In this rollercoaster economy, New York City is hoping that an amusement park will be the answer.
The park officially opens on Saturday.
“Luna Park will provide Coney Islanders, Brooklynites, all New Yorkers and visitors from around the globe a world-class amusement destination, and it marks a major step in the long-term revitalization of the entire area," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the ceremony.
The new park features nineteen new rides, both "traditional and cutting-edge," according to city officials. Upwards of two hundred people now work at Luna Park, and Bloomberg hopes that number will continue to rise.
"This will galvanize the whole area," he said on his weekly radio show prior to the opening.
At 3.1 acres, Luna Park doubles the amusement park area at Coney Island, once renowned for its rides and entertainment.
The rides include: Lynn's Trapeze, a "flying carousel;" Beach Shack, which "simulates the feel of a beach shack ...caught in a hurricane;" and Surf's Up, a "one-of-a-kind" water ride which "lets riders 'hang ten' and 'catch a wave.'"
In Coney Island's heyday in the early twentieth century, Luna Park was called an "Electric Eden" and was known for its thousands of lights--coining the phrase "it's lit up like Luna Park." An electrical fire in 1944 closed the park.
“Luna Park is a world-class amusement park that pays tribute to the birthplace of the amusement industry, while keeping alive Coney Island’s tradition of innovation," said Central Amusement International President Valerio Ferrari at the opening.
Council Member Domenic M. Recchia, Jr. promised, "this is only just the beginning of the amazing things we have in store.”
“Our critics said the thrill was gone from Coney Island, but they were wrong – and the proof is right here in Luna Park. We’re bringing Coney Island into a new era while honoring the past that makes it great," he said.