NEW YORK (AP) — Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, step right up and witness Coney Island’s Luna Park like you’ve never seen it before.
The beachfront tourist destination will soon be introducing three new attractions and pedestrian plazas on several acres along the iconic Coney Island, New York, boardwalk as part of Luna Park's expansion.
“Coney Island been this great, rich place with so much legacy and emotions and memories for all — not just New Yorkers, but Americans,” said Alessandro Zamperla of Central Amusement International, which operates the park.
Of the three new attractions are two intertwined rides: a roller coaster called “Tony’s Express” and a log flume ride called “Leti’s Treasure.” The two rides are designed to pay homage to classic, 19th century Coney Island rides, as well as Zamperla’s family, which has been involved in circuses, carnivals and amusement parks for generations. The rides are named after Zamperla's late grandparents, Antonio and Letizia.
Tony’s Express is modeled after America’s first roller coaster, the Switchback Railway, which opened on Coney Island in 1884. Leti’s Treasure is a throwback to Shoot the Chutes, another Coney Island classic, which opened a year later in 1885.
As part of the expansion, Luna Park will also introduce a 50-foot (15-meter) Sky Chaser Ropes Course and pedestrian plazas that will increase the size of the park by 50%, using land that has been vacant for almost half a century.
Coney Island's original Luna Park was destroyed by a fire and then sold in the 1940s, but the park was reborn in 2010 with the construction of a new Luna Park, which has been evolving and expanding since then.
“We’ve been blessed to be in the amusement park industry and overall entertainment for more than five generations,” Zamperla said. “So for us to be here and to be really associated with the revitalization and really kind of rebirth of Coney Island is extremely exciting and a great honor.”
The new attractions, excluding Tony's Express, are still under construction, but Zamperla said he hopes the new rides and plazas will be open to the public by the middle of summer.