The magic of Coney Island’s Luna Park is about to grow.
On Thursday, August 23 the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and NYC Parks announced that they are adding to the already popular Luna Park, which returned to Coney Island in 2010.
The plans will expand the park by 50 percent, according to the agencies, and will include the addition of a giant log flume, a ropes course, a public plaza and an arcade.
Transforming the 150,000 square feet of City-owned land will be Central Amusement International (CAI).
President and CEO of the EDC James Patchett is excited about the new attractions.
“Coney Island is both a cherished summertime destination and an important economic engine for South Brooklyn,” he said. “With these exciting new attractions and our ongoing investments in housing and infrastructure, Coney Island’s future has never looked brighter.”
“The Coney Island Amusement District is a nostalgic New York City destination, and we are proud to be a part of improving and evolving it for future generations to enjoy,” added NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver. “We are confident that the new developments to Luna Park will add even more fun for the thousands of families that flock to Coney Island each year.”
The planned log flume ride and the ropes course, which will be in a new adventure park, promise great views of the area and will be built on currently unused land next to the Thunderbolt roller-coaster.
“We were really excited to have gotten some of the proposals we got back,” NYCEDC spokesperson Stephanie Báez told this paper. “They were so creative. The ones we ended up selecting from Central Amusement International just perfectly fit the vision that we have for the Coney Island boardwalk.”
CAI also plans to add public seating, landscaping and a new public plaza with an open-air style eatery and entertainment area with games for all ages.
President of Luna Park Alessandro Zamperla told this paper what the expansion means to the park.
“It means a lot to continue our commitment to this special place in Coney Island. It’s stronger than ever,” he said. “We’ve been adding more attractions, facilities and places where people can come, enjoy themselves and bring Coney Island back to its hay day when it was the center of the amusement worlds in the 1930s and one of the most sought after destinations in the world.”
The adventure park is slated to open next summer while the water attraction scheduled to be completed by 2020.
“It will be a huge addition. In the current Luna Park, we have a flume ride, so the new will be four times bigger than the current one,” Zamperla told this paper. “It will be 1,000 feet long. We are going to have a couple of impressive drops that will be followed by huge splashes. We are talking 40 foot tall drops and the logs will reach speeds of 30 miles per hour. The romantic side of it is you’ll be able to enjoy these nice water rides overlooking the ocean and beach. It will be themed after the great tradition of Coney Island. It will change the landscape of Luna Park.”
He also said the ride will be special to Coney.
“The flume ride is custom-made exclusive for the park,” he added. “The log itself will be two people sitting next to each other in rows. It will be more attractive so if you have a family member with you, it will be more fun to look at each other’s faces as you fall from drop.”
“Once it’s fully constructed and running, it will be the official largest water ride they will have there in the entire amusement district,” added Báez. “We felt it was really important to add to the mix because it was definitely missing.
“We also think the adventure park will be a big draw too,” Báez went on. “People are looking for a little bit more in their thrill-seeking. They are seeking more physical and interactive stuff like zip lining which this will bring.”
Attendees can certainly expect thrills next summer, stakeholders said.
“It will have some rope courses which will be themed after a circus, like someone balancing as an acrobat,” Zamperla said. “The good thing is it will be for almost everybody. The lowest height is 20 inches so very small children can challenge themselves and for the more courageous there’s zip line and rope courses that are 40 feet high.”
Councilmember Mark Treyger is also pleased with the plans.
“Recapturing the best of Coney Island’s past is a big part of the future at the People’s Playground,” he said. “This continues the revitalization of the amusement district, offering exciting new activities and attractions for residents and visitors alike to enjoy.”
According to the EDC, they and NYC Parks released a request for proposals back in 2017 to develop and operate five parcels of land totaling 150,000 square feet between Surf Avenue and the boardwalk, and between West 10th and West 16th Streets.
“This investment continues the City’s commitment to preserving the amusement district and creation of additional parkland, both enhancing the community and visitors’ experience of Coney Island, and generating vigorous economic activity in the neighborhood,” the EDC wrote in a statement.
“The goal is to give our guests a modern interpretation but also a very authentic Coney Island amusement park,” added Zamperla. “We are always looking at new technologies around here.”