Many parks in the northeast US opened on April 4th, but I got my first taste of theme parks in 2009 on Sunday the 5th with a visit to Coney Island, NY. It was pretty nice out, probably around 65F with only wispy clouds decorating the sky. The drive to Coney Island was hectic as always with annoyingly narrow road lanes, aggressive drivers, and sudden lane changes.
Upon arriving on Coney Island, I drove down Surf Ave, hoping to find street side parking, but to no avail. I then ended up on Brighton Beach Ave, which is this sucky, crowded, pedestrian filled road that travels under an elongated subway overpass; I eventually managed to escape down side street to turn around.
I finally pulled into the Keyspan Park parking lot, resigned to paying whatever to park there. However I found no one manning the gates or patrolling the lot so I just pulled into a spot and hoped that I was allowed to do so for free!
The boardwalk was fairly crowded with everyone enjoying the unusually great weather. I strolled down the boardwalk, past the vacant lots that are Sitt-land, past Deno’s Wonderwheel Park, and past the remains of Astroland on my way to the Cyclone.
I took a few pictures of the Cyclone before purchasing a ticket to ride which cost $8.00 bucks; expensive but then again it is the Cyclone. Hey, it’s better than paying $10 bucks to cross the Verrazanno Bridge! The Cyclone was great as always with it’s abrupt drops, turns that toss you to the side of the seat, and its out of control style.
After riding I scoped out the old Astroland site to see what was left…which isn’t much. The Water Flume sat there in pieces, some parts stacked neatly with others seemingly strewn about. All of the flatrides like Breakdance and Scrambler were gone, stored somewhere in Staten Island. The only remaining ride is the AstroTower, which is probably very tough to remove. To be honest, the AstroTower is practically a Coney Island icon along with the likes of Cyclone, Wonderwheel, and Parachute Jump; I can’t imagine seeing the Coney skyline without it!
A sign posted on the old Surf Ave entrance to Astroland claimed that Dreamland Park would be constructed on the spot in 2009; I can only wonder what this Sitt-land will be like. Here’s some mandatory destructoporn photos (for lack of a better term) of the former Astroland site…
Next I headed into Deno’s Wonderwheel Park, which hadn’t changed too much since last season other than the addition of a kiddie pirate ship ride. The Wonderwheel was turning in full force with a decent line formed for the ‘swinging cars.’ Thunderbolt was also running despite reports of it being taken apart during the off season. Really, they should have just sold it since Chance Thunderbolt rides are all pretty rough!
Next I checked out the 12th Street Amusements which are in the process of making of making a website! I can’t believe that motley collection of rides are about to hit the web! Anyway, Saturn 6, Bumper Cars, and Polar Express were all running. Ghost Hole didn’t look like it was running and I’ve never seen that little simulator ride running.
Next I headed back out to Surf Ave to see what was going on over at El Dorado Auto Skooters, a bumper car ride on the bottom floor of a building. They really had the bass cranked up with the ground outside vibrating during the low bass drops. Those skooters are awesome, plain and simple; I took a little video with my digital camera since it’s ambiance is better seen in motion. Here are photos from 12th Street Amusements and El Dorado Auto Skooters along with a video…
Next I walked past Nathans only to see a huge line emanating from the building; they hadn’t opened the counters around the building yet, so only three or four registers were open. I decided to pass on my usual frank and cheese fries this time around.
Finally I did another walk down the boardwalk to get some more pictures and to see what else was going on. There were a couple of bands playing on the boardwalk, including one band named Mystic Children who were rocking out as I stopped by. Before leaving I took a stroll down Steeplechase Pier; something I do every time when at Coney. They were doing some well needed construction on the front of the pier and had one side closed gated off. I’ll be looking forward to not tripping all over the raised boards when it’s all done! Here’s the final set of photos…
I left Coney Island at around 5:00pm and wrestled aggressive drivers, narrow lanes, etc, back to North Jersey.