Coney Island Wonder Wheel reopens

Iconic park will feature Phoenix, a coaster symbolizing its rebirth

The Wonder Wheel in Coney Island (Getty)
The Wonder Wheel in Coney Island (Getty)

An excursion synonymous with summer in New York City is back.

Coney Island’s iconic amusement park will reopen today as its famous Wonder Wheel starts turning, the Brooklyn Paper reported.

“It’s exciting, but at the same time, we know that we have a responsibility to open safely. And that responsibility comes before anything else,” DJ Vourderis, whose family has operated Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park since his grandfather Deno bought it in 1983, told the publication.

The park will require thrill seekers to take some precautions, such as wearing masks and social distancing, while it operates at 33 percent capacity, and only on the weekends until Memorial Day, after which it will open daily through Labor Day.

Soon it will feature a new roller coaster named Phoenix to symbolize the park’s rebirth after the pandemic.

The $12 million investment, split between land acquisition and construction, might open before this year’s season ends.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced more than a month ago that outdoor amusement parks could reopen beginning April 9 at reduced capacity. Guests can reserve a time online to enter the park.

Luna Park, another Coney Island amusement park, put its $20 million expansion on ice when Covid descended on the city early last year. The expansion included plans for winter attractions.

Last year Luna Park began negotiating with the city for a lease extension through 2040, which it believes would help it endure, if not become a year-round attraction.

The Vourderis family said it will maintain its annual “Blessing of the Rides” tradition to open its park, with civic leaders and local residents gathering for a ribbon-cutting. The family plans to honor health care workers at the ceremony, which will double as the park’s 100-year anniversary celebration.

“We would like health care workers to be the first ones on the Wonder Wheel,” DJ told the local publication.

The park turned 100 years old last year, but no celebration was held because of the pandemic.

[Brooklyn Paper] — Orion Jones