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Coney Island’s Luna Park opens for the summer season

People ride the Cyclone during the opening weekend

People ride the Cyclone during the opening weekend of Luna Park and The Cyclone roller coaster in Coney Island on Apr. 9, 2017. Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

Luna Park was up and running this weekend, welcoming kids and adults of all ages to ride the Coney Island Cyclone, the Tickler and more for the first time all season.

Dozens of people lined up Sunday hoping to be one of the first 100 people to ride the Cyclone for free. The historic wooden roller coaster turns 90 this year.

“It’s so nostalgic,” said Maritza McCarthy, 53, who grew up in Starrett City but lives in Plainsboro, New Jersey. “We had to be here. And it’s a beautiful day.”

McCarthy lined up about 9 a.m. Sunday and said she used to ride the coaster as a kid.

Coney Island resident Rebecca Deatherage, 22, woke up at 5 a.m. Sunday. It was her first time to ride the coaster.

“I’m nervous, excited,” she said. “I love roller coasters. It’s just something important.”

And the Cyclone is faster than ever after some routine track work, speeding riders along the 2,640 feet of swirling track at more than 60 mph. The coaster opened in 1927 and was named a city landmark in 1988 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.

Its birthday is June 26, and the party will be the day before.

“It’s no wonder we call Coney Island the people’s playground,” said Mitchell Silver, commissioner of the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation. “When you come here, you can be a kid again.”

Bensonhurst resident Erik Knapp, 51, calls himself “Mr. Cyclone,” lining up every year to ride it first. Knapp camped out since 9 a.m. Saturday and sat in the front row on Sunday, his 13th consecutive year attending opening weekend.

“Coney Island is here on the map to stay,” he said, adding that the ride is: “faster, it’s smoother — faster and better than ever. I love it.”

Luna Park will be open on weekends through Memorial Day, and then seven days a week after that.


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