One of the most iconic amusement parks in the United States is the park that sits on Coney Island in New York. Chances are you have heard of Coney Island in pop culture, or you have seen the iconic boardwalk view, or perhaps you have even been lucky enough to have ridden one of the historical rides.
However, there are a few things about this iconic park that you may not know. We are breaking down 5 things about Coney Island that you probably didn’t know.
1. Coney Island isn’t the actual name of the amusement park
Though the name Coney Island has become synonymous with the boardwalk rides and games, the actual park name is not Coney Island. In fact, there are currently two separate parks that makeup Coney Island’s amusement attraction line-up. These two parks are Luna Park and Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park.
Although the amusement park history on Coney Island dates all the way back to the 1800s, these two parks have only been around for the past few decades. In the 1900s, three parks opened on Coney Island: Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park.
Sadly, fires caused the original Luna Park and Dreamland to close. Over the years, many of the iconic attractions changed ownership, and several different owners opened up new parks like New Dreamland, which lasted only one season, and Astroland which was the only operating park for over 20 years. However, in 1983, Denos D. Vourderis purchased the Wonder Wheel and over the years has built up a park with over two dozen attractions for all ages.
The new Luna Park opened in and was formerly Astroland. The park has several thrilling and family-friendly attractions including the iconic Cyclone roller coaster.
2. There are three attractions that have been designated as historical landmarks
The Coney Island Cyclone is one of the oldest and most iconic wooden roller coasters in the world. Several other parks have even designed replicas including Six Flags and a few international parks. The coaster opened up at the original Luna Park back in 1927 and has remained operating for most of its nearly 100 years. The coaster features speeds of 60 miles per hour and has a peak height of 85 feet. In 1991, the Cyclone was named a National Historical Landmark.
The B&B Carousel was built back in 1906. The carousel includes 50 hand-carved horses. Although it has been relocated several times over the years, it currently calls Luna Park home. Over two dozen carousels have called Coney Island home, but the B&B Carousel is now the only operating carousel on Coney Island. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.
Parachute Jump was built for this 1939 New York Worlds Fair and has remained in its current location since being relocated following the World’s Fair. The attraction was just as it sounds, a way for guests to jump with parachutes. A mechanism would lift riders who were strapped to an open parachute up the 250 ft tall tower, and then drop them. Riders would then parachute down. It required more than a dozen employees to operate it and would close during wind and rain.
Unsurprisingly, this attraction is no longer in operation, having closed in the 1960s. Despite not operating for more than 50 years, the tower still remains and is even lit up with colorful lights at night. In 1980, the Parachute Jump tower was added to the National Register of Historic Places and has remained a city landmark.
3. Luna Park is owned and operated by a famous ride manufacturer
In 2010, Anthony Zamperla was brought in to restore the park. Central Amusement International became owners and operators of Luna Park, and CAI is a subsidiary of Zamperla Amusement Group. This manufacturer has an extensive listing of flat rides and coasters that they manufacture. In fact, you have probably ridden a Zamperla ride if you have been to many theme parks. Due to this change in ownership, you will notice that most of the rides at Luna Park are Zamperla rides, because why wouldn’t they be?