Coney Island was the place to be this New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day as the landmarked Deno’s Wonder Wheel, the Triotech XD VR Interactive Dark Ride, the B&B Carousell and the Thunderbolt were open and offering up free rides on Saturday, December 31 with Polar Bears taking the annual plunge on Sunday, January 1.
The full evening lineup of free and low-cost events on New Year’s Eve — which attracted thousands of people to the seaside amusement area — culminated with a digital “burst” of lights on the iconic Parachute Jump, ringing in the New Year along with fireworks and traditional sideshow entertainment. Entertainment and musical guests included the Priceless Band and Blazes, as well as freak show performances and fire eating from Coney Island USA and a DJ.
According to one of the co-owners of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, the park is still whirling with excitement from this past summer season and welcomed the opportunity to open in celebration of the New Year.
“Our whole Vourderis family is delighted with the success and togetherness this past summer in Coney Island,” said Dennis Vourderis, co-owner of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park. The purpose of opening to mark the new year, he added, was “to keep the party going.” Fifty percent of all ticket sales on New Year’s Day were donated to Camp Sunshine, the charity that benefits from the Polar Bear Plunge.
This year marks the third year in a row for New Year festivities in Coney Island, according to the Alliance for Coney Island.
“The Alliance for Coney Island is extremely excited for the third annual year of activities and celebrations to ring in the New Year,” said Alexandra Silversmith, the Alliance’s executive director. “We are proud to partner with Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams on the New Year’s celebration which expands the season in Coney Island.”
The fun and celebratory evening was also a taste of things to come, as the Wonder Wheel gears up for its 100th birthday.
“This is a ‘cool’ way to kick off the New Year as we also look ahead to our 100th anniversary in 2020,” added Vourderis.