Friday, July 5, 2013

Saying Goodbye to the Astrotower at Luna Park

© Christopher Brucker
It all started with some swaying in the breeze, which is actually normal for the Astrotower at Coney Island's Luna Park.  But as the swaying got worse so did the concerns of the public, and soon the entire area around the tower was closed off, the amusements shut down, and a plan put into place.

This was two days ago, mind you, I'm a bit slow to the gate I know, but one of our readers was there when this started and was kind enough to send in some photos.  I'm not big into sensationalizing anything, so at first I was going to pass this story by.

© Christopher Brucker
But, in the end I changed my mind because the Astrotower is coming down - and quick - so I thought it was only fair to say good bye to a Coney Island landmark.

The plan that was put in place was originally said to be to remove the top portion of the tower, which I guess would have stopped the swaying.  And if you're interested in seeing this swaying, check out this YouTube video.  The removal of the tower has taken place in the early morning of the past two days, allowing the park - and it's neighbor the world famous Cyclone coaster - to open in the afternoon.  That's pretty important for the area on July 4th, you can imagine the loss of revenues from sitting closed on a day like that.

The plan to remove only a part of the tower must have changed quickly, as this story reports that all of it will be coming down.   This shot, just taken from a live earth cam, shows that more than half of the tower are already gone.  I would assume the rest will come out tomorrow.

The Astrotower, once known as the Tower to the Stars, originally opened in 1964.  The 272 foot tall observation tower operated for decades, only closing in 2008 along with the rest of Astroland.  You can read some more great history of the attraction from Amusing the Zillion.  While sad to see an icon of the area go, suddenly the park has a spot for a great freefall tower!