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Cold, Cloudy Coney Island Opens For Spring

Ellen Levitt

Posted on March 26, 2018 21:38

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Despite the unusually chilly temperatures and snow still on the ground, Brooklyn's legendary Coney Island rides and attractions had their opening weekend

Brooklyn's legendary Coney Island just opened for the spring season, even though there were still piles of snow scattered about, temperatures were in the low 40s and the skies were cloudy. Iconic and world-renowned amusement park rides such as the landmarked wooden roller coaster the Cyclone and the huge Wonder Wheel, along with other rides, carnival games and eateries were officially opened up to the public, and people of all ages visited.

On Sunday morning the first one hundred riders on the Cyclone went for free; the Brooklyn Seltzer Boys offered delicious egg cream drinks and local performers such as the boisterous King Henry, the Apple Boys barbershop quartet, mascot Mr. Met (of the National League baseball team) and stilt walkers joined with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and other dignitaries, to usher in a new season of outdoor thrills and entertainment.

Although not every ride was ready and running, most were, even though piles of snow were still found on the Boardwalk and beside a few of the kiddy rides. Children and adults flocked to attractions and rides such as the Tickler, the Steeplechase, Soarin' Eagle, the high-flying Sling Shot, the historic B & B Carousell and many children's rides. Although it was in action, no one seemed to ride Wild River, a water flume with a dramatic drop.

A deejay played pop hits from the 1970s and 1980s, while a few customers jumped up on the small stage and sang along. Local news stations had reporters roaming around, videotaping happy and nostalgic visitors. The Guardian Angels, a decades-old community security squad, brought children to play at Stop The Zombies and other games. Barkers beckoned to guests to play games and win prizes such as cartoon-character plush toys. People bought and ate food at the world-famous Nathan's Famous and other snack bars. 

The day before people had the opportunity to go on rides for a mere $5 donation with funds going to local charities. Some folks also took turns on the Thunderbolt roller coaster and the Coney Island Raceway go cart ride. A few brave souls ventured onto the sand and skirted the surf, strong waves pounding the edge. 

On typical hot summer days Coney Island, including Luna Park and Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, are packed with visitors. Thus it was more than a bit strange to see many people here, bundled up in their down parkas and sporting knit caps, as opposed to bathing suits, t-shirts and shorts.

True, on New Year's Day there were a few hundred swimmers who joined in the annual Polar Bear swim and this year's dip was quite frigid. But this chilly late March opening weekend was still a welcome event for many New Yorkers and tourists, who were eager to hop on thrill rides and eat hot dogs and snap photographs as they strolled the grounds. With visions of warmer weather in the near future, Coney Island opened to an enthusiastic public.

 

Ellen Levitt

Posted on March 26, 2018 21:38

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