New York's Coney Island will once again host a major amusement park when Zamperla's $30 million Luna Park project opens to the public on May 29, 2010.
The once-thriving coastal resort lost one of its major attractions in September 2008, when the struggling Astroland park closed for good. Luna Park will be based on the same city-owned site, which is situated between the famous Coney Island Cyclone rollercoaster and the iconic Deno's Wonder Wheel.
The new park will operated by Central Amusement International, which is majority owned by Italian ride manufacturing giant Zamperla. The company already operates Victorian Gardens in New York's Central Park and Minitalia Leolandia near Milan in Italy, and will use Luna Park as a showcase of Zamperla's ride catalog. It plans to install a total of 19 rides in time for the park's opening during the Memorial Day weekend, with a second amusement area - dubbed "Scream Zone at Coney Island" - opening in 2011. According to New York City's official plans, Scream Zone will feature two custom-designed rollercoasters along with two other thrill rides.
Among the headline attractions at Luna Park will be Air Race, the first ride of its type in the world. It will see riders boarding mock fighter jets which will spin and barrel roll around a central control tower, simulating the experience of real-life fighter pilots. The park will also be home to two rollercoasters - The Tickler, a spinning wild mouse coaster and Lunar Express, a space-theme mine train coaster. Full details of the park's 19 attractions can be found on the LA Times travel blog.
Luna Park is named after a previous amusement park which operated at Coney Island between 1903 and 1944. The original park played a key role in establishing amusement parks as fixtures of coastal resorts, and directly influenced the opening of similar attractions such as Blackpool's Pleasure Beach as well as the identically-named Luna Parks in Melbourne and Sydney in Australia.
Like many resorts that boomed during the early 20th century, Coney Island has been in decline for many years. The new Luna Park is part of a planned $150 million regeneration of the area, which is being championed by New York major Michael Bloomberg.