Coney Island's iconic Luna Park offered a sneak peak Thursday at how the park will operate when it reopens for the first time in more than a year.
- Mark your calendar. Fun and games return to Coney Island tomorrow, as the Wonder Wheel is set to spin and Luna Park reopens to guests. Newscopter 7 overhead just a short while ago. But as with so many things this year visitors can expect some changes. Eyewitness News reporter Diana Rocco has a look.
DIANA ROCCO: Flying high and swinging low. Rides are back in motion again at Coney Island's iconic Luna Park after 18 long months and a roller coaster pandemic, which kept boardwalk parks closed last summer. Friday Luna Park will open with restrictions, certainly a sight for sore eyes.
- We missed it. We really missed it.
- And there's a lot of pent up demand. People want to get out.
DIANA ROCCO: For weeks workers have been making final preparations, hanging prizes, preparing game booths and testing rides.
ALESSANDRO ZAMPERLA: The Cyclone, the colors of the Thunderbolt for kiddies, you know, we have again these six new rides and other 20, so all the rides will be open and cannot wait to welcome all the guests back.
DIANA ROCCO: The park has hired 300 new employees and will be hiring up to 1,200 by early summer. Open weekends until Memorial Day then seven days a week all summer long at 50% capacity. Masks must be worn at all times.
ALESSANDRO ZAMPERLA: We've been preparing for 10 months. 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 amusement park so only guests with credentials can access the premises.
DIANA ROCCO: The main entrance has changed so park staff can monitor the number of guests coming and going. Social distancing signs and markers are up and hand sanitizing stations have been added.
At 11 o'clock Friday morning these gates will open to guests for the first time in 18 months. The first 100 guests will be health care workers from Coney Island Hospital, as a way for the park to say, thank you.