Astroland owners donate Rocket to city
(Photo by Tiffany L. Clark)
Astrolands run at Coney Island may be over, but the iconic amusement parks trademark symbol will live on.
Carol Hill Albert and Jerome Albert, Astrolands owners, donated the parks 71-foot-long Rocket to the city Wednesday. The Rocket, which simulated a space voyage, was the first ride to arrive at the park when it opened in 1962.
It continued to operate as a ride through the 1970s and has most recently sat atop a food stand.
It is especially fitting that this Rocket, which was the first to arrive will be the last item to leave Astroland Park, Carol Hill Albert said yesterday at a news conference at the New York Aquarium.The Alberts closed the park for good last summer after they couldnt reach a lease agreement with Thor Equities, which purchased the 3-acre property in November 2006. Both Thor and the city have competing plans to bring a new amusement park to Coney Island.
While the Alberts had the other rides removed from their property, the future of the Rocket remained unclear. Coney Island historian Charles Denson, fearing an unsold Rocket could be sold for scrap, spearheaded a campaign to preserve it, preferably at Coney Island.
City officials said the Rocket will be a centerpiece of a revitalized amusement district. The Bloomberg administration is seeking approval for a 19-block rezoning aimed at turning Coney Island into a year-round entertainment destination.
The Astroland Rocket is a quintessential part of Coney Islands history that serves as a unifying link between its fabled past and its future, said Seth Pinsky, president of the citys Economic Development Corp. The Rocket will now join the Cyclone, the Wonder Wheel and the Parachute Jump as permanent symbols of Coney Island.