By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Opening events – the Blessing of the Rides, the Egg Cream Christening of the Cyclone and more – took place at 11 a.m.
Luna Park is home to many rides including the world-famous Cyclone roller coaster, which has hundreds of feet of new track this year. The first hundred people in the park Sunday will ride the Cyclone for free, and there will be free rides on the Wonder Wheel all day.
On the Boardwalk, Tom's Coney Island has also opened its doors, along with Brooklyn Beach Shop, Coney's Cones, Lola Star, Ruby's, Paul's Daughter, and the Coney Island History Project.
For the little ones, Deno's Kiddie Park opened a day earlier, on Saturday, March 23rd.
Preparations for this season were made more difficult because of Sandy, which caused about $8 million worth of damage, according to the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
Nathan’s Famous flagship shop at the corner of Surf and Stillwell avenues, flooded in the storm, is still undergoing renovation – but that didn't stop the hot dog purveyor from holding the initial qualifying round of its famous hot dog eating contest on Saturday, March 23 in front of its location on the Coney Island Boardwalk. Until work on the main shop is completed, Nathan's will be selling hot dogs from their temporary Boardwalk location.
The New York Aquarium, which took a $65 million hit, plans to reopen, at least partially, later this spring.
“While many challenges lie ahead, we are thrilled that beginning this weekend, we are able to welcome visitors and residents alike to visit the original People’s Playground,” said Coney Recovers, an initiative of the Alliance for Coney Island that works to raise funds for ongoing relief and recovery efforts throughout Coney Island.
Rides and attraction are generally open on weekends from Easter until Memorial Day, all week long from Memorial Day until Labor Day, and then weekends from Labor Day until the end of October.