those who prefer their feet firmly planted on the ground explored Sodom by the Sea’s past at the Coney Island History Project, sampled egg creams, and sunk their teeth into the original Feltman’s of Coney Island hot dogs — which opened a kiosk as a preview to its Memorial Day grand opening on Surf Avenue.

Coney Island’s annual opening shindig is nothing short of magic, said one reveler.

“I come for the opening every year because it makes me feel like a kid again,” said Bensonhurster Rhoda Sotto. “There’s something magical about being here when it all gets going.”

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at cspivack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 4:53 pm, April 11, 2017
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Reasonable discourse

Linda says:
This picture hardly captures the moment - Eric Adams was so scared he nearly pooped his pants! It was a riot! He screamed and cried like a girl, then at the end he ran off to change his panties! Reports say the old ones were unclean after his ride.
April 12, 2017, 4:14 pm

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