Saying goodbye to Astroland
Visitors wait for Astroland to open its front gates Sunday. The storied amusement park closes forever Sunday night. (Photo by Ryan Chatelain)
Dozens of thrill seekers were already waiting when Astroland rolled up its front gates for the final time Sunday. Many others shuffled in and out throughout the day to say goodbye to the storied Coney Island amusement park.
For some, it was their last ride at a 46-year-old New York institution theyve known since they were children.
Ive been coming here my whole life, said Arthur Nash, 36, of Chelsea. Ive been hearing stories about the park my whole life. My grandfather was a journalist for Parade magazine in the 50s and 60s, and he brought Marilyn Monroe to the Cyclone and Nathans. We had to be here for the last day.
Meanwhile, Ray Chao, 35, who moved from Chicago to Brooklyn a year ago, took advantage of his last chance to visit Astroland for the first time.
It seems so unique, Chao said. I walked on the boardwalk, and I was thinking, I dont think theres any place in the world that looks like this. I felt like it would be a real shame to update it. It just doesnt seem to need it.
Others held out hope that a deal between Astroland and Thor Equities, which owns the land, could still be worked out, even though Astroland co-owner Carol Hill Albert informed employees Thursday that the park was closing for good Sunday.
I hope that it doesnt [close], said Eliya Ahmad, 7, moments after riding the Popeye Boats while wearing an ear-to-ear grin. Next time I see a star, Im going to wish that its not going to happen.