Coney Island came to life. And it came back, not in a metaphorical way, but in a real way, because this Friday, after having been closed for 18 months, 13 of them due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the most famous amusement park in New York, and one of the best known in the world, started engines again and shot all its attractions in style.
From early in the morning, and after an official ceremony, in which city leaders and authorities gathered to proudly show a new step on the road to normalization of the Big Apple, Coney Island was noisy again, laughter, joy, hot dogs, kids running around, happy families, and a sense of hope that many New Yorkers lacked, then of the nightmare that the city has lived since March of last year. Coney Island has a soul again and with it, New York is breathing harder.
At least that’s the feeling of Robert Serrano, a young man of Puerto Rican origin, who this Friday did not stop dancing and smiling at being able to return to work attending to visitors who want to ride on the famous mechanical wheel Wonder Wheel, that last year he turned 100, and whose celebration should have been postponed until next summer.
“I feel very happy. Completely happy, because the fact that the park reopens means that the city will have more joy and more hope “, commented the worker of Coney Island.
Hazel Delgado He didn’t need to talk much to convey what he felt. Accompanied by her little Cynthia and her teenage daughter Cecil, their faces said everything.
“We are very happy, The children wanted fun and we came to have fun, ”said the proud mother, who rode her little ones in several of the park’s attractions, among which the Ciclón, Circus Candy, Fire Patrol, Rainbowheel, AeroMax, Grand Prix and the roller coasters were once again protagonists and some newcomers.
“This is more than just a park, this is a triumph against the darkest moments that we have lived as humanity and to be able to go out again and come to breathe next to the beach, ride with the children in some mechanical games and then go out, walk along the boardwalk and end the day with a good hot dog , is priceless and fills one with joy, “said the Colombian Marlon Mancera, who was taking a walk in the park with her two young children.
And even though the reopening of Coney Island It was quite a success for the attendees who went there on the first day of resumption of “the fun”, the crowds of other times were not seen, in part because the day was a bit cold and because the State’s order is that they will not be able to operate beyond 33% capacity.
That is clear to those who work at the attractions, whose tickets must be previously purchased online. The only pass allowed that is a fundamental requirement is “go have fun”.
And that yes, they knew how to do it to the letter not only the families and couples who were spotted at the attractions, but also a group of essential workers and leaders of the Big Apple, such as Mayor Bill de Blasio, who rode the popular Cyclone and released laughter, adrenaline and a lot of positivity and faith that the best is yet to come for New York, after the fatal blow that COVID-19 dealt.
So he warned Mayor De Blasio, who at the reopening ceremony was very proud and cheerful.
“Coney Island is back, the attractions are back, and now New York City will be back. That feels. I am very excited about what will happen in Coney Island this summer, ”said the local president. “This is an amazing community, one of the best neighborhoods in New York City. I always tell people that if they visit New York City, they can’t appreciate the city, they can’t feel the city, they can’t understand the city, unless they come to Coney Island. “
Mayor, who took the opportunity to proclaim April 9 as the official Day of Luna Park and the Wonder Wheel, took the opportunity to honor and thank the first line of risk workers who helped keep New York alive in the midst of the worst days of the pandemic, which has not yet left the city.
“All the attractions open today, our hearts also open because we love this place. We love this place and we love the fact that today we are focusing on our health care heroes. We are giving them the first opportunities here because they helped us to overcome the crisis. They were there day after day. Everyone applauds the health heroes who are here today, ”said the Mayor, before they were the first to ride the Cyclone.
De Blasio also mentioned that the beaches this year will open without delays and predicted that Coney Island will live in summer full of “energy and life.”
The City Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, He also showed his happiness at the reopening of Coney Island, and stressed that after a very difficult year, hope has returned.
“Last season countless New Yorkers missed the excitement and joy of these historic attractions… but Coney Island is back and will be better than ever,” the official said.
But beyond the joy and enjoyment of the attractions available to New Yorkers and tourists, the Acting President of the Economic Development Corporation, Rachel Loeb, highlighted that the reopening of Coney Islan is a boost to the economy and great news for businesses and sellers in the area, who have been with the roller coaster in the lowest part of their finances due to the long closure.
“This will bring relief to so many businesses that were affected by the pandemic and bring a smile back to the faces of all New Yorkers,” Loeb said.
And that’s the same sentiment that famous fast food vendors like Nathan’s and neighborhood merchants harbor.
“We hope that things will settle down little by little, but I am hopeful that as the days go by, our situation will be much better, because the reopening of the park will undoubtedly bring many people,” he said. Cristian Hoyer, who sells necklaces and jewelery items next to the park.
Your countrywoman, Ileana LunaHe also shared his joy for the return to life of the mechanical attractions and was optimistic about what he described as the beginning of the best times.
“I feel like this is going to boost a lot not just in Coney Island, but the entire city.Well, you can feel that people are leaving more and it is necessary that we take those steps towards better conditions and be able to return to work within normalcy, ”said the Mexican.
And while he finished roasting his corn, to one side at the descent of the boardwalk, the Ecuadorian Rosa Noma, He only asked that the coming times bring prosperity and joy, but also a lot of support for the most vulnerable workers in the sector.
“I am very happy that more people are coming, because there will be more sales, but I wish they would give more permits to people like me, who earn an honest living, so that the police or anyone else does not bother us and we can all get ahead. “Said the young saleswoman, with the rude of the roller coaster and the cyclone in the background and laughter from the children.
Coney Island returned and the wish of her and of many is that it be forever and that the irons of the attractions are not silent again. Either the pandemic is over and the Big Apple looks a bit like what it was before or, like the amusement park rides, it returns with an improved version.
Visitor Rules for Coney Island Attractions
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.