Crazy for Coney: Brooklynites are ready for the 2019 season

It may not feel much like spring, but Coney Island’s amusement area  is ready to open for the season.

To kick off the festivities in America’s Playground, Luna Park, 1000 Surf Avenue, will begin its 2019 season on April 6 at 11 a.m. by offering free admission  — and access to all of the park’s rides — to all guests who donate a minimum of $10 to local Brooklyn charity, Children of Promise, NYC.

“Our entire team at Luna Park in Coney Island is thrilled to partner with Children of Promise, NYC, to celebrate the start of the 2019 season,” said Alessandro Zamperla, the president of Central Amusement International, which owns the amusement park. “Year-round, our entire team is dedicated to working alongside our local community, and we pride ourselves on continuing to create a fun atmosphere that benefits children of all ages.”

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Deno’s Wonder Wheel just announced it will be also open on Sat., Apr. 5 and Sun., Apr. 6 at 12 p.m. “With the canopy atop Deno’s carousel, the cars in place on Deno’s Wonder Wheel, and sunny spring weather this weekend, we’re ready for the first rides of the 2019 season,” read a post on Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park’s Facebook page.

Deno’s will host its official opening the following weekend, on April 14 at 10:30 a.m., which will include the annual Blessing of the Rides that will take place on the Boardwalk in front of Deno’s.

As happens every year, 300 kids from Coney Island’s Salt and Sea Mission will enjoy free rides and there will also be free rides on Deno’s Wonder Wheel for the first 99 people in line to mark the landmark ferris wheel’s 99th year.

This year, Deacon Toyin Fakumoju will lead the Blessing of the Rides, and the New York City Fire Department Ceremonial Unit will present the colors and sing the national anthem.

“The Vourderis family is delighted to invite everyone to the springtime opening,” said Dennis and Steve Vourderis, owners and operators of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, noting that it was their parents, Denos and Lula Vourderis, “who created this tradition [of offering free rides to children from the Salt and Sea Mission] with Mission founder Debbe Santiago in 1985.”

The rides open for the season immediately following the ceremony. New additions include a 7D Dark Ride with cutting-edge technology, virtual reality ‘Stop the Zombies” and the “Say Boo” photobooth, an add-on to the classic dark ride Spook-A-Rama.

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The same day, the Coney Island History Project’s exhibition center, on West 12th Street at the entrance to Deno’s Wonder Wheel, will be open from 1-6 p.m. with free admission.

Among the items on exhibit will be historic artifacts, including the 1823 wooden toll house sign, Coney Island’s oldest surviving artifact, as well as photographs, maps and ephemera, plus films of Coney Island’s colorful past. Visitors will also be able to enjoy  a special exhibit on Coney Island Creek and view photographs by the winners of last fall’s Astroland Remembered Photo Contest.

In addition, visitors can take a free souvenir photo with the Cyclops head from Deno’s Spook-A-Rama dark ride and an original Steeplechase horse from the legendary ride that gave the late, great Steeplechase Park its name.

A week later, on April 21, attendees can learn about the contributions of immigrants to the history and development of the neighborhood during the history project’s Immigrant Heritage Tour of Coney Island. The program will be conducted in English at 12 p.m. and Mandarin at 3 p.m. The Coney Island History Project is offering this special walking tour free of charge as part of Immigrant Heritage Week 2019.

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And, for those who are interested in participating, registration will also be open for the 37th Annual Mermaid Parade, which takes place on June 22. For more information, visit

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