Here's what it could look like when Coney Island reopens

Expect to be riding Deno's Wonder Wheel with some changes.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver
Editor, Time Out New York
Luna Park Coney Island
Photograph: Shutterstock

For New Yorkers, Coney Island is synonymous with summer, so not being able to enjoy its amusement parks seems almost criminal.

So, when is the "people's playground" going to reopen? Since its amusement parks — Luna Park and Deno's Wonder Wheel — are categorized as "entertainment/recreation," it falls under Phase 4 in New York State's "NY Forward" reopening plan, meaning it'll be one of the last things to open up. As of this week, Phase 1 businesses, including construction and manufacturing, are allowed to resume.

So while we wait for Coney Island amusement parks to open, officials are making sure their ducks are in order so that when it does open its stalls and rides, everyone feels safe.

"We are working diligently behind the scenes to address the realities of a post COVID-19 world and to ensure that Luna Park in Coney Island is ready when New York State and the City of New York directives allow amusement parks to open," the park said in a statement. 

The means, when it does open, it will be operating at reduced capacity and requiring employees and visitors to wear face coverings. All surfaces will be disinfected often and hand sanitizer dispensers will be added around the area. Of course, social distancing will be enforced, too.

"We are also evaluating new and enhanced safety measures to decrease the chance of virus spread at our amusement park," its officials said. "While there are many uncertainties surrounding the 2020 season and many of our decisions will depend on government directives and cooperation, we remain committed to our guests, team members, and community and we are working hard to make sure that when we open, we will be able to create memorable experiences for everyone in a safe, clean, and fun environment."

As for Deno's Wonder Wheel, it will update people about its opening day in the coming weeks, but right now it is taking "the necessary precautions to ensure we are not putting anyone at risk." 

Last week, the amusement park started asking people to fill out a survey about what measures they think would make them feel safe and at ease this summer when it opens. 

According to The City, the owners, Steve and Dennis Vourderis have installed markers six feet apart near lines, added hand sanitizer throughout the park and installed Plexiglass to protect employees. They've already accepted that they'll have to reduce capacity by 50 percent, which is about 1,500 visitors at a time.

NYC beaches remain closed, but that hasn't stopped New Yorkers from taking a stroll on the sand and the famous boardwalk, which is allowed so long as they keep their distance.

This past weekend, despite the fact that the wheel wasn't taking riders, some Coney Island Boardwalk concessions opened up with limited service, including Deno's Wonder Wheel Park's Famiglia Pizzeria and Sweet Shoppe and Ruby's Bar & Grill.

It's clear New Yorkers are ready to have some fun, but we'll have a wait a little bit longer.

Until then, get some summer vibes watching this new colorized video of a bustling Coney Island from 110 years ago. 

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