Luna Park, Coney Island
Luna Park logo
|Location||Coney Island, Brooklyn, United States|
|Operated by||Central Amusement International, LLC|
|General Manager||Fernando Velasquez|
|Closed||First: Destroyed by fire in 1944, closed in 1946|
|Area||3.16-acre (12,800 m2)|
Luna Park is the name of two amusement parks in the neighborhood of Coney Island, Brooklyn in New York City. The first amusement park existed from 1903 to 1944. A second Luna Park was opened on the former site of the nearby Astroland amusement park, and opened on May 29, 2010.
The park's creators, Frederic Thompson and Elmer "Skip" Dundy, created a wildly successful ride called "A Trip To The Moon", a part of the Pan-American Exposition in 1901 at Buffalo, New York. The name of the winged spacecraft (which was not a rocket, but flapped its wings) was Luna, the Latin word for the moon. During a discussion of the name of the park, "Dundy suggested the name of his sister in Des Moines, Luna Dundy Newman."
At the invitation of Steeplechase owner Harry George Tilyou, Thompson and Dundy moved their show to Steeplechase Park, a Coney Island amusement park, for the 1902 season. At the end of that season, the partners obtained a long-term lease for the site of an older amusement park, Sea Lion Park, and rebuilt it as Luna Park, the second major amusement park in Coney Island. Although they claimed the park was named after one of their female relatives, it was probably named for the ship. The architecture was quite fanciful, with thousands of electric lamps on the outside of the buildings at a time when electrification was still a novelty.
Witching Waves was one of the most popular rides at Luna Park, invented by Theophilus Van Kannel, who also invented the revolving door. The ride consisted of a large oval course with a flexible metal floor. There were hidden reciprocating levers that produced a wave-like motion. The floor itself did not move but the moving wave propelled two seated small scooter-style cars with two seats, which could be steered by the riders. In 1910, it was moved and installed on the Bowery in Manhattan.
- We'll take a trip up to the moon
- For that is the place for a lark
- So meet me down at Luna, Lena
- Down at Luna Park
The song was rerecorded for the 2007 documentary film Welcome Back Riders.
A pair of fires in 1944 damaged Luna Park, destroying much of it. It was not rebuilt and did not open for the 1945 season. After a legal battle and a third fire in 1946, the land was used for other purposes. The original Luna Park now houses a five building cooperative apartment complex and is still called Luna Park to this day.
Resurrection of Luna Park
In 2005, the Coney Island Development Corporation released the "Coney Island Revitalization Plan", which laid out its plan to preserve and grow the historic amusement area; create a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood with new retail options and nearly 5,000 new units of housing, including 900 income-targeted units; and generate more than 25,000 construction jobs and 6,000 permanent jobs. In July 2009, the City passed the Coney Island Rezoning Plan, setting the stage for development in Coney Island's amusement district.
The new Luna Park opened May 29, 2010. Its entrance is patterned after the entrance to the original 1903 Luna Park and was built on the ground of the former Astroland amusement park which closed after the 2008 season. The new park is the home of nineteen new attractions and games. It is the only area in Coney Island in which the use of cash to pay for amusements and rides is not allowed; visitors must buy Luna Cards and spend Luna Credits or use an unlimited ride wristband that allows for four hours of ride time on select rides.
- Balloon Expedition
- Circus Coaster
- Coney Island Hang Glider
- Coney Island Sound
- Coney Tower
- Lynn's Trapeze
- Surf's Up
- Beach Shack
- Big Top Express
- Happy Swing
- Mermaid Parade
- Speed Boat
- Sea Serpent
- Tea Party
For the 2011 season, an addition called Scream Zone opened that features four new rides. While part of Luna Park, it is marketed as a separate destination. The Scream Zone logo bears a resemblance to "Tillie", the grinning face that adorned the outside of the Palace Amusements in Asbury Park, New Jersey, which is a nod to legendary Steeplechase Park owner Harry George Tilyou.
- Boardwalk Flight
- Coney Island Raceway - Go-Kart Track
- Steeplechase - A Zamperla launching motocoaster with trains resembling horses.
- Soarin' Eagle - A Zamperla flying coaster where riders lay on stomachs, cars go up a spiral lift hill.
- Zenobio - A booster-type ride
In popular culture
- Pilat, Oliver and Jo Ranson, Sodom By the Sea: An Affectionate History of Coney Island, Garden City: Doubleday, Doran & Co., 1941, p. 146
- Hall of Fame / Inventor Profile: Theophilus Van Kannel, National Inventors Hall of Fame, USA.
- Amusement Parks: Witching Waves 1, The Film Vault.
- MP3 file
- Ed Boland, jr., "FYI: An elephant's demise," New York Times, July 8, 2001, pg. CY2
-  Luna Park (co-op)
- New York City Economic Development Corporation. "Press Images". Retrieved 11 April 2010.
- Luna Park. "Park Prices". Retrieved 2 January 2013.
- Luna Park Attractions
- "Coney Island Gets a $30 Million Italian Makeover." The New York Times. April 23, 2010.
- "Luna Park Opens at Coney Island." USA Today. May 27, 2010.
- Luna Park. "Ride Credits". Retrieved 2 January 2013.
- "‘Scream Zone’ Opens, Joining Luna Park in Coney Island". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. 2011-04-20. Retrieved 2011-05-11.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Luna Park, Coney Island.|
- Official website
- Billy Murray and the Haydn Quartet sing "Meet Me Down at Luna, Lena"
- Luna Park history site with numerous pictures