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Coney Island's Luna Park is Bringing in Long-Planned Rides
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Delayed from the pandemic and weather, Luna Park, on New York's iconic Coney Island, has begun to open long-planned new rides. Three were planned, with a groundbreaking in October 2021, but only one has opened. The other two are expected for the 2023 park season.

Tony's Express opened on September 9th. Despite its long anticipation, it opened quietly, offering park guests the opening salvo in the park's planned expansion of five acres, which includes the three new rides and three pedestrian plaza areas. Originally the openings were to take place in the summer of 2022.

Tonys Express

Along with the now opened coaster thrills of Tony's Express, the Leti's Treasure log flume ride is also scheduled to open, with both named for the grandparents of park owner Central Amusement International's Alessandro Zamperla. Tony's Express pays homage to Antonio Zamperla, while the flume ride honors Letizia Zamperla. The pair are a big part of the history of the park, as well as its lineage. Antonio Zamperla was the first Italian to be inducted into the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Hall of Fame; Letizia Zamperla drove tractor-trailers carrying amusement rides across Europe.

Along with honoring family, Tony's Express is also a tribute to the first roller coaster in the U.S., called the Switchback Railway, which opened in 1884, with its classic train design. And it also serves as an homage to the park's own history, with a brightly outlined station, calling back Luna Park's 1900s-era nickname of “The Electric Eden.” A family thrill ride, the coaster moves at 30 miles per hour, traversing 1200-feet of curving track, which is also illuminated at night.

Tony's Express curves around the upcoming log flume ride, Leti's Treasure, offering a view of the ride it entwines as well as the park. Riders of its two trains must be 42” in height to ride solo, and at least 36” to ride with a companion supervising.

There's an historic aspect to Leti's Treasure, as well, with its dozen rider boats taking design cues from the boats used by the park's former Shoot the Chute ride, which opened in 1885. The new flume attraction boats will carry up to six riders and lift them an impressive 40-feet into the air, providing riders with a thrilling view of the Coney Island coastline before taking them on a thrilling – and splashing – plunge down. The plunge will move at 35 miles per hour.

The park's third ride is not a ride per se, but a ropes course. Named by kids at a local YMCA, The Sky Chaser will be joined with the opening of three new pedestrian plazas at the park. All three rides, and the plaza are scheduled to stay open year ‘round. The course stretches 50 feet.

All told, when complete, Luna Park's three new rides and three new plazas will expand the park by 50%. It will fill in vacant areas in the Coney Island district and create approximately 100 new jobs according to park officials.  

Each of the new pedestrian plazas will feature a selection of dining options, games, and seated areas, as well as a variety of retail stores. The seated sections will be shaded and feature attractive greenery, as well as offering views of Coney Island attractions.

It's a continued aspect of the park's growth and reinvention. The original Luna Park, destroyed by fire and sold in the 1940s, has experienced a welcome rebirth in Luna Park, which began revitalizing the area in 2010.  

Proud to be a part of the amusement park industry for over five generations, park owner Zamperla says “For us to be here and to be really associated with the revitalization and really kind of rebirth of Coney Island is extremely exciting and a great honor.” One which will continue, even if it takes a bit longer than anticipated to grow larger.
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