Coney Island celebrates official opening with slate of traditions

Coney Island lovers, rejoice!

Thrill seekers from across the borough and area residents alike packed America’s Playground for the official opening of Coney Island on April 14.

At Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, several Coney traditions were observed.

The park’s annual opening was marked by the blessing of the rides ceremony, a salute to the American flag presented by the Ceremonial Unit of the FDNY and a ribbon-cutting cere.

Free admission was granted to 300 children from the Coney Island Salt N Sea Mission, a local non-profit that assists the homeless, battered women and at-risk children. It has been around for over 30 years.

“With the 100th year anniversary of Deno’s Wonder Wheel now just a year away, we are delighted to be now opening for our 99th year,” said the Vourderis family, owners and operators of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, in a statement. “We celebrate the life and passion of our parents and grandparents who dedicated their lives to providing Coney Island with a warm, welcoming amusement park on the Boardwalk.”

Following the ceremony at Deno’s, the scene shifted to Luna Park, where Borough President Eric Adams presided over the annual egg cream christening of the world-famous Coney Island Cyclone, markingits 92nd year in operation. The egg creams were provided by the Brooklyn Seltzer Boys.

“Some may call it a relic, some may call it rickety, but what it really is about is tradition…. this matriarch has been a part of countless generations,” Luna Park wrote on Instagram. “She’s been through all kinds of storms with no shelter…and even has surpassed the test of time.”

The Cyclone first opened in 1927.

Ready to ride are Borough President Eric Adams, Councilmember Mark Treyger, state Sen. Diane Savino and Deputy Inspector Joseph Hayward.

“We love this ride and so do our guests from all over the world,” Luna Park’s post read on. “The Cyclone is now officially open, it is christened, and she’s ready to have you come on down to see if you’ve got what it takes to enjoy the ride!”

Festivities also included a performance by barbershop quartet the Apple Boys, a marching band parade and an appearance by Mr. Met, the beloved New York Mets mascot.

“Our Coney Island community looks forward to welcoming millions of tourists for another amazing season in America’s Playground, a seaside sensation like no place else,” Adams said. “There’s something for everyone.”

“Coney Island isn’t just a destination. It’s an experience,” added Councilmember Mark Treyger via social media. “We have a lot of great things to look forward to during what will be a fun, safe summer!”

The day is special to Coney Island residents and all Brooklynites alike, according to Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus. “Spring is finally here,” she said.

Cindy Godla, the events and marketing manager for the Alliance for Coney Island, jumped a season forward.

“Opening day in Coney Island is symbolic for many New Yorkers as the ‘unofficial’ start of summer,” she said. “We’re excited to bring guests from around the world a memorable experience when they visit this iconic location.”

Among the excitement that visitors in 2019 have to look forward to, added Godla, are, “New attractions opening, new eateries and a robust lineup of events like Friday Night fireworks, Flicks on the Beach, the sand-sculpting competition and our new favorite, the Coney Island Music Festival.”

There will also be new attractions at Luna Park, according to Alessandro Zamperla, president of Central Amusement International.

“Since our opening in 2010, Luna Park has attracted record-breaking crowds, expanding the excitement beyond just rides and games,” he said. “This year, we look forward to embracing the legacy of Coney Island as well as bringing new, exhilarating attractions to the park.”

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