As you read Last Stop in Brooklyn by Lawrence H. Levy, you’ll get a beautiful vision of what Coney Island once looked like, yet a gloomy view into the late-1800s politics and social tensions. While you gear up for this summer’s adventures and the iconic Boardwalk, get your historic mystery crime fix by entering our Last Stop in Brooklyn contest here!
In addition to reading a book set in Coney Island, we decided to feed our excitement for the summer, by asking our friends at Luna Park for some tips for the best day ever, as they reopen the park on March 24!
Between the 1880s and World War II, Coney Island was the largest amusement area in the United States, attracting several million visitors per year. At its height, it contained three competing major amusement parks: Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park. Luna Park was originally opened in 1903 and closed in 1946 after a fire, before reopening in 2010.
From 1885 to 1896, the Elephantine Colossus, also known as the “elephant hotel,” was a seven-story building in the shape of an elephant. At the time, it was the first sight to greet immigrants arriving in New York, who would see the elephant of Coney Island before they even saw the Statue of Liberty.
What was Luna Park like when it opened, and what is it like today?
“When Luna Park re-opened in 2010, there was a vision of creating fun entertainment, and nine seasons later we continue to follow our mission by bringing new rides, improving our guest services and developing fun programming and entertainment. The park itself has expanded, which generates incredible guest loyalty for seasons to come. A lot of the current rides have the same names as the original rides from some 100 years ago!”
What is the most iconic ride at Luna Park?
“It’s the Coney Island Cyclone. It’s classic, iconic and one of the oldest wooden coasters in the country! It’s such a generational ride that has many stories and thrills! Plus, there’s so much history with the Cyclone that resonates with both New Yorkers and tourists.”
What would be your ideal day at Luna Park?
“It depends on the person, but if you’re a thrill-seeker, go extreme and start the day on The Steel Coaster, The Thunderbolt and alternate between our biggest rides throughout the day. If you’re not a huge thrill-seeker, we have milder rides like the Teacups or The Tickler. No matter your preference, we recommend to include iconic theme park games and classic Coney Island snacks to have the best day ever!”
Do you have any fun facts to share about Luna Park?
- Beyoncé filmed “XO” music video on The Cyclone in 2013
- Say Yes to the Dress filmed an episode in October 2017
- The Cyclone celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2017
- Luna Park was featured in the movie Spiderman Homecoming
- Bon Jovi filmed the music video Roller Coaster at Luna Park
- Actor Paul Rudd is a huge fan of the Cyclone, so maybe you’ll see him riding it this summer?
Is there anything new and exciting coming up in 2018?
“There are three new rides coming for the 2018 season: The Cozmo Jet, The Coney Clipper, and Astro Tower!”
As a local, what would make the best day ever in Coney Island?
“Some of the best experiences are the most iconic ones, so grab a front row seat on the Coney Island Cyclone, eat a hot dog at Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs, and enjoy the boardwalk in the sun!”