Coney Island is saying goodbye to the eye.
On Sunday, September 7, Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park and the Coney Island History Project (CIHP) hosted a bon voyage party for the Spook-A-Rama Cyclops, a sculpture that has been a fixture at the amusement part for decades. The event gave visitors the chance to pose with the landmark, as well as browse through vintage Coney photos and participate in contests.
“We had a great turnout,” said CIHP Director Charles Denson. “We had a card set up for visitors and the things that people wrote were really amazing. Over 150 people signed it. They said everything from ‘We always adored you’ to ‘I grew up with you.’ It was really nice. People are attached to it. It’s a great piece of folk art and it’s great that the Vourderis family willing to share it with everybody. They’ve preserved the history of Coney Island.”
A contest was also featured during the event, with winners receiving an exclusive tour of the Spook-A-Rama ride. “We had a lot of people sign up for the contest,” said Denson. “They had to write an essay about their favorite things about the Cyclops and the ride.”
The relocation isn’t permanent. For the next year and a half, Cyclops will be on display at museums in different parts of the country. “I’m glad it’s going on tour. It will be nice to share it with the rest of the world,” Denson added. “The fact that it will be on display to a new audience will hopefully attract people to Coney. There’s history there. Eventually, it will be back.”
Denson also hopes that the Cyclops will remind visitors that Spook-a-Rama, Coney’s famous spooky ride, is still open despite Superstorm Sandy damage.
Nonetheless, Coney (and art) lovers can’t wait for the Cyclops to return. “Kids who are scared when young come to love it when older. It represents their childhood. It caught people’s attention in ‘50s and now a new generation is appreciating it,” said Denson.