Travel The Thrills Are Back at Coney Island's Amusement Parks After a 529-day Shutdown
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For 529 days, the sound of silence hung over. But on Friday, music filled the air, as high-speed coasters and the iconic Ferris wheel got moving again and the entire boardwalk returned to some semblance of its old self, despite being limited to one-third capacity.
Thein Brooklyn pushed the pause button, as always, for their seasonal shutdown in the fall of 2019. But as the pandemic set in, they remained closed for the entirety of 2020. And it wasn't until Feb. 17, when that outdoor amusement parks could reopen at 33% capacity starting April 9, that the recovery process could begin.
How Coney Island Became the Place to Be on a Summer Day in New York City
A look at the rise, fall, and rebuilding of a summer wonderland.While the beachfront neighborhood has a storied history dating back to the early 1800s, it wasn't until the 1960s and '70s that Coney Island started to develop into the area we know today. Due in part to redevelopments and rezoning under Robert Moses, a public works official who transformed the New York City landscape during his time in office, the area was reimagined in an attempt to modernize — but not all changes were considered successful.
"It's the thing that makes us who we are. We're the family that runs the Wonder Wheel," DJ Vourderis, whose family has owned and operatedsince it opened over a century ago, told . The 15-story wheel has long been a staple of the Coney Island skyline, yet the family found themselves facing the possibility of permanently closing during the pandemic. "The financial hole that we're in is deep. And we have creditors knocking on the door," he admitted, adding that they pretty much made no money last year — a year that should have been celebrated as the 100th anniversary of the Wonder Wheel.
But on Friday, the wheel was back in motion — and receiving a major honor as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared it Deno's Wonder Wheel Day. "It's a year late, but that's okay. We get to mark history," he said while presenting the park with the proclamation. "One hundred years, Deno's Wonder Wheel, 100 years, a century of joy, a century of wonderful family memories." As the ride spun again, some of the first to ride were.
6 Products That Celebrate and Support U.S. National Parks
Find out how brands like Park Projects, National Geographic, L.L. Bean, and more support the U.S. national parks through their unique product lines.The Parks Project, which helps fund specific projects for different national parks, has teamed up with National Geographic for a clothing collection featuring items like hats and shirts. All the pieces utilize the iconic magazine's design while combining it with the Parks Project aesthetic. This T-shirt shows off the cover of the July 1979 issue of National Geographic celebrating the U.S. national parks.
Over at, best known for its Cyclone roller coaster, the impact of the day was also huge. "It's a very emotional day. We wanted to spread positivity," Alessandro Zamperla, president of Central Amusement International Inc., which runs the park, said at a ceremony before opening on Friday, . "It's been very tough, but now is really a day of celebration, a day where we get together and we want to inspire people to come here, to really be able to have fun." Among the earliest thrill seekers to board the Cyclone was de Blasio, . The park even debuted six new rides for young guests "to continue the Coney Island tradition of seaside thrills and fun," Zamperla .
Both amusement parks areon Saturdays and Sundays, with the hope of expanding after Memorial Day.
While the limited capacity isn't quite the same as before, it's still a step forward — something that's also captured in, which will open later this summer, . "The name Phoenix was chosen because of the symbolism of rising from the ashes," Vourderis said. "But we also plan on having a more accepting and loving world from these ashes."
7 of the best national parks for wheelchair users .
National parks have long been some of America’s greatest assets, but over the past year, they have gained even more popularity. Thanks to huge outdoor spaces where social distancing is easy to do, more and more people are flocking to national parks to see the country’s natural beauty. While it’s fantastic that the national parks …While it’s fantastic that the national parks are finally getting the recognition they deserve, some aspects of them can often be challenging for wheelchair users. Rough terrain and steep trails are associated with many of the nation’s most-known outdoor experiences, but there are a variety of phenomenally wheelchair-accessible national parks as well.