World-famous rides like the Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel are back, along with some new attractions!
- --now begin with the coronavirus pandemic and a major step forward on the road to reopening, with the return of the iconic Luna Park in Coney Island.
- The park will welcome back guests today for the first time in 18 months. But even with today's reopening, there are still several safety protocols in place. And capacity is limited to just 50%.
- Eyewitness News reporter Derick Waller live at Coney Island with the details. Derick.
DERICK WALLER: And Ken, Shirleen, good morning. Health care workers from Coney Island Hospital are going to be among the first guests to come back to Luna Park when the ribbon cutting happens this morning at 11:00 AM. Finally, back open after 18 months. The pandemic sent a crushing blow to Coney Island, shutting down the rides for all of last season and keeping visitors away from local businesses.
Now, with vaccinations on the rise, the park is reopening today at 33% capacity. Those world-famous rides are back, like the Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel, all the good food, as well as some new attractions. But there will be changes.
For one, you must book your trip in advance on the Luna Park website. No wandering around. You have to have a wristband. And a mask must be worn at all times.
ALESSANDRO ZAMPERLA: We've been preparing for 10 months, you know? In terms of social distancing, you can see around. And everything's marked up to make sure everyone's social distancing.
We have something very different for Coney Island, which is a controlled capacity. Usually, traditionally, people can walk in and out. This moment, we are an admission park. So only guests, you know, with credentials can access the premises.
DERICK WALLER: And so back here live at Luna Park on Coney Island. And it's dark right now, but obviously that Wonder Wheel is going to be lit up once again and spinning for the first time in 18 months later on today. So that is some very exciting news, as we crawl ourselves out of this pandemic.
The park is going to be open weekends until Memorial Day. At that point, they're going to open at seven days a week all summer long at 50% capacity.