Friday, July 8, 2011

Luna Park - The Fun Is Back In Coney Island

Welcome, all!

The original Luna Park opened in Coney Island (Brooklyn, NY) in 1903.  It thrived for several decades until a series of fires destroyed the park, and it was never rebuilt.  While not on the same land, a new Luna Park has metaphorically risen from the ashes of its former self, and is once again thrilling the public at Coney Island.

The park is packed with rides and attractions!

The new Luna Park represents the fruition of a plan hatched by the Coney Island Redevelopment Corporation, which released a plan in 2005 that was to revitalize the entire area.  The strategy included a resurgence of amusement rides along the boardwalk, though some were still operating at the time - including Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park and Astroland.

The Circus Coaster

Deno's still operates today, as seen in our story a few days ago. Astroland was purchased by Thor Equities, a developer that planned to totally renovate much of seaside Coney Island.  The park last operated during the 2008 season, after which it closed for good with many of the park's rides and attractions being sold or moved.

Close up of riders on the Circus Coaster

Fear not, as the demise of Astroland cleared the way for Luna Park to be built, in a way.  A temporary park set up shop on the site in 2009, but in February of 2010 Central Amusement International was awarded the contract to built a new amusement park in Coney Island.  An opening was planned for that May, only a handful of months away!

The Wild River - great for a hot day

Central Amusement International's majority owner is Zamperla Rides.  As we well know, Zamperla is one of the most consistently busy manufacturers of amusement rides on the scene today.  That said, it's no wonder that almost all of the rides that were opened in Luna Park were provided by Zamperla, with only a couple attractions added that were outside their current product line.

Get your dizzy on with the Electro Spin

Luna Park opened on May 29th, 2010, after an amazing effort in order to build an amusement park on the site in just a matter of months.  The park features a selection of thrill rides, family attractions, and kid's rides as well, all tightly fit into about three acres of land.

Swing rides are popular these days, this is the Brooklyn Flyer

Whether you want to go high, spin fast, or simply sway back and fourth, Luna Park has something for you.  The park's currently has two different roller coasters, both friendly to the entire family.  The Circus Coaster is a smaller production model, known as the Speedy Coaster.  The ride is 29 feet tall and features 574 feet of zippy track.  It's great fun for kids who aren't quite ready for bigger rides, or big kids (i.e. me) who enjoy a ride regardless.

It didn't tickle, but it was a fun ride

Luna Park's second roller coaster is known as the Tickler.  It's a spinning wild mouse coaster that's been popular at many other parks.  Riders sit in cars that feature a famous grinning face, and start the ride with the car locked into position.  About halfway through the cars' spinning feature is unlocked.

Get ready for some serious spinning, pal

Once the cars are unlocked the fun really starts.  In an odd twist of fate I ended up riding with only one other person, though they were seated right next to me - meaning that out of four seats the two furthest to the left were occupied by adults.  With the other two empty, the totally unbalanced weight distribution gave me one of the spinniest (yes, I made that up) rides I've had on a coaster, ever.  It was great, though!

The Air Race

Another highlight of the park is the Air Race flat ride, which is the first of its kind in the world.  Teens and general thrill seekers flocked to this ride, and it is pretty easy to see why.  Once seated in four person plane themed cars, the entire base spins while each car rotates vertically.

Spinning, flipping, fun

The result of those two motions when combined creates a lot of inversions, and a pretty dizzying ride.  Well, I'll have to say I guess that's how it feels - my stomach actually informed me that it wasn't up for a ride!  Still, it's a very visual ride, and gathers about as many riders as it does spectators.  I'll be curious to see if other parks start to pick these up.

A Happy Swing for the kids

Even though some of the park's rides stand out more than others, all of the rides at Luna Park represent the best of Zamperla's product line.  The manufacturer had the opportunity to hand pick its best attractions when building the park.  Guests can swing high in the air on the Brooklyn Flyer, take a spin on the Eclipse, or hang as they soar on the Coney Island Hang Glider.

There's plenty of kid attractions as well, including the cool Surf's Up where kids actually stand during the ride, and the Coney Tower, a smaller parachute tower that pays homage to the famous Coney Island landmark.

The Eclipse... not Twilight related but still fun

I would expect that Zamperla will continue to use the park as a bit of a showcase for their latest and greatest rides in the future - and that's a good thing for guests.  No major changes were made to the park for its second season, but that's because Zamperla had bigger fish to fry a few steps down the boardwalk with the Scream Zone.  We will take a look at that new development next time!

I also made a video showing off some of the rides at Luna Park, nothing fancy, but you'll get the idea:


TheOccasionalFag said...

"The original Luna Park opened in Coney Island (Bronx, NY)" this should read Brooklyn NY.

Mike said...

Indeed. I need to stop writing stories at night, or hire an editor. Thanks!