Dreamland amusement park to take place of Astroland at Coney Island
Goodbye, Astroland, hello, Dreamland.
A new amusement park with more than two dozen rides is set to take the place of Astroland this summer, and it’s borrowing the name of one of Coney Island oldest landmarks.
Dreamland Park, named after the legendary Coney Island spot that ruled the Boardwalk for seven years before burning down in 1911, will be open from May 15 through Labor Day. It will be located at the former site of Astroland, which shuttered last summer after 46 years.
“Basically, it’s pretty spectacular,” said Anthony Raffaele, who is operating the rides for developer Thor Equities, which bought the site for $30 million in 2006.
“People will be amazed. We’ll have more rides than Astroland, and people will get new memories at Dreamland.”
The park will include a scrambler, Ferris wheel, giant slide and bumper cars. There are no plans for the amusement park beyond this summer, however.
Raffaele, who operated attractions and rides under the Dreamland moniker a decade ago, said he was trying to reinvent the fabled park.
“I’ve always had a thing for Dreamland, and we’re trying to regenerate the name,” said Raffaele, who’s trying to lease a roller coaster for the site if one is available for the entire summer.
Coney Island purists differed on using the name of the long lost park, which wowed visitors with brightly lit buildings and gondola rides.
“To throw some carnival rides in and call it Dreamland seems kind of a shame,” said Coney Island historian Charles Denson.
Coney Island USA founder Dick Zigun, a frequent Thor critic, applauded the plan.
“There’s nobody alive who remembers going to Dreamland,” Zigun said. “I think it will be fine,” Zigun said.
Thor spokesman Loren Riegelhaupt said in addition to the rides, hundreds of vendors selling everything from jewelry to burritos will descend on Coney Island during a summer-long event he called the “Festival by the Sea.”
Among those expected to set up shop under four tents on Stillwell Ave. are the popular Red Hook Vendors, a group of more than a dozen stands serving Latin American fare.
BY Jotham Sederstrom