Who needs the massive crowds of Times Square when you could ring in 2018 in America’s Playground aka Coney Island?
The record-setting cold — with the temperature dropping to one degree at midnight, the coldest New Year’s Eve on record in decades — didn’t stop revelers from enjoying the festivities that Coney Island had on offer during its annual celebration of the New Year on Sunday, December 31 at Steeplechase Plaza.
The cold did cause the cancellation of some of the planned festivities. Both Deno’s Wonder Wheel and the Stop the Zombies ride, which were scheduled to be open on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, were closed.
However, attendees took the changes in stride, hunkering down to savor the entertainment including fire-eaters, rides on the B&B Carousell, live performances, fireworks, and of course, watching a simulated LED ball drop at midnight on Brooklyn’s landmark Parachute Jump.
“We were glad to once again host the Fourth Annual New Year’s Eve Celebration with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams,” said Alexandra Silversmith, executive director of the Alliance for Coney Island. “The free programming allowed families to join us throughout the evening on the B&B Carousell and skating at Abe Stark as well as for live music and entertainment. Before this event, there were limited, if any, free festivities for families to celebrate the New Year in south Brooklyn and we are glad to have created a safe and friendly atmosphere. Despite the low temperature, we still had many people join us for the fireworks and enjoy themselves.”
Founder of Coney Island USA Dick Zigun hosted a private party during the evening, which drew over 60 partygoers. However, he contributed to the celebration at Steeplechase.
“It was extremely cold when we sent our performers to do fire blasts for the celebration,” he said. “Our fire performers did perform outside from 10-11 p.m., which is when we do the entertainment before the fireworks before midnight. “
Although the crowd size was considerably smaller than last year, when the evening was warmer, the excitement was still palpable. “This year, we sent six different fire performers as a group,” Zigun said. “They put on an awesome show. At 10:30, there were about 50 people. Right before midnight, the crowd grew from 50 to 1,500. The weather definitely took a major hit on Coney Island.”
Adams also enjoyed the local festivities, both at Coney and Grand Army Plaza.
“Coney Island has become the place to be on New Year’s Eve, and a little chill won’t stop the party,” he wrote on Twitter. “Thousands of people braved the bitter cold in Brooklyn to ring in 2018 in Coney Island and Prospect Park, and I couldn’t have thought of a better place to spend New Year’s Eve than with them.”