Long gone is the good old Astroland Amusement Park of Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York. Opened in 1962 on 3.1 acres, Astroland of Coney Island was closed forever on September 7th, 2008. It was the first space age themed amusement park back in the 60s when it was built. Some rides resembled run of the mill carnival rides while others offered a rather unique (and far more affordable) experience not found elsewhere.
On November 28th, 2006, Astroland was sold for $30 million to Thor Equities by the Albert Family. Thor Equities had redevelopment plans to turn the area into a year-round resort worth $1.5 billion. The only say that the Alberts had in this was their continued claim over the operation of the Cyclone roller coaster. Astroland saw its life continue for two more summer seasons from 2007 to 2008 before it was shut down and reopened in 2009 as Dreamland Amusement Park.
Coney Island, or Astroland better yet, is no longer the same due to this drastic change of management. The fall of Coney Island/Astroland was akin to the fall of good old school Times Square from the 1980s and 1990s – Neighborhood friendly small businesses and attractions, all affordable, torn down for the replacement of white collar housing. This is what New York City has become, home of the rich yuppie morons. Everything from the $1 slice of delicious thick pizza in your neighborhood to the Polar Express ride at Coney Island didn’t stand a chance against these greedy folks.
How can anyone forget the smell of hot dogs while waiting online for the rides, the affordability of the $3-$5 attractions as opposed to the over-priced competitors like Six Flags Great Adventure and Dorney Water Park? Almost everything from the rides down to the food was decent and affordable whereas at a park like Six Flags Great Adventure, you would be spending $2-$3 plus tax on a slice of pizza. Why pay a $60 ticket to Six Flags when you’re only going to go on 6 or 7 of the rides? For that amount, you would have been spending $30-$35 at Coney Island. But not anymore.
Just about everything that used to make New York City a great place to visit and live has been taken down to the ground and scattered in the wind – Times Square, apartments, restaurants, townhouses, movie theaters, and even Coney Island has succumbed to this unfortunate plague of greed. All that stands left of the old Coney Island we used to know is the Cyclone roller coaster and the Wonder Wheel for the most part – but honestly, what good are those?
It’s disturbing to see how people today make a big deal of how legendary and wonderful the Cyclone is, it may be the first big wooden roller coaster ever built, but standing up against highly advanced metal giants like Batman the Ride, Superman: Ultimate Flight, or even the wooden El Toro, it doesn’t even stand a chance. So the big question is why waste your time? And the Wonder Wheel? Now, that’s not even worth the argument. As for Coney Island as it stands today, the so-called rides which Thor Equities have replaced the old ones with are nothing but poor excuses masquerading over a tarnished memory of what used to be.