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A long-awaited extension to Coney Island’s Luna Park, previously postponed by the coronavirus pandemic, finally kicked off Tuesday morning, less than a year before it opened to the public.
“It’s an incredible day for us, there are so many emotions,” said Alessandro Zamperla, President and CEO of Central Amusement International, the developer and operator hired by the city to manage Luna Park.
Zamperla halted its expansion plans for Luna Park in March 2020 when COVID-19 halted all new construction and chose not to restart the project as the entertainment district faced financial uncertainty during this season who passed.
Now, after a successful summer for the Entertainment District, the park owner is relaunching a project that he says will bring a variety of new entertainment to the People’s Playground – including a bespoke roller coaster that will intertwine with a new channel in logs, a ropes course called the Sky Chaser, and three new pedestrian plazas filled with dining, game and seating options.
Zamperla said the vision for the project is to bring something new to Coney Island. Riegelmann beach and promenade.
“It’s something that we miss,” Zamperla said. “A great ride on the water – it’s something our clients ask for in particular… and then we said we were going to do something really special, something custom made, so not only did we have the ride on the water, but we also have roller coasters.
The project, carried out in partnership with the Department of Parks and the City’s Economic Development Corporation, will also transform the concrete street ends of Stillwell Avenue, West 12th Street and West 15th Street from Wonder Wheel Way to Riegelmann Boardwalk into a new trio of pedestrian plazas that will allow visitors to enjoy the entertainment district more months of the year, Zamperla said.
“These new pedestrian plazas will be an outdoor entertainment destination with food, games and shops adorned with shaded seating and greenery that will invite the community and our guests to relax and enjoy Coney Island for more days. and longer, ”he said. .
Similar to the timber channel, Zamperla said the name of the incoming ropes course, the Sky Chaser, was devised by children at the YMCA of Coney Island. Meanwhile, the names of the roller coaster and the log channel have yet to be decided, he told Brooklyn Paper.
Construction and operation of the new series of rides at Luna Park is expected to create thousands of jobs, which will be easily accessible to the Coney Island community through HireNYC and the Mermaid Avenue Workforce1 Center.
At the October 5 inauguration, local council member Mark Treyger applauded the expansion plan for its mission to revitalize the Entertainment District, especially at a time when Brooklynites need the People’s Playground the most.
“It’s also about activating and reinvigorating this historic amusement district,” Treyger said. “I think this is the most magical place in New York and I think I can say it for sure. We need Coney Island more than ever.
Rachel Loeb, CEO of NYCEDC, said the Entertainment District has made huge strides since the Entertainment District reopened in April, and spoke about all the improvements to the peninsula since the district was rezoned in 2009.
“We are excited about all of the continued growth. You can see all the housing that has happened as a result of the rezoning, all the infrastructure improvements, the resilience improvements, ”Loeb said. “It’s really remarkable to see how we have progressed in 10 years and how far we are going to go.”
The Parks Department deputy commissioner for projects and planning called Luna Park a step in the right direction after a difficult time during the pandemic.
“The whole year there was no Luna Park, there really was no Coney Island,” said David Cerron, “and I think that makes this moment so much more meaningful and exciting. ”