Let the games begin!
Citywide officials and locals alike flocked to Coney Island on Sunday to celebrate the opening of Luna Park and Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park for the 2023 spring and summer season.
Hundreds gathered on April 2 to celebrate the herald of summer through the opening of one of the Big Apple’s most popular seasonal attractions. The likes of Mayor Eric Adams, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and more assembled in the shadow of the 96-year-old roller coaster on Surf Avenue and West 10th Street to usher in the new season.
“This is a great metaphor where we’re standing,” Schumer said, looking up at the iconic Cyclone. “New York has been through a roller coaster in the last three, four years because of COVID. But like Coney Island, New York and Brooklyn are back bigger, better, and stronger than ever. And like the cyclone despite the ups and downs, we keep moving on and moving forward, and moving upward.”
The Cyclone’s traditional egg cream christening officially kicked off the 2023 theme park season. In celebration of the Cyclone’s 96th anniversary, the first 96 riders who lined up were gifted a free ride and egg cream soda. Luna Park will also start their season with their annual donation day by giving proceeds from their day’s sales to children and youth charities, including the Coney Island Sharks, Give Kids the World Village and Operation H.O.O.D.
Just a block away, Deno’s Wonder Wheel also commemorated its start of the season with a ribbon cutting, helmed by Mayor Adams. While the Cyclone is nearing its centennial, Luna Park itself is already over 100 years old, having been originally founded in 1903.
Hizzoner recalled working the beat as a transit police officer in the 1980s covering Coney Island. He shared his fond memories of the theme park and added that he grew up on the Wonder Wheel and spent some of his best times as a child with his siblings in the amusement park.
“This was the Brooklyn Riviera. This is where we came to. Now you look at the real recovery that has taken place here in Coney Island,” Adams said. “People say New York City’s coming back. Let’s be clear, New York City is back, 99% of the jobs we lost during the pandemic are back. Crime is going down because of our police officers. Jobs are coming back to the city and now we’re back to this beautiful place we call Coney Island, which is not an island.”
“You are all in the city together and that’s how we’re going to move our city forward,” the mayor went on. “As we start this season and cut the ribbon, let’s make sure this is a safe place for children to come and enjoy.”
After cutting the ribbon, children and adults alike flooded the amusement park to ride the iconic Wonder Wheel and its surrounding attractions.