An Eerie Tour Of Coney Island Before It Opens

coney island, luna park, march 2012, bi, dng

Photo: Daniel Goodman / Business Insider

On April Fool’s day, Coney Island will open and welcome in its first wave of visitors for the 2012 season.

We got a chance to see it in the eerie off-season, when the tourists are gone and the sea breeze is bitter cold. However, the Wonder Wheel, which sheds its cabins for the winter, was already dressed for the season. 

As the city and various developers debated over the fate of Coney Island and proposals for year round amusement Park were floated around in early 2009, many residents feared what the future would bring. Yet when we had the chance to revisit Luna Park as it prepared for the upcoming season, we saw that not much had changed.

When we visited Coney Island, the park was still closed

but the set up was well under way.

Set up begins a month before the park opens on April 1st.

Zamperla is the parent company of CAI, which currently operates Luna Park..

Scream Zone...

and the Cyclone.

Deno's park and Wonder Wheel are still owned by the Vourderis family

No ticket lines today.

Luna Park and the Scream Zone are visited by about 650,000 people a year

For the Cyclone, that number is closer to 200,000

It takes approximately 350 CAI employees to run all parks during peak season.

Some employees are kept throughout the year as maintenance is performed all year long.

Eclipse is one of the high thrill rides located in the Luna Park.

Brooklyn Flyer, another high thrill ride that takes you 100 feet up above Coney Island, was grounded at the time of our visit.

For those looking for a moderate thrill, Coney Island Sound might be the ride to try.

Although, we would rather try our hand at being a pilot on Air Race.

Starting this year, the CAI operated attractions will run on electricity rather than generators.

Brian Williams, the spokesperson for CAI, says the decision was made based on stability

48,000 gallons of gas were used last year to run the parks.

Deno's Wonder Wheel, on the other hand, is going solar

The wheel, which has been dark for over 30 years, will now be lit up thanks to $50,000 solar-powered system

The small solar panels will be installed on top of the ride's 16 swinging cars by the end of Memorial Day

It's not just the rides that undergo maintenance prior to the opening day.

Besides all the rides, Coney Island is filled with arcade games...

... refreshment stands and attractions such as the Freak Show...

The original Nathan's...

and the parachute jump

It's safe to say that Coney Island still retains its character and charm.

And its resident have not changed much, either.

Although, some parts might need a face lift.

So as early as this weekend, after the cobwebs have been swept away

You can head out to Coney Island and let Cyclone rattle your bones

just make sure you are tall enough to ride

and don't forget your prizes at the end of the day.

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