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Revelers avoid Times Square in favor of the People’s Playground

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Times Square? Fugheddaboudit!

Thousands of revelers descended on Coney Island to ring in 2016 on New Year’s Eve, and the People’s Playground was the place to be when clock struck midnight, according to one Queens couple that did not think twice about skipping Manhattan’s million-person hooplah in favor of Sodom by the Sea.

“Times Square is kind of too crazy and crowded,” said Jay Silverman. “My girlfriend is from Australia and had never been to Coney Island before, so we decided it was a good reason to go. It turned out to be the happiest New Year’s Eve her and I have had together — or independently — ever.”

Borough President Adams started the tradition last year and once again did double emcee duties, hopping back and forth between the celebration in Coney Island and another in Prospect Park.

Coney’s freakishly talented sideshow performers swallowed swords and breathed fire for the crowd’s amusement, and musical acts LaRose Jackson, Blazes, and the Priceless kept spirits high leading up to a midnight light show on the Parachute Jump. Adams, local pols, and the Coney Island Alliance business group sponsored the show, providing hot chocolate and food to guests.

Deno’s Amusement Park opened the Wonder Wheel for New Year’s Eve and Day for the first time in the ride’s 95-year history, and Luna Park gave brave — and apparently chill-immune — celebrants free rides on the on the Thunderbolt and the B&B Carousel leading up to midnight.

Thousands gathered to watch the light show at the stroke of midnight. The 8,000 or so light-emitting diodes that cover the 250-foot tall Parachute Jump counted down the last 10 seconds of 2015 and lit up in a massive “2016” down the side of the tower. Fireworks completed the spectacle, and a fire-breather on stage unleashed a plume of flames to bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new one.

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at dlynch@cnglocal.com.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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