Coney Island park goes dark
Astroland, one of the two remaining Coney Island amusement parks in New York City, has closed for good because a new lease deal couldn’t be reached with developer Thor Equities, which purchased the 3.1-acre parcel of land in 2006.
Astroland co-owner Carol Hill Albert is keen to stress, however, “I have not ‘given up on Coney Island’ as Thor Equities has stated. I have given up on trying to get Thor to negotiate, which I have attempted to do since June. Each time their response was, ‘We have no answer.’ The safety of our customers and our commitment to employees means our time has run out. Ride parts must be ordered a minimum of eight to 10 months in advance. My employees cannot live in a state of limbo any longer. We are out of time.”
One park that has not closed is Dino’s Wonder Wheel Park, since it has not been sold to Thor Equities. The Wheel, along with the famous Cyclone rollercoaster and non-functioning Parachute Tower, are protected thanks to their National Historic Landmark status.
Yet Coney Island’s future as a tourism and amusement destination is clearly in peril, notes Albert: “Thor Equities came onto the scene showing beautiful renderings of this great 21st Century amusement park they were promising to build,” she remembers “All indications, however, are that their real priority is retail and high end housing. Coney Island has been here for over 100 years. This is a tragic loss for the City of New York and visitors around the world.”