Coney Island opens for summer
Coney Island is getting a head start on the summer season. The amusement park officially opened Sunday with the annual blessing of the rides, and the traditional egg-cream Christening of the cyclone. Tara Lynn Wagner was at the opening and has more.
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BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- “Coney Island!!! Coney Island!!! Yeah!!!!”
They lined up early, roller coaster enthusiasts and thrill seekers, eager to be among the first to ride the famous Cyclone this season.
Among them, Erik Knapp, first in line he says, for seven years running.
Knapp said, “Born and raised in Coney Island and It's just a big thrill that this ride which is 85 years old is still here.”
The attraction draws an eclectic crowd of all ages, from Gary Hulk, who's been coming for 50 years.
Hulk said, “I feel like a million bucks!!! Let's GO!!!”
To ten year old Vincent Viola, who finally meets the height requirement of 54 inches.
Viola said, “Vincent are you nervous? NO!”
His take: the ride was bumpy but exciting!
“I put my hands up. You put your hands up? Were you screaming? No. Maybe a little? Just a little bit,” said Viola.
The inaugural ride was delayed slightly for the traditional Christening with egg cream, which also according to tradition, took a few tries. Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz broke the bottle on his fourth attempt, but what he didn't break was his own personal tradition of not riding the roller coaster.
Marty Markowitz said, “You won't ride? No I don't go. I'm not a roller, I'm not, the cyclone. I love it but me personally? NO WAY!”
Had he gone along for the ride, He would have experienced a new and improved first drop. 280 feet of track has been replaced, phase one of a complete renovation.
Brian Griffin said, “The new first drop is so amazing. It's smooth, you don't get slammed up against the side.
Sunday saw most of rides at Coney Island in full swing, including those at another famous staple, Deno's Wonder Wheel Park, which held it's 34th annual Blessing of the Rides.
As is their tradition, they welcomed 300 children from Coney Island's Sea and Salt Mission, which provides thousands of free meals a month to local kids. They got to ride for free, including the latest attractions at the family-owned amusement park.
Dennis Vourderis, Co-Owner of Deno's Wonder Wheel Park said, “We have a gigantic bumper car ride that's the biggest bumper car ride in Coney Island if not all of New York City.
The park will be open every weekend until memorial day. After that, every day, all summer long.