Rave Reviews & Echo of Coney Island’s Dark Past

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Rave Reviews & Echo of Coney Island’s Dark Past

Post by Zamperla » Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:52 pm

For Luna Park, Rave Reviews and an Echo of Coney Island’s Dark Side
R.M. Schneiderman, Wall Street Journal

The new Luna Park, named after a previous theme park at Coney Island, opened Memorial Day weekend to largely good reviews.

Not all of the rides were up and running, but Coney Island’s resurrected theme-park attraction opened over Memorial Day weekend to rave reviews and considerable fanfare.

The press gave Luna Park high marks for its debut. NY1 said the theme park’s construction, which took just 100 days, was “a miraculous feat.” The New York Post called Luna Park a “cash cow,” and various Coney Island businesses told the newspaper that their profits “were through the roof compared to the same period last year.”

One Luna Park visitor recalled when the same the location was “a ghost town” in the Daily News report. “Now it’s packed with lines all over.”

But it wasn’t all plaudits. Three early reviews on Yelp were more mixed, with one opening weekend critic noting only the tame, child-appropriate rides are open and issuing demerits for Luna Park’s inexperienced staff: “[O]n multiple occasions staff were seen bickering and yelling at each other,” Yelp user John D. noted.

And as the Village Voice explained in an article last week, Coney Island has always had “sense of anarchy” and a “whiff of real danger” beneath the veneer of family friendly fun. The dark aspect of the amusement park’s history surfaced during the debut weekend when Joshua Perez, 17, was stabbed outside the new theme park on Saturday. Police arrested Christopher Acosta, 17, at the scene of the crime and charged him with assault.

The new Luna Park, named after a previous theme park at Coney Island, opened in the aftermath of what The Journal’s Joseph De Avila called a “bitter feud” between the Bloomberg administration and Thor Equities, a real estate developer. Last summer, the city passed a plan to redevelop 19 blocks in Coney Island to allow for parks, restaurants, new hotels and 5,000 new housing units.

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