CAI buckles up in Coney Island

The Brooklyn Paper
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Get ready to ride, Brooklyn.

In just a few short weeks, new thrill machines from Italian manufacturer Zamperla will start appearing in Coney Island.

Central Amusements International (CAI), an off-shoot of Zamperla, took control of the old Astroland site on Surf Avenue this week and is now preparing to install a new foundation in support of a 21st century version of “Luna Park.”

CAI has a 10-year lease with the City of New York.

Rides like the Midi Discovery and the Air Racer - the later described as a 4G jet simulator ride - are expected to begin arriving in mid-April.

CAI President and CEO Valerio Ferrari was in Coney Island this week and promised that the new park will be open by May 29.

“We’re going to make it happen,” Ferrari said.

Don’t start saving your pennies for a ride on the Astro Tower’s revolving observation deck - at least not yet.

After consulting with engineers, CAI has determined that they will not be able to reboot the Astro Tower as an amusement ride this year.

The Coney Island History Project has also been in talks with CAI about the possibly of reactivating the dormant Astro Tower left behind after Astroland Amusement Park folded.

A spokesperson for CAI told this newspaper that reactiving the Astro Tower is something the ride operators “would love to do”perhaps sometime in the future.

For now, CAI is planningto incoporate the soaring structure into “Luna Park’s” new decorative designs.

Functional or not, the Astro Tower, along with the Cyclone roller-coaster, Parachute Jump and Wonder Wheel, remains a defining element of Coney Island’s honky-tonk skyline.

Ride advocates and preservationists continue to wrangle with the Bloomberg administration over high-rise hotels proposed for Surf Avenue that many fear will undermine Coney Island’s unique character.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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