As the Observer first reported last week, it’s been a blockbuster summer out at Coney Island. Both the Cyclone and the Coney Island Sideshow Circus had some of their best seasons ever, and now the city has announced that more people visited the boardwalk than any summer since Steeplechase Park closed in 1964 and nearly four times as many as came to Coney last year. More than 14 million people went to the beach, and 400,000 attended the new Luna Park, which had some 1.7 million rides taken on its 19 new attractions at the 3.1-acre amusement park that replaced the old Astroland.
“In its inaugural season, Luna Park has not only confirmed that Coney Island remains a popular summertime destination, but now it is proving that the neighborhood can and will become a thriving year-round economic engine for the City,” EDC President Seth Pinsky said in a release. “Over the next few years, as the City improves the area’s infrastructure to allow for further development, we look forward to the creation of new, exciting thrills for visitors and, as importantly, even more employment opportunities for local residents.”
Next summer, Luna Park will roll out four new rides, including two roller coasters, and it has plans to keep this year’s thrills going with Nights of Horror at Luna Park, which runs from October 15 to October 31 and turns the park into a giant haunted house of sorts. Meanwhile, the city is expected to begin work on Steeplechase Plaza, a multi-use park at the base of the Parachute Jump. This is in addition to the $6.6 million it has already spent on infrastructure investments in the area to pave the way for the new Luna.
Echoing the sentiments of the Cyclone and Circus, Dennis Vourderis said that his family, which operates Deno’s Wonderwheel Park, has had one of his best summers in 30 years of operation thanks to the new Luna Park and the city’s revitalization efforts. Quoting JFK, he declared, “A rising tide raises all ships in the harbor.” Not to mention all ships on the boardwalk.
Update: In case you needed further enticement to head out to the haunted boardwalk, EDC just sent along this terrifying flyer. Sandy and spooky: