Coney Island amusement rides open for the summer

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 14, 2014 at 8:54 am •  Published: April 14, 2014
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NEW YORK (AP) — The Coney Island amusement park opened Sunday for another season — with a 1920s wooden roller-coaster and a new, steel one ready to roll at breakneck speeds.

In Luna Park, Italian amusement tycoon Alberto Zamperla joined Eric Adams as the Brooklyn borough president christened the Cyclone roller-coaster with a local tradition: cracking a bottle of egg cream on the first car.

Zamperla stepped off his Cyclone ride, declaring in Italian: "This is entertainment that seems dangerous, but it isn't — it's an adrenaline rush. It's happiness, it's lightness."

Isabel Peters described it her way when she emerged from the 87-year-old ride that got a $3 million makeover in recent years. She paid only $6 for the experience — a first-day discount from the usual $9 thrill.

"Once you get up to the top, going down, it's like a free fall," said the 25-year-old software engineer from Berlin, Germany. "It's scary, but I'd absolutely do it again."

Sunday was opening day for the 40 rides of Luna Park, where 750 local residents are employed. Twenty of the rides were manufactured in the Zamperla factory outside Vicenza, in northeast Italy.

Deno's Wonder Wheel also started up on Sunday, operated separately from the Zamperla rides.

The new Italian-made roller-coaster, the Thunderbolt, is scheduled to open Memorial Day weekend on the same spot as the 1920s Thunderbolt that appears in Woody Allen's movie "Annie Hall."