Astroland

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Astroland
Location Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Coordinates 40°34′28″N 73°58′45″W / 40.574331°N 73.979176°W / 40.574331; -73.979176Coordinates: 40°34′28″N 73°58′45″W / 40.574331°N 73.979176°W / 40.574331; -73.979176
Opened 1962
Closed September 7, 2008
Operating season March–November
Area 3.1 acres (1.3 ha)
Rides
Total approximately 36
Roller coasters 2
Astroland

Astroland was a 3.1-acre (1.3 ha) amusement park in Coney Island first opened in 1962. It was located at 1000 Surf Avenue (Corner of West 10th Street) on the boardwalk. It ceased operations on September 7, 2008.

History[edit]

Astroland was first built as a "space-age" theme park when it opened in 1962, although in later years "a visit [was] more like stepping into the past than the future."[1] Some of the later rides were similar to regular carnival rides, but others offered a kitsch experience that was lacking in modern amusement parks.

In 1955, Dewey Albert and his friends Nathan Handwerker, Herman Rapps, Sidney Robbins and Paul Yampo formed a corporation called Coney Island Enterprises. In 1957, Rapps and Albert announced they would build Wonderland. Through a series of acquisitions, together they built what is today known as Astroland, with rides including the Tower to the Stars or Astrotower gyro tower, the Cape Canaveral Satellite Jet emulating a trip to the Moon, the Mercury Capsule Skyride carrying patrons in bubble cars across the park to the boardwalk, and the Neptune Diving Bells, a duplicate of an Atlantic City ride that took patrons 30 feet down into a tank to watch porpoises and fish. In June 1975 Astroland was chosen to be the new operator of the Cyclone, the famous wooden roller coaster, which stood on Parks Department land. On July 12, 1975, an early-morning fire wiped out much of the park, but they were able to rebuild.[2]

On November 28, 2006, Astroland was sold by the Albert family for US $30 million to Thor Equities, which planned to redevelop the area as a $1.5 billion year-round resort. Under the agreement, the Alberts would continue to operate the Cyclone. At the time, the Alberts hoped to relocate attractions like the water flume and the Astrotower to another part of the neighborhood.[3]

After the sale, opposition to the relocation plan emerged. Efforts supporting the extension of Astroland's existence for the 2008 summer season were established.[4] Astroland celebrated the 45th anniversary of its opening on April 1, 2007.

It was announced October 24, 2007, that the Albert family and Thor had reached a deal, and that Astroland would re-open March 16, 2008. However, after a few months when no agreement between the two parties could be reached, Astroland closed on September 7, 2008.[5][6] It was replaced in 2009 by a new park called Dreamland Amusement Park.[7] A new amusement park called Luna Park, named after Brooklyn's famous park and other Luna Parks from the early twentieth century, opened for the 2010 season on May 29, 2010, at the former site of Astroland.

The co-founder of Astroland, Jerry Albert, died on March 15, 2012, after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease.

Local legend has it that restaurateur Charles Feltman invented the hot dog in the area of Astroland in 1874.[8]

On July 2, 2013, Luna Park was evacuated as a precaution due to a problem with the Astrotower swaying. The FDNY responded to the park after concerns regarding the structural integrity of the former operational ride, which is situated in the center of the amusement area.[9] Due to situation some of the rides in the area of the tower, may have to be closed the Fourth of July. A portion of the Astrotower will be taken down beginning the night of July 3.[10][11] Demolition crews worked thought the night into the morning of July 4 to remove part of the Astrotower, and Luna Park reopened to visitors at 3 PM EDT.[12] By July 6, the Astrotower had been reduced to a four foot high stump, and the pieces were sold to a local junkyard for scrap.


Rides and attractions[edit]

Adult rides[edit]

[8]

Kiddie rides[edit]

  • Pirate Jet
  • Mini Tea Cups
  • Frog Hopper
  • Motorcycle Jump
  • Super
  • Himalaya
  • Fire Engines
  • Big Apple Coaster
  • Mini Trucks
  • Convoy
  • Popeye Boats
  • Circuit 2000
  • Carousel
  • Kiddie Roller Coaster (Replace for Big Apple Coaster)
  • Dune Buggy Jump[8]

Other attractions[edit]

  • More than ten games of skill
  • Three arcades
  • Two Coney Island-style restaurants[8]

In popular culture[edit]

Astroland features in the 2003 movie Uptown Girls and was in the 1979 movie The Warriors. It is mentioned in the song "Brooklyn" by Woodkid. It was also the location of the music video "Summer Girls" performed by LFO. A scene in the 2009 movie Thick as Thieves takes place there.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Astroland, Fodor's, archived on June 13, 2007 at the Internet Archive.
  2. ^ Jeffrey Stanton, Coney Island - Astroland, 1998.
  3. ^ Associated Press, "Coney Island's Astroland Amusement Park sold to developer", USA Today, November 28, 2006.
  4. ^ Local petition to extend Astroland through the summer 2008 season, archived on May 2, 2009 at the Internet Archive.
  5. ^ Mike McLaughlin, "Astroland is Truly Dead", The Brooklyn Paper, September 5, 2008.
  6. ^ Rich Calder, "Brooklyn’s Top 10 stories of the decade", The Brooklyn blog, New York Post, January 5, 2010.
  7. ^ Jotham Sederstrom , "Dreamland amusement park to take place of Astroland at Coney Island", Daily News, April 8, 2009.
  8. ^ a b c d Famous Astroland Rides and Attractions, Astroland.com, updated 2012, retrieved January 15, 2013.
  9. ^ "Coney Island’s Luna Park Evacuated Due To Stability Worries At Astrotower". CBS New New York. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  10. ^ "Astrotower to be partially dismantled, some closures on the Fourth". WABC TV. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  11. ^ "Luna Park To Begin Removing Portion Of Astrotower Wednesday". NY1. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  12. ^ "Luna Park to reopen after Astrotower demolition". WABC TV. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 

External links[edit]