It wasn't all sun Friday, but that didn't stop the fun in Coney Island. Amusement park rides are running, and the boardwalk is bustling; CBS2's Natalie Duddridge reports.
- It wasn't all sun today, but that didn't stop the fun at Coney Island.
- Amusement park rides are up and running, and the boardwalk is bustling. CBS 2's Natalie Duddridge is there for us live tonight. Natalie.
- She's moving.
NATALIE DUDDRIDGE: Yes, Dick and Jessica. We are moving. I will admit we're on a kiddie ride, but we've already faced enough of a roller coaster year. We have been talking to thrill seekers who say they have been waiting exactly 529 days for the park to reopen and the fun to begin.
Hold on tight. The wait is over. After a 18 month hiatus, Coney Island's Luna Park is ready to ride.
- It goes all the way up, and then it goes all the way down.
HILDA PABON: I got up very early today because I was looking forward to this moment.
NATALIE DUDDRIDGE: Kids of all ages will notice new COVID guidelines like reduced capacity, distanced seating on rides, mask requirements, and regular cleaning. But still, New Yorkers say, things are looking up.
- Couldn't be hearing that last year. And it's so great to be with our fellow New Yorkers.
NATALIE DUDDRIDGE: Special guests Brooklyn frontline workers were honored as Luna Park handed out 500 free wristbands to hospital staff like this nurse who cared for hundreds of COVID patients and lost her own father.
- Very excited to be here, especially in such a tough time
- I love the Cyclone. The Cyclone is one of my favorite rides. It was the first ride I've ever been on as a kid.
NATALIE DUDDRIDGE: Visitors can expect new games and rides this year on top of the classics like Deno's Wonder Wheel and traditions like the egg cream christening--
--bringing out the kid in everyone, even Mayor de Blasio who took a spin on the Cyclone.
BILL DE BLASIO: Coney Island coming back is part of New York City's recovery, New York City's comeback. Coney Island, it's going to be an amazing summer. I'm telling you.
NATALIE DUDDRIDGE: Luna Park employs more than 1,000 people, and it's a big boost for all the restaurants and shops in the area and along the boardwalk.
DICK ZIGUN: We are a major employer of teenagers entering the workforce, summer jobs, thousands of jobs.
WILLIAM PETROSINO: The most important thing is to have the kids smiling, and everyone is happy. And it's a good place.
NATALIE DUDDRIDGE: Dick and Jessica, we finally stopped. We've been spinning for a little while. Plus we ate a Nathan's hot dog, so it was time for us to go. But I just want to make a note that the park will be open on weekends until Memorial Day weekend. And then after that, it will be open each day. And I'm sure you guys are braver than me and you can come get on one of these big rides.
- I was going to say--
NATALIE DUDDRIDGE: [INAUDIBLE] Natalie Duddridge. CBS 2 News.
- She's pretty brave to be honest with you, eating a Nathan's hot dog and then being on that spinning ride on live TV.
- Yeah, but she's going to go on the fire truck next. So it's going to get more exciting.
- Don't-- Give her some credit.
- She's moving. She's moving.